What is the HbA1c test?
Glycated haemoglobin, often known as HbA1c, is a substance that is created when your body’s natural sugar (glucose) adheres to your red blood cells. More sugar attaches to your blood cells and accumulates in your blood because your body can’t utilise it effectively. Red blood cell activity lasts for about two to three months, which is why the reading is checked every three months. You have too much sugar in your blood if your HbA1c is high. As a result, you have a higher risk of developing serious eye and foot complications as a result of your diabetes.
You can lessen your risk of life-threatening consequences by being aware of your HbA1c level and what you can do to lower it. This calls for routine HbA1c monitoring which is a crucial check.
In the haemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) test, the quantity of blood sugar (glucose) in haemoglobin is determined. The component of red blood cells called haemoglobin is responsible for transporting oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. An HbA1c test reveals the average level of haemoglobin-bound glucose during the previous three months. It is based on a three-month average because a red blood cell normally lasts for that amount of time.
The test is not well standardised between labs and can be impacted by circumstances that shorten the red blood cell’s lifespan. However, the popularity of this test has recently increased due to the growing standardisation of the technology employed in significant clinical trials and knowledge of the strong link between the risk of retinopathy and even mildly aberrant glycohemoglobin concentrations.
Understanding your results
An HbA1c of 6.5 per cent or higher can suggest that you actually have diabetes even if you have never had the condition before. If your level is lower than this, you may require more testing to determine whether or not you have diabetes.
Your doctor will often aim for a HbA1c of 6.5-7 percent if you do have diabetes. Your doctor may think about altering your therapy or conducting closer monitoring if the HbA1c is higher than the desired range.
Some medical problems, such anaemia, might alter red blood cells and have an impact on your HbA1c level.
To find out what the findings signify for your specific circumstances, you should talk to your doctor about the results.
How Often Do You Need the Test?
Typically, the test will be administered every three to six months. However, you could require it more frequently if you’re trying to get pregnant, your therapy has recently changed, or you’re having trouble controlling your blood sugar.
And other folks, typically later in pregnancy, will require the test less frequently. could require a whole new test, as in the case of some anaemia types. The fructosamine test can be substituted, although it’s quite uncommon.
Additionally, a HbA1c test is used to determine whether a patient has diabetes and to monitor their levels if they are at risk of getting it (you have prediabetes).
As soon as you are told you have diabetes, your doctor will usually want you to do the A1c test. If your doctor believes you could develop diabetes, you will also have the test and the test will establish a baseline level so you can assess your blood sugar control.
Following that, it depends on a number of factors, including:
- your particular kind of diabetes
- your command of blood sugar
- your course of action.
- If you have prediabetes, which increases your risk of developing diabetes, you will likely undergo testing once a year.
You may get tested twice each year if you have type 2 diabetes, you don’t use insulin, and your blood sugar level is usually in your target range.
Why is the test important?
Although monitoring blood glucose levels after meals and when fasting is crucial, these tests can only measure your blood sugar at a specific period. Depending on what you ate the night before or at the preceding meal, your findings may differ. The HbA1c test, however, examines the 3-month data and cannot be skewed.
HbA1c values for people with diabetes provide a good indication of how well their diabetes is controlled. According to scientific data, a lower HbA1c value indicates a lower risk of developing diabetic complications. In adults with or without diabetes, a raised HbA1c score has also been identified as a stand-alone risk factor for heart disease and stroke.
Setting Goals for A1c Levels
For those with diabetes, a target A1c result is typically less than 7%. The chance of developing diabetes-related problems increases with increasing haemoglobin A1c levels. A level above 8% may be present in someone with long-term untreated diabetes.
If you have diabetes and your blood sugar level is higher than it should be, your doctor may adjust your treatment to lower it.
Your levels can be lowered with a mixture of diet, exercise, and medication.
Every three months, people with diabetes should obtain an A1c test to ensure sure their blood sugar is within the recommended range. You might be able to go longer between blood tests if your diabetes is well-controlled. However, experts advise at least checking two times per year.
This test may produce false results in individuals with disorders that impact haemoglobin, such as anaemia. Supplements containing vitamins C and E as well as excessive cholesterol levels are additional factors that can impact the haemoglobin A1c test results. The test may be impacted by liver and kidney diseases as well.
Using A1C to prevent complications
Diabetes patients must control their blood sugar levels to keep them from rising too high, Controlling blood sugar levels can lower the risk of issues involving coronary arteries, tiny blood vessels, particularly those in the eyes and kidneys, and other organs. This can aid in preventing the numerous issues that diabetes can cause, including as dependable source
following are the problems that one can face due to this.
- Blurry vision
- a cardiovascular condition
- Kidney disease and stroke.
A1C levels of 7 percent or lower can greatly lessen these risks.
Although differnet individuals have different requirements and needs, an individual can decide their blood sugar and A1C goals in collaboration with a healthcare provider and work on them to lead a healthier life.