16 February, 2014


HbA1c. How many of us know exactly what this means?

Now all standard Diabetes centers, Hospitals and Clinicians have started recommending this test for their Diabetic patients. It would be apt to say that HbA1c is considered a gold standard investigation for diagnosis , Treatment and Followup of Diabetic patients. 

So what is HbA1c? 

It is a blood test which will give you an average sugar control for the past three months. It is otherwise called Glycated Hemoglobin or Glycosylated haemoglobin or glyycohemoglobin. This Glycated Hemoglobin comprises of HbA1c, HbA1a, HbA1b, HbS,HbC and HbF. HbA1c is more specific among the other mentioned components.

HbA1c has been used in many international studies for assessment of risk of developing complications of Diabetes. The normal level of HbA1c in a non-diabetic patient should range between 4.0-6.0%. 

American Diabetes Association  recommended the use of HbA1c as a diagnostic marker for diabetes & prediabetes in 2010. People with HbA1c of 6.5% and above are to be diagnosed as diabetes and HbA1c between 5.7-6.4%  are considered to be at risk of diabetes.

The target HbA1c in a Diabetic patient is <7% 

HbA1c is definitely a very good tool in the hands of the clinicians to provide a better control over diabetes. But, we also need to know factors that can affect this blood test. 

What will show faulty higher HbA1c readings?

HbF and HbG
Opiate addiction
Iron deficiency state
Chronic aspirin therapy

What will show faulty lower HbA1c readings?

HbS and HbC
Haemolytic anaemia
Acute or chronic blood loss

Methods used for estimating HbA1c

How frequent do we need to estimate HbA1c?

Usually, it should be done every 3 months and when controlled after every 6 months. In pregnancy
for tight control, monthly determination is necessary. In pregnancy a better marker of sugar(Glycemic) control is estimation of serum fructosamine.


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