Blood consists of different types of components. Which hemoglobin is one of them? It is a type of protein that is found in red blood cells. Because of the hemoglobin, the blood seems red. The main job of hemoglobin is to carry oxygen throughout the body.
When we talk about diabetes, people who are diagnosed with diabetes need to regularly check their blood sugar levels. These tests are accurate and they provide the data on the blood sugar level for that moment only. The blood sugar level of a person varies from time to time. For instance, if a person checks his or her blood sugar level in the morning it can be normal, if he or she checked it in the noon it can be high or low. It depends upon the person and what type of diabetes they are diagnosed with. The main objective of the test is to get an idea about blood sugar levels. There are different types of diabetes tests. One of them is the HbA1c (A1c) test. The HbA1c test was available in the 1980s and it became an important tool in monitoring diabetes.
What is Hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) Test?
The measurement of average blood sugar level can be tested through the A1c test. It measures the blood sugar level for the past 2 to 3 months of an individual. So, if a person has high fasting blood sugar, the overall blood sugar might be normal or vice versa.
Therefore, A1c tests are now used to diagnose and screen for prediabetes and diabetes. The A1c test does not require fasting, hence, the test can be done at any period for the overall blood sugar level screening. The A1c test is also the primary test that is used for diabetes management. The A1c test is also known as the hemoglobin A1C, HbA1c, glycated hemoglobin, or glycohemoglobin test.
The glucose present in the blood attaches to the hemoglobin, the A1c test is based on this attachment of the glucose to the hemoglobin. Hence, the higher the content of glucose in the bloodstream responsible for; the more glucose gets attached to the hemoglobin. The A1c test measures the content of glucose attached to the hemoglobin and gives insights into the average blood glucose level over the past three months.
The readings of the A1c test can be interpreted as;
If someone has about 5 percent of their hemoglobin glycated, they are considered to be normal or people who are not diabetic. A normal A1c level is 5.6 percent or below according to the ‘National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.
If a person has about 5.7 to 6.4 percent, then it is interpreted as that they have prediabetes. Similarly, if a person has 6.5 percent or above then it is considered diabetic.
The ADA (American Diabetes Association) states and provides a type of calculator that represents and shows how A1c levels correlate to glucose levels. Therefore, it is advisable to have one’s glucose level checked twice a year to get an idea about their blood sugar level and whether they are normal or not. You can also have more frequent measurements; one can also do an A1c test every 3 months so they can be aware of their blood sugar level. In most cases, people usually test every after 3 months if;
- If you have type 1 diabetes.
- If your treatment is being adjusted.
- If you and your doctor are setting certain blood sugar targets.
- If you are pregnant.
How does the A1c test work for diabetic patients?
The red blood cells have a life expectancy of about three months. The test works in a way, and it can be understood as if your blood sugar level was high last to last week or month but right now it’s quite normal. The hemoglobin carries a record or data in it. That can provide information about the blood sugar level of last week or last month an individual. This data is in the form of A1c in your blood. The test cannot provide an accurate reading for any given day, but it will provide the overall data of the blood sugar level for the past 3 months.
What are the factors that affect your A1c results?
It is known that anyone who has had diabetes for any length of time. People know that A1c is not that reliable until recently. Development and the correct procedure are very important. The difference in test results was there because earlier the testing lab gave different types of analysis according to their very own examination of the blood. As time passes the development in the sector helps to modify and develop more distinctive and advanced ways to perform A1c testing. Many companies provide testing kits to check the blood sugar level these days, one of them is Accurate. Accurate home test kits are also used to check and test blood sugar levels. There is this one thing the accuracy is relative when it comes to A1c blood sugar testing. The readings or results can be up to half a percent lower or higher than the actual percentage of the reading. That means if a person has a test reading of around 6, this test reading can be in the range of 5.5 to 6.5 percent. Sometimes, the blood glucose test of people might come as normal even though they might be diabetic or sometimes, even if they are not diabetic their A1c can become abnormal. Therefore, many doctors and medical experts before confirming a diagnosis of diabetes might repeat the test to confirm if there are any abnormalities in the first test.
There is also this problem if a person has kidney failure or liver disease or severe anemia. Ethnicity is another thing that influences the test results of the A1c test. Moreover, the people of different regions such as Africa, the Mediterranean, or Southeast Asia have a different type of hemoglobin and it can interfere with some A1c test results.
Why do you need to get your A1c test done?
So, the question comes, ‘whether you need to get your A1c test done or not?’. The simple reply to this is that adults who are over the age of 45 years should need to take an A1c test to get a basic idea of their blood sugar level. People who are under the age criteria of 45 years should get their test done if they are overweight or if they have any of the following;
- Have a past of being diagnosed with gestational diabetes.
- Having been diagnosed with prediabetes.
- A diabetes diagnosis.
What will be the problems if the levels are too high?
If the levels of blood sugar are too high then the person might face any of these problems;
- Cardiovascular diseases such as stroke or heart attack.
- You might also suffer from kidney disease.
- Nerve damage can also be possible if the blood sugar levels are too high.
- Eye damage is another major problem that can happen because of the high blood sugar level, and it can even lead to blindness.
- He or she might face numbness, tingling, and lack of sensation in the feet due to nerve damage because of high blood sugar levels.
- He or she might face slower wound healing and slower recovery from infection and wound.
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