HbA1c Test

What is HbA1c?

HbA1c is a form of haemoglobin which comprises of following haemoglobin A1c, HbA1c, A1C, or Hb1c; in general terms regarded as Glycated Haemoglobin. Its usage primarily deals with the identification of the plasma glucose concentration which may have been prolonging over a period of time. This kind of haemoglobin has been generally associated with cardiovascular disease such as nephropathy, retinopathy in diabetes mellitus. The test for HbA1c is a simple lab test which shows the level of sugar in your blood in the past two three months and then gets the average of it. This test is said to be the best way to find out whether or not the blood sugar is under control. All Diabetic patients must do a haemoglobin A1c test twice a year so that they get to know the level of sugar in the blood. Regular testing helps the patient as well as the doctor to track the blood sugar level over time and accordingly the long treatment can be planned.

What is haemoglobin A1c testing?

The test is simple and its shows the average amount of sugar that is also called as glucose which is present in the person’s blood for over a period of last 2-3 months. The A1c test shows if the patient’s blood sugar is not normal or too high, this test proves to be the best one which helps the health provider to know whether the level of the sugar is under control and of not how to control it at which level.

What does this test measure?

In the process of glycosylation the sugar gets attached to the blood stream and thus gets attached to the haemoglobin the red blood cells. Once the sugar gets attached its stays there for life of the red blood cells. The higher the level of the sugar, the more it gets attached to the RBCs. This test measures the amount of the sugar that has been getting attached to the RBCs , thus showing theresults in percentage.

Why do we need to know more about this test?

The recent study and survey done by The Diabetes Control and Complication Trial have shown that the lowering of haemoglobin A1c delays the development of serious eye, kidney and nerves disease in the patients dealing with diabetes, thus lowering the amount to any number can improve the chances of staying healthy, and thus the test if HbA1c only can show these changes and can help the patients as well as doctors treating them to know the level of sugar in the blood and how to lower it.

When should this test be done?

The people suffering from diabetes should have a HbA1c test done atleast twice a year. If the blood sugar level is indicated high they should go for the test more often and also if their doctor or health care provider makes any changes in their treatment process or plan at that point also they should go for the test atleast 5-6 times in a year so that they can be aware of their blood sugar level and also on the way could know the process of controlling it and keeping it in a level. Thus HbA1c test should not be taken lightly and should be done regularly specially the diabetes patients who are having a high level of sugar in their blood.

How is the HbA1c test done?

The test is usually done at a lab or at a doctor’s chambers. For the test a small sample of blood is taken and then the sample is sent to laboratory for testing which sends the result in percentage format as to what percentage of blood contains sugar and accordingly the treatment is done.

The HbA1c test is not expected to give appropriate results if the patient has done changes to his/her diet or treatment schedule within a shorter time frame of less than 6 weeks before undergoing the test or it has been observed that there has been disturbance of red cell aging (bleeding or haemolytic anemia) or a haemoglobinopathy (like, sickle cell disease). In such cases HbA1c test and doctors suggest an alternative test called Fructosamine test. It is suggested that the patients should tell the doctor of any changes to his/her diet plan or blood cells related complications before undergoing HbA1c test. The patient should follow the instructions as prescribed by the doctor and should inform the doctor of any changes or complications.