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Diabetic? Read about HbA1c!

Posted by Royal Sundaram on 25 Oct 2010

Food high in calories, low in nutrition and a sedentary lifestyle; this ‘unholy trinity’ have given us a host of diseases. Diabetes is one of them. Thanks to a little awareness about this disease, terms like ‘blood sugar random’, ‘blood sugar Post Prandial’, ‘cholesterol’, etc, has slipped into our lexicon. One more word which you need to add is – HbA1c. Let us tell you a little more about it and how it can help you analyse the severity of your diabetes.


What is HbA1c?

HbA1c is a shorter term for glycated hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is the protein molecule found in red blood cells and has an average lifespan of 120 days. Glucose in blood binds to the hemoglobin, through a process called ‘glycation’. Higher the blood sugar level, higher is the formation of glycated hemoglobin. This glycated hemoglobin remains in blood, throughout the lifespan of red blood cells.

While you need not understand the above information (unless you are studying MBBS!), what you should know, is that measuring the level of HbA1c in your blood is a reliable and accurate method to determine the sugar levels, over a period of 120 days.

Why should you check your HbA1c levels?

If you have Diabetes, you must be aware of how essential it is to monitor your blood sugar regularly. To add to it, there is the worry of Diabetes affecting the other parts of your body, such as heart, kidney, eyes, etc.

HbA1c is a simple blood test used to monitor the severity of diabetes and average blood sugar over a period of 120 days.

If the value of HbA1c is less than 7%, it generally shows a good control of blood sugar levels. Any level higher than 7% indicates diabetes. Levels higher than 11% indicates a poor control of blood sugar and people with such high levels of HbA1c are exposed to the risk of Diabetes affecting their heart, kidneys or other organs.

Here’s what your HbA1c percentage might say about the average blood sugar level –

My HbA1C Result My Average Blood Glucose
6% 135
7% 170
8% 205
9% 240
10% 275
11% 310
12% 345

Who, where and when should you check the HbA1c levels?

Checking HbA1c is advised for both – diabetic and pre-diabetic people

It is a simple blood test and can be done at any diagnostic laboratory or at hospitals and would cost you around Rs. 250.

The convenience of testing HbA1c is that it is not affected by the intake of food. Thus you can test it anytime you like! Doctors recommend testing it 2 to 4 times in a year, for people suffering from diabetes.

In many countries, such as US and UK, ‘Home-Test kits’ are available to monitor the same and it gives accurate results.

Learn more about it from your doctor today and start managing your diabetes with ease!

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2 responses to “Diabetic? Read about HbA1c!”

  1. Kavita says:

    Diabetic people should test HbA1c every 3-4 months. Also, regular testing of blood sugar levels – fasting and PP is also needed once a month or once in 2 months. This helps monitoring the sugar levels and lead a better life.

    Glucometers are available to test the sugar levels, but I am not sure of the ‘Home-Test kits’ available in US and UK to test the HbA1c. If available, this is great.

  2. dr.itnal m.s. says:

    this information about diabitis has updated my knowledge.

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