Interpretation of Results of HbA1c

HbA1c (also called simply A1C) is glycosylated hemoglobin. It is formed when glucose molecule(s) get attached with hemoglobin molecule in blood. The higher blood glucose level the greater number of glucose molecule(s) get attached to more number of hemoglobin molecules. Hence, when blood glucose rises (e.g. in case of diabetes) the HbA1c level also rises and the test for HbA1c is used for diagnosis as well as for monitoring of blood glucose control when a diabetes patient is under treatment to know how well the treatment is working to manage blood glucose level.

Any special way you have to prepare for testing HbA1c?

It is a simple blood test and you can have any food or drink before testing it. In fact as it reflects the blood glucose level for last 2 to 3 months, what you eat or drink before HbA1c test is insignificant.

How HbA1c test is done?

A blood sample is taken by health care team and sent for lab analysis. Blood is taken from a vein just like any other blood test. The lab analysis is done in autoanalyser and results accurate (if autoanalyser is in good working condition).

Interpretation of HbA1c results:

  • For normal non-diabetic individual the HbA1c level is below 5.7 and for a diabetic whose blood sugar is not under control for long time will have result above 8.
  • For diagnosis of diabetes using HbA1c, result above 6.5 on two different occasions is diagnostic of diabetes.
  • A result between 5.7 and 6.4 is indicative of pre-diabetes, which indicate a higher risk of developing diabetes within few years and the person need to take precautions in changing to healthier lifestyle and healthier eating habits and preferably consult a diabetologist for ways to prevent development of diabetes and take medications if recommended to prevent diabetes.
  • For individuals with diabetes the HbA1c is target is generally to keep it below 7 according to American About Diabetes Association and below 6.5 according to International About Diabetes federation. However, for some diabetics it may not be possible and target of 8 can be accepted. If your HbA1c level is above your target level, your doctor may recommend change or addition of extra medication.

Blood test results of HbA1c may be incorrect is some situations such as after blood loss due to any cause (e.g. trauma), after surgery, after blood transfusion, anemia (false high result), in presence of liver disease or kidney disease etc. It is therefore important to avoid doing HbA1c in such situations. If you have only hemoglobin A, your results may also be different/higher.

Interpretation of result: source:




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