What Is Glycosylated Hemoglobin (Hb A1c) Test?
Our red blood cells have a protein molecule called hemoglobin in them. This molecule is responsible for holding the oxygen molecules and carrying them throughout the body.
When the blood sugar levels are high, free sugar present in the blood gets attached to the hemoglobin molecules converting them into glycated hemoglobin.
The amount of this glycosylated hemoglobin is measured in this test to assess the control of blood sugar.
Why Is This Better Than the Conventional Fasting Blood Sugar?
Doctors now prefer HbA1c over other conventional tests. By testing the amount of hemoglobin that has glycated, we assess the sugar control over a period of time. This period is the average life span of the red blood cell, that is, 6 to 8 weeks.
This test doesn’t have any variability on day-to-day basis. Also, it is not affected by illness or stress conditions, that may vary on a regular basis.
This test can be done more conveniently. No prior fasting is required.
How Often Should the HbA1c Test Be Done?
To manage diabetes on the basis of this test, we require to get this test done every 3 months.
If your diabetes is well-managed, twice a year testing is usually adequate.
Here is a simple calculator according to the results.
Reference Values Chart
- Normal individuals, HbA1c value is below 6%
- Between 6% and 6.5% HgbA1c range, a person is considered prediabetic
- Diabetics have elevated levels of more than 6.5% HA1c
Target to Be Met
Patients are recommended to keep their Hb A1c values below 6% by dietary changes and lifestyle adjustment. If required, medicines are given as per calculations.