The world around us has changed significantly due to the immediate advancement in the field of medical science and technology. People can now live a healthy and prosperous life with the assistance of advanced medical sciences, practices, and tests.
The glycosylated hemoglobin test is recommended by the doctors to check the level of blood sugar in a patient and understand what measures are required to keep the blood sugar level in check.
Since these tests are conducted over a period of 120 days, it gives the medical practitioner a clear idea regarding how well the patient keeps his/her blood control level in check.
What is glycosylated hemoglobin?
Our blood consists of red blood cells, white blood cells, and leukocytes. These red blood cells present in our blood are made up of hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is an iron-containing protein that is responsible for the red color of the blood and helps in the transportation of oxygen in our body.
When glucose, a type of sugar, gets bound to the hemoglobin present in the red blood cells, it is known as glycosylated hemoglobin.
The glucose gets bound to the A1 component of the hemoglobin to form glycosylated hemoglobin or HbA1c. The more glucose present in the blood, the more it sticks to hemoglobin.
What is the need for a Glycosylated Haemoglobin Test?
Testing the blood sugar level in fasting and after meals may not give an accurate representation of the blood sugar levels. The test may give inaccurate results because it is largely dependent on the particular meal consumed.
However, when the testing is done over a period of 120 days, the results regarding the blood sugar levels will be less biased and will give a fairer idea to both the patient and the medical practitioner.
What are the motives behind the Glycosylated Haemoglobin Test?
Let us now identify some fundamental uses and applications of a glycosylated hemoglobin test
- This test can be used for the diagnosis of diabetes.
- This test can be used to monitor diabetes by keeping a check on the blood sugar levels over some time.
- Pre-diabetics or people having borderline diabetes can take this test to get an understanding of the stability of their blood sugar levels.
- This test can also be used for the diagnosis of gestational diabetes mellitus.
How often should you get the Glycosylated Haemoglobin Test?
For people having diabetes or pre-diabetes, the test must be conducted every 3 months. It helps get a better understanding of the measures to be taken to control the blood sugar levels.
People who have a family history of diabetes and they have the belief that certain aspects of their lifestyle may lead to diabetes, can get themselves tested every 6 months. However, consulting a doctor is the best way to know how frequently this test needs to be conducted.
Prerequisites and Procedure:
There is no special prerequisite required for the glycosylated hemoglobin test, unlike the other blood sugar level tests. The sample can be given at any time of the day and the patient must take his/her regular medicines as per routine.
The procedure for the test is very simple and routine. A machine can be used by some labs to collect the blood sample or it can be done manually by the following steps:
- The person collecting blood asks you to expose your upper arm.
- A tourniquet is wrapped on the part of your arm above the point of the puncture of the needle by the person who is supposed to draw the blood.
- The area where the needle is to be punctured is cleaned using alcohol.
- The needle is punctured into the vein.
- Blood is drawn through the needle and collected in a test tube or container.
- The tiny area of puncture is bandaged.
The whole process takes about five minutes or even less. The test has no side effects and is completely safe.
Interpretation of the results of the Glycosylated Haemoglobin Test:
The test report is presented as a percentage. The percentage figure is representative of the percentage of hemoglobin that has been glycosylated or has glucose attached to it. Thus, the higher the percentage figure, the higher the blood sugar level.
The general theoretical framework suggests the following results. However, it may vary from person to person and does not hold in all cases.
- Values below 5.7% indicate that the person is non-diabetic.
- Values in the range of 5.7% and 6.4% signify that the person is pre-diabetic.
- Values of more than 6.5% indicate that the person is diabetic. However, if the value is kept at a value below 7%, the person is said to have his blood sugar levels under control.
- If the value is between 7.1% and 8%, the person is said to be managing his/her diabetes inefficiently.
- Values above 8% show absolutely poor control over diabetes.
Low values also ensure that there are fewer chances of the development of diabetes-related ailments such as heart disease and stroke. However, high values of glycosylated hemoglobin may be the indicator of other illnesses too. Some of the factors that may cause an exaggerated value of glycosylated hemoglobin are:
- Liver diseases
- Low iron levels, which in turn is responsible for low hemoglobin levels.
- Kidney diseases
- Blood loss or blood transfusion in the recent past.
- Various blood-related conditions.
However, the target levels mentioned above are not a universal value. Different people can be asked to maintain different levels of blood sugar based on their age and subsidiary diseases present beforehand.
Another less important but significant fallacy that might be present in the results may be due to the difference in the variant of the hemoglobin due to ethnicity or race.
The most common variant of hemoglobin is the A variant, but there are several other types of hemoglobin like the C, D, E, and S traits. To conclude, the glycosylated hemoglobin test is important in the field of medicine -with the rising cases of diabetes all over the world.
To know more about glycosylated hemoglobin tests be sure to get in touch with professionals.