For anyone who has diabetes or knows someone with a high blood sugar level might have heard about the HbA1c test. But what is this test? How does it help you in controlling your diabetes? How frequently should it be done? You are about to find out!
Here’s everything you should know about this test:
HbA1c, also known as hemoglobin A1c or A1c, is a term related to diabetics. This test shows the average blood sugar level over the past weeks/months. HbA1c is recommended for diabetic patients on a regular basis, it helps in planning your diabetic medicines. This test can also assist in diagnosing diabetes.
HbA1c is glycated hemoglobin, which is glucose joined with hemoglobin present in the red blood cells.
Haemoglobin refers to a protein present in RBCs (Red Blood Cell).
For diabetic patients, the HbA1c level is crucial, as the higher it is the greater the risk of diabetic complications.
How does it work?
The level of sugar in your blood cells refers to glucose. The glucose joins the hemoglobin present in these blood cells. HbA1c measures how much the level of glucose dilation with hemoglobin.
The life of Red Blood Cells is around three months, so the HbA1c test measures the average glucose level of the previous three months.
If the level of glucose in your blood cells has been higher over the past weeks/month, your HbA1c will be greater.
How is this test useful?
Haemoglobin A1c test shows the average plasma glucose in your bloodstream over the period of past two to three months.
It also reflects the level of glucose stuck onto your RBCs for that period of time.
HbA1c test does not require any pre-test preparation or fasting and can be performed at any time of the day.
The A1c test is becoming one of the most preferred tests for measuring and detecting diabetes in the recent times. This test is preferred by most doctors because of its reliability.
Knowing what your intended Haemoglobin A1c is important. Regular A1c aids you as well as your doctor to monitor and control your diabetic medication.
People with hemoglobin related diseases, like amnesia, might not get an accurate level through the test.
Intake of supplemental Vitamin C and Vitamin E or a higher cholesterol level may also affect the results of the test. Liver and kidney diseases might also influence the test results.
Diagnosing normal, prediabetic and diabetic
The hemoglobin A1c test can display you as diabetic, pre-diabetic or normal under the following levels:
|Normal||Below or up to 40 mmol/mol||≤ 6%|
|Prediabetic||Between 42 to 47 mmol/mol||6% to 6.4%|
|Diabetic||50 mmol/mol or above||≥ 6.5%|
What is an apt H1bA1c level?
Healthy A1c levels for a non-diabetic:
- A person without diabetes with his/her A1c test level ranging between 4% to 5.6% is considered normal
- H1bA1c level ranging between 5.7% to 6.4% indicates a high risk of diabetes, and
- If the test level is above 6.5% or above, it indicates that the person has diabetes
Normal H1bA1c test level for a diabetic:
- A diabetic below 53 mmol/mol is considered healthy
- Diabetic people with their glycated hemoglobin between 53 mmol/mol to 63 mmol/mol is considered decent but needs improvements
- Anyone between 64 mmol/mol and 86 mmol/mol needs bring a lot of changes in their lifestyle and medication, as this is just below the danger zone
- Anything above 86 mmol/mol shows an extremely high-level glycated hemoglobin and needs urgent actions
A healthy A1c level for a diabetic patient is considered to be anything below 7%, this should be the target level of anyone with diabetes.
The greater the glucose level in your blood cells, the higher the chances of suffering the complications of diabetes.
Exercising regularly, healthy diet and proper medication can help a diabetic keep his/her level under the targeted range.
Diabetic patients should get this test done every three months to monitor their blood sugar level. If the level is declining, one can increase the time interval between their test, but according to experts, every diabetic should opt for this test at least two times in a year.
Benefits of keeping it lower
According to many recent studies done on A1c levels have indicated that an improvement of 11 mmol/mol or 1% can lead to the following benefits:
- A drop in the threat of heart failure by 16%
- A drop of 14% in the chances of terminal and/or non-terminal heart attack
- 12% lesser threat of terminal and/or non-terminal stroke
- 21% lesser chance of diabetes-related termination
- A drop of 14% in risk of termination from any cause
- 43% lesser risk of amputation
- 37% lesser chance of any disease related to small blood vessel
- Reduces the risk of microvascular impediment by 25%
The quicker you get the level of glucose in your blood under control, the better it is for your overall health.
It is all about maintaining a balance between your diet, medication and activity level. Any diabetic patient would know the importance of eating right. But it is also important to maintain a healthier lifestyle in other aspects, such as, regular workout, following proper medication as prescribed, keeping the blood pressure under control at all times.
For people with type 2 diabetes, if you are above your advised weight range (which is the case in most of the type 2 diabetics), losing some of that weight and keeping yourself fit might have a huge impact on your blood sugar level. In few cases, people have actually managed to bring down their diabetes to the normal level by reducing their weight to a healthier range and following a balanced diet.
It’s also important to advise your healthcare team from time to time for a better regime in order to keep a better control on your diabetes.
If you intake insulin, regular self-monitoring and screening are also recommended.
Choose Dr Lal PathLabs for an accurate and precise screening of your H1bAc1 level. Get a detailed report with all the necessary details, within an ideal time. Visit the nearest Dr Lal PathLabs near you to know more about the test.