Do not guess if you can confirm. Untreated diabetes can have detrimental consequences on your health.
What is A1c?
It is a medical test used for diagnosis of diabetes type 2, which is a symptom resulting from presence of excess sugar in the body over a prolonged period of time. HA1c, HbA1c, glycated hemoglobin are other names used for this test.
How Does it Measure Blood Sugar in the Body?
A1c test measures the percentage of glucose attached to hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is a protein in Red Blood Cell (RBC) in our bloodstream carrying oxygen from lungs around the body.
RBC has a life span of -4 months then new cells appear. The result of HA1c test represents an average of blood sugar in your body over last 2-3 months.
Who is it for?
The test is ordered by your primary care physician or health care provider if you have diabetes or experiencing the symptoms of diabetes.
Read this blog to learn the symptoms of diabetes Type 2. https://healthhelmet.com/symptoms-of-diabetes-type-2
The physician can order the test if you have a distorted lipid profile or any other health condition that may affect blood sugar.
For the test, you can pay yourself if your health insurance does not. It costs about $273 (personal experience).
Understanding the Hemoglobin A1c Test
The glucose in the blood plasma reacts with hemoglobin of in the bloodstream generating a stable product called glycated hemoglobin A1c. Hemoglobin A1c, is measured spectroscopically or by other technique to determine the amount of glucose attached to hemoglobin.
Are you Diabetic, Normal or pre-Diabetic?- The A1c Test Result
- Higher sugar in the blood gives you higher A1c no.
- How you have managed your blood sugar level over the past 2-3 months.
A1c is another term adopted by ADA used for ”estimated average glucose” (eag) which is amount of mmol of glucose present in a liter of blood.
- Diabetes -If the patient is already suffering from diabetes mellitus.
- Pre-diabetes-If the person is in the process of getting it?
- Normal– If one has a controlled sugar situation?
The following chart gives the % a1c and table relates the % a1c with blood sugar level with estimated blood sugar average, called ”eag” expressed as mmol of sugar present in the over 2-3 months.
The Hemoglobin A1c Test and Chart
The A1c Result Chart-Blood Sugar Status
|≥5.7% – <6.5%||Pre-Diabetes|
These numbers are not carved on stones for predicting if you are diabetic or not. It depends on the individual, person’s age and other conditions present in your body.
HbA1c no >7% is labelled as diabetes by American Diabetes Association (ADA).
After you have your results ready the medical team determines the path forward for the patient. Typically the results are representationS of the following.
Normal– Monitor the blood sugar regularly and maintain the level to stay in the safe range. Keep up with your appointments with your physician and his/her advice.
Prediabetes– the medical team will direct you to a dietician and advice exercise to delay or stop progressing to diabetes type 2. You might be advised to follow healthy diet, regular physical activity and to keep your stress level low to delay the onset or stop diabetes from coming.
Diabetes– More tests may be needed for confirmation based on the no and level. The doctor may prescribe you with medication and life style changes. Test your a1c at least twice a year to the trend or more per recommendation of your physician.
Who is this Test not for?
People who are anemic or suffering from liver disease or blood related disorders may not benefit from this test and your doctor will find a way out for you to assess your blood sugar condition. Pregnant women are not tested as well.
Awareness- Is your Blood Sample Uncompromised and Unbiased?
Your blood sugar level is derived from 2 ml of blood taken out from your body. So make sure it is representative.
- Make sure of your posture when blood is taken out. Follow the instruction of the lab professional. Hemoglobin level is different when you stand than sit. It is done sitting on a chair.
- Before the blood test- Refrain your mind from anxiety and excessive physical activity.
- Let your doctor know your food habits and life style, if you smoke, drink or eat drugs
- Go to bed at a particular time.
- Keep an eye on the vial the blood is collected in and after how many hours the blood is being tested. Loner waiting between the sampling might decrease the % sugar of the blood impacting assay result.
- Does it need anti-coagulant to be saved?
- Remember to make sure the blood is collected in a fluoride vial to inhibit glycolysis.
- If a sample is withdrawn outside, it should reach the testing lab quickly. The transportation of the sample may need freezing.
Sometimes people keep blaming others in India and elsewhere. It is your right to know. This awareness helps you always to act responsibly.
- The test results of the A1c can read accurately if you are safe or in an alarming situation with your blood sugar level.
- It tells you how accurately you are managing your sugar level over last 2-3 months.
- Trend in your blood level over period time can help you figure out if your sugar level is improving if you have started out as a diabetic.
- It may not work as a standalone test to determine your situation.
Your doctor can do different kinds of testing to confirm your situation like fasting blood glucose test.