Date: 23 May, 2022
Author: George Alex
The HbA1c test is also referred to as haemoglobin A1c or glycated haemoglobin test. It is a significant blood test that indicates how well high blood sugars are controlled. In combination with the fasting blood sugar test, the HbA1c test is one of the major ways of diagnosing type 2 diabetes mellitus.
The HbA1c test is not the preliminary test for diagnosing type 1 diabetes. However, it might at times be utilized in combination with other tests.
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Hemoglobin is the protein present in the RBCs. It aids in transporting oxygen all over a person’s body. Glucose (sugar) in the bloodstream combines with a type of hemoglobin (Hb A). The bonding with sugar is known as glycation. The greater the individual’s sugar levels, the greater would be the number of RBCs that becomes glycated. Hence, the greater would be the HbA1c level.
The life of RBCs is 120 days or 4 months. Consequently, assessing this combination molecule provides a moderate estimate of the glucose levels in the previous two to three months.
The WHO recommends the following diagnostic strategies for diabetes:
If a person falls in the pre-diabetic range, a healthcare provider must discuss it with the person. He or she may recommend suitable lifestyle modifications that might lower the risk of type 2 diabetes.
HbA1c is not used to identify pregnancy-related diabetes or gestational diabetes. In its place, an oral glucose tolerance test can be utilized. A random blood sugar test would generally be helpful for diagnosing type 1 diabetes. Yet, in a few cases, an HbA1c test helps in supporting a diagnosis of type 1 diabetes. In addition, if a person is anemic or has another type of blood disorder, an HbA1c test might give less accurate results in identifying diabetes. If a person has one of these ailments and is at a risk for diabetes, the concerned doctor might suggest different tests.
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People with high blood sugar levels who lowered their HbA1c by below 1% may reduce their mortality risk within five years by 50%.
The CDC suggests that adults more than 45 years of age must go for diabetes screening. If their outcomes come normal, they must repeat the test every three years. If their outcomes indicate that they are pre-diabetic, they must go for testing every one or two years.
If a person is below 45 years of age, he or she might require this test if one experiences these risk factors.
Testing is important every 3 years, and more often if the test outcomes indicate that the person is pre-diabetic. The person might also require an HbA1c test if he or she has signs of diabetes. These can be:
To assess an individual’s HbA1c level, a blood sample is taken from his or her arm. This sample is utilized for getting a reading. In certain cases, like with HbA1c testing for kids, a single drop of blood might be needed. This helps in finding out the amount of haemoglobin A1c present in the kid.
Not like the fasting or post-prandial blood sugar tests, there is no need of any special preparation for an HbA1c test. A person does not require to be in a fasting state. He or she may give a test sample at any time of the day. In addition, he or she must avoid missing medications on the day of test.
Whereas HbA1c tests are generally reliable, there are a few limitations to the precision of the test. For instance, individuals with anemia might not have enough Hb for accurate test results. Instead, it might require to have a fructosamine test. Also, pregnancy or having a rare type of haemoglobin (Hb variant) might return an imprecise HbA1c. Moreover, the readings might also be affected by acute health problems as they might lead to a temporary blood sugar spike.
Due to the way the HbA1c test evaluates the glucose levels, if a person has higher glucose levels in the weeks causing a HbA1c test, this would create a high impact on the test result as compared to the sugar levels 2 to 3 months before the test.