HbA1C Level is a critical indicator that tells the long term Glycemic state and also its control during the treatment.
The HbA1C Test
- The HbA1C test nowadays is included in the basic health/diabetic checkup for its importance in indicating the individual's glycemic state (i.e, mean blood sugar levels) over a period of last 3 months rather than the daily fluctuating sugar levels which are measured at home daily with glucometer.
- HbA1C is actually called glycated hemoglobin i.e, hemoglobin protein saturated with glucose molecule and it is measured in percentage.
- This is the best surveillance test for diabetic patients on treatment as it tells the efficacy of ongoing treatment.
- This test helps to diagnose the stage of insulin resistance in a future diabetic patient (usually type 2) with which development of diabetes can be prevented with appropriate life style modifications and diet.
- This test indirectly helps in preventing end organ's damage like to eye (diabetic retinopathy), heart, kidney etc, which occurs due to long standing diabetes.
- Normally in an adult HbA1C levels range from 4% to 5.6%.
- However this test is not mainly intended to confirm the diagnosis rather helps monitor the long term sugar control.
- Anything above the normal reference range warrant further diabetic evaluation to confirm the diagnosis (especially in patients of type1 diabetes).
If the levels are deranged i.e, increased, appropriate treatment plan will be initiated as in case of confirmed type 1 diabetes, with insulin and as in case of confirmed type 2 diabetes with life style modifications, oral hypoglycemic agents initially and later addition of insulin if sugar levels are not controlled.
It is recommended to get HbA1C test done every 3 months for patients diagnosed with diabetes or at least every 6 months for persons with tendency/risk for future prediabetic state or diabetes. However patients on treatment already should keep testing the blood sugar at home or in the clinic as suggested by the doctor, for providing a better treatment or any alteration in regimen according to the diet/daily sugar level changes.
Hence bottom line is, "keeping HbA1C levels within or near normal ranges will help avoid the complications of diabetes".
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