It is time for your routine blood sugar test….and you start being strict with your diet so that the test is in your favour. Not anymore; a new test can easily find out how much you have cheated on your diet and the blood glucose control over several months.
HbA1c testing is currently one of the best ways to check whether blood glucose levels of a diabetic person are under control or not. This test can be administered to detect diabetes and also to check blood glucose control over several months. The higher the result, the higher is the risk of developing diabetes or diabetes related complications in case a person is already a diabetic.
HbA1c measures the amount of glycated / glycosylated haemoglobin in blood. Glucose present in blood sticks to the haemoglobin to make a ‘glycosylated haemoglobin’ molecule, called HbA1c. The more glucose in the blood, the more haemoglobin A1c or HbA1c will be formed. RBC have a life of 120 days before they are replaced. By measuring the HbA1c it can be ascertained how high blood glucose has been on average over the last 120 days. A build-up of glycated hemoglobin within the red cell, therefore, reflects the average level of glucose to which the cell has been exposed during its life-cycle.
The International Diabetes Federation and American College of Endocrinology recommend HbA1c values of 6% or less as normal, above 6.5% a person is diagnosed with diabetes. A person with diabetes should try to maintain the level at or below 7%. Abnormal results mean that the blood glucose levels have been above normal over weeks to months. For a diabetic person if the levels are above 7%, diabetes control may not be as good as it should be. Doctors usually recommend that a diabetic person should get the levels checked every 3 or 6 months.
Glucose levels fluctuate from minute to minute, hour to hour, and day to day. Thus for a day to day control blood glucose test is the best guide. The HbA1c level changes slowly, over 10 weeks, so it can only be used as a ‘quality control’ test.