HbA1c test measures the quantity of glucose attached to the hemoglobin molecule in the blood. Hemoglobin is a component of red blood cells (RBCs). Sugar present in the blood is also called glucose and it is attached to the hemoglobin molecules. The function of hemoglobin is to transport oxygen from the lungs to all parts of the body. The hemoglobin a1c lab test only uses a blood sample for testing so the risk of side effects is low during specimen collection and the blood draw process only takes a few minutes. The HbA1c test determines the quantity of glucose that attaches to the hemoglobin molecule in a three-month duration. This is because the RBCs generally survive for 3 months only.
The other names for HbA1C are A1c, glycated hemoglobin, glycosylated hemoglobin, and glycohemoglobin. High HbA1c count can be because of diabetes or prediabetes. There is a high chance that prediabetes leads to diabetes too. Hence, the HbA1c test is recommended for patients who have recognizable symptoms of diabetes. The HbA1c test provides a reasonable measure of the extent of control of diabetes.
The HbA1c test is not the primary test to diagnose type 1 diabetes. But it helps in diagnosis, along with other diagnostic tests. A random blood glucose test could diagnose type 1 diabetes. Still, in some instances, the hemoglobin a1c lab test can validate the results of the type 1 diabetes diagnostic test.
HbA1c test specifically helps in the diagnosis and treatment of diabetes and prediabetes. Studies have shown that reducing abnormally high HbA1c levels help patients to avoid several health risks, increasing their life expectancy. It is important to note that high HbA1c does not always indicate prediabetes or diabetes resulting from other health problems. The HbA1c test is also the standard of care (SOC) for monitoring and testing diabetes, particularly type 2 diabetes.
HbA1c stands for hemoglobin A1c. Oxygen inhaled from respiration must be transported to all parts of the body via the blood. Hemoglobin molecules present in the blood serve the function of transporting oxygenated blood across the body.
Glycation is the name for the bonding between the oxygen-carrying hemoglobin in the red blood cells with the glucose. Glucose compounds store energy in the body, and the breakdown of these substances enables the use of stored energy.
Certain diseases and health conditions affect the level of hemoglobin A1c, including diabetes and prediabetes. The normal range of hemoglobin A1 c is 4% to 5.6%.
HbA1c levels could also help in the diagnosis of diabetes and prediabetes. If the Hemoglobin A1c level measure between 5.7 – 6.4%, this could be a sign of prediabetes and diabetes, and an HbA1c level measuring above 6.5% is a symptom of diabetes.
High HbA1c levels are a symptom of diabetes. Chronic diabetes can also cause kidney disease, nerve damage, and heart disease.
High HbA1c is not always because of diabetes or prediabetes. However, the higher the HbA1c count, the more significant the risk of having prediabetes or diabetes. High HbA1c can result in several health problems.
Coronary heart disease
A1c test uses a blood sample. Unlike other tests, the HbA1c test does not require any special preparation, and this means you do not have to skip eating or drinking water before having this test.
HbA1c test is recommended for patients who experience any of the symptoms of diabetes or prediabetes, such as increased thirst and urination, fatigue, extreme hunger, irritability, unexplained weight loss, ketones present in the urine, and blurred vision. Moreover, those at high risk of having diabetes must also get the HbA1c test. Obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, and physical inactivity increase your vulnerability to diabetes.
Gestational diabetes is the type of diabetes that only affects pregnant women, and the oral glucose tolerance test is used to diagnose it. New studies suggest that the hemoglobin A1c lab test is helpful to diagnose gestational diabetes mellitus too.
Hemoglobin a1c lab test could also not diagnose diabetes in children.
HbA1c test results are less accurate if you suffer from any blood disorder such as anemia. You can get other diagnostic tests for diagnosis if you already have a blood disorder. Consultation with a physician about the choice of diagnostic test is essential in such a case. Anemia affects hemoglobin. Moreover, vitamin E and C supplements and high cholesterol levels can increase hemoglobin A1c levels. Liver and kidney disease can affect the results of this test.
The results of the HbA1c test can also turn out to be inaccurate in case of the presence of an uncommon form or variant of hemoglobin. It can also be affected by a temporary increase in the glucose level because of any illness. Moreover, being pregnant can affect the outcomes of the hemoglobin a1c lab test.
Certain supplements and medications can also affect the results of the HbA1c test: vitamin B12, iron, folate supplements, aspirin treatment, erythropoietin therapy, vitamin E or C supplements, and specific antimicrobial, and antiviral medications.
It is necessary to get the hemoglobin a1c lab test after being diagnosed with diabetes. If the doctor thinks you are at a high risk of diabetes, an HbA1c test is prescribed. This test also helps to monitor how a patient manages diabetes by controlling the level of blood sugar. Several factors determine your need for the HbA1c test. These include the type of diabetes, the plan for its treatment, and your blood sugar control.
The HbA1c test must be taken twice every year if the patient has type 2 diabetes and a normal blood sugar level without insulin. Also, the frequency of the HbA1c test must increase if the patient begins taking a new medicine or if their plan to manage diabetes changes.
The HbA1c test reduces the risk of having microvascular problems by 25%. If the patient improves their HbA1c level by 1%, this reduces the tendency toward microvascular diseases by 25%. These complications comprise neuropathy, retinopathy, and diabetic nephropathy. Diabetic nephropathy is also called kidney disease.
Moreover, reducing A1c levels also reduces risks for patients with type 2 diabetes. These patients significantly reduce their risk of heart failure, and cataracts.
Other health problems affect the count of HbA1c. So, high HbA1c levels do not always indicate diabetes. Most individuals have hemoglobin of type A, called adult hemoglobin or HbA. However, certain individuals have an alternate type of hemoglobin. This is called hemoglobinopathy, and such a condition could result in false positive, false low, or high HbA1c levels in the results.
Labwork360 provides a range of medical diagnostic tests that help diagnose, treat, and monitor diseases. We provide HbA1c test in Houston and all other categories of medical lab tests. Moreover, we provide mobile phlebotomy/at-home specimen collection for the tests within 10 miles distance from the lab’s centers. For more information, visit our website labwork360.com or consult with us on our helpline.