Glycosylated Hb Test

by Carol Gomes


Glycosylated hemoglobin test, also known as, glycohemoglobin or Diabetic control index or Hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c), is a routine investigation of great importance, over time. It provides a precise and by and large picture of diabetes management. Glucose has the ability to bind with proteins in a permanent manner. The HbA1c test evaluates the sugar quantity bound to the hemoglobin in the (RBC) red blood cells, and the obtained outcome is projected in the form of percentage. The ultimate aim of diabetics is to maintain their blood glucose levels to normal, thereby diminishing the diabetes associated complications, namely, renal failure, retinopathy, neuropathy and cardiovascular damage.

Individuals who are not afflicted by diabetes have a glycosylated hemoglobin levels of six percent. The lifespan of erythrocytes or red blood cells is 90 to 120 days and as they live for three to four months, this test shows the blood glucose levels of the previous few months, as they are unaffected by any temporary changes of a short span. Hence, HbA1C test highlights on diabetes management. A single consumption of sweets does not mar the results.

The American diabetic association suggests HbAIC testing, four times a year for diabetics on insulin and twice a year for those not on insulin. It is more recommended, during initial stages of findings. The area of puncture is cleaned with an antiseptic solution. Blood is collected in a syringe by piercing the vein. The area of piercing is covered with a cotton ball or bandage to stop bleeding.

A difference in the blood glucose levels by 30 mg/dl brings about a difference of 1% in the HbA1C results. Maintenance of A1C levels at and around 6% levels, decreases the risk of complications. There exists a directly proportional relationship with greater the A1C, more is the complication risk. People who suffer from brittle diabetes with a wavering blood sugar level find this test useless. Individuals suffering from sickle cell anemia have a reduced hemoglobin A levels. Thus, the results of blood glucose levels are affected in people suffering the same. Low values are obtained in people suffering from heavy bleeding and high HbA1C values are obtained in iron deficiency.

The problems associated with a hand puncture are profuse bleeding, dizziness, infection due to broken skin, excessive piercing and thrombus formation. Assessment of blood glucose at the fasting and post prandial levels provides the range of blood sugar levels, but fail to provide the sugar range in the interval.


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