HbA1c is a laboratory test that is used for the diagnosis and evaluation of diabetes mellitus, both type 1 and 2. When the levels of sugar are high in the blood, the excess sugar binds to hemoglobin through a process called glycation and results in the formation of HbA1c; the HbA1c test measures the amount of this hemoglobin A that is linked to sugar. As the life span of red blood cells that carry hemoglobin is about 120 days, HbA1c test predicts the sugar levels over the past 8-12 weeks, thus providing a measure of how well sugar levels in the body were maintained over the past 2-3 months.
HbA1c is generally done as an elective procedure.
HbA1c may be measured in the laboratory using the following methods:
HbA1c is indicated for the following:
Factors that can negatively influence the results of an HbA1c test include:
No special advice or preparation is needed.
The procedure is done as a simple lab test, where a sample of blood is drawn from a vein in the arm and sent to the laboratory for analysis.
No specials care or precautions are required after the test.
No lifestyle modifications or measures are needed before or after the test.
There are no complications associated with the HbA1c test.
The HbA1c is a standard and reliable test that is very useful in the diagnosis and management of type 1 and type 2 diabetes mellitus. The results may vary depending on the technique used for analysis. It is a good predictor tool for the assessment of the effectiveness of treatment as well as for modification of treatment. Individuals with high HbA1c levels are at a greater risk of developing complications and severe disease.
Hospitalization is not required for the HbA1c test.
The results of the HbA1c test may be interpreted as follows:
For individuals with diabetes the results indicate the following: