Our blood is made up mostly of red blood cells, and they contain a substance called haemoglobin whose function is to hold on to and move oxygen to every part of your body. Some of this haemoglobin has sugar molecules attacked to it, and these are called glycosylated haemoglobin. It is about 4-8 per cent of total haemoglobin. The blood glucose level in our body is directly related to the amount of glycosylated haemoglobin.
The measurement unit of glycosulated haemoglobin is HbA1c. It is evaluated by taking blood sample and measuring the red blood cells. If the HbA1c level is found to be within 4-8 per cent, it means your blood glucose level is within normal range. If your blood sugar is not under control, the level of glycoulated haemoglobin would be much higher than eight per cent.
Doctors find this test helpful in evaluating your blood sugar management. It helps to monitor your condition over the past six weeks before the test has been conducted. If you are able to maintain your HbA1c level lower than 7.5 per cent, it would help you lessen the risk of suffering from complications of diabetes, which include diabetic retinopathy and heart disease.
A research carried out in Canada has shown that by using the haemoglobin level as indicator for diabetes, we can accurately screen the disease in patients. The HbA1c test used for measuring the percentage of blood glucose attached to haemoglobin can be a good measure of whether diabetics are able to control their disease or not. Those that are not controlling their disease have their HbA1c level higher than 7.0.
The A1C test is a method of measuring what percentage of blood glucose is attached to haemoglobin, which is a molecule in red blood cells. Diabetics that are not controlling their disease usually have A1C levels of 7.0 per cent or higher. The American study indicates that A1c levels are not being successfully utilised.
According to senior investigator of the study, using the HbA1c levels to screen for diabetes and monitor the condition is better than the currently used fasting plasma glucoses. It can help in not only screen for diabetes but also diagnose it.
There are other advantages too of the haemoglobin-based diabetes diagnosis. Doctors no longer need to depend on taking fasting glucose for diagnosis. A routine doctor visit is enough for it. According to Davidson, switching to the new system would help to initiate early diagnosis of the disease so that prompt and necessary treatment could be started to prevent the risk of complications of diabetes. Thus, in all likelihood, we might see HbA1c testing as the new test for diabetes screening in days to come.
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