HbA1c is used to measure the amount of blood sugar (glucose) attached to hemoglobin over 3 months. This combination of hemoglobin and glucose is called HbA1c. Hemoglobin is a component of red blood cells which carry oxygen from the lungs to the whole body. HbA1c test shows the average amount of glucose present in hemoglobin for 3 months. It is usually done once in three months because typically lifespan of a red blood cell is 3 months.
It is used to check for diabetes or prediabetes in adults. Prediabetes indicates that you are at the risk of getting diabetes. If you are already a diabetic patient then it will help you in regulating glucose levels.
This test may be recommended to you by your doctor if you have symptoms of diabetes like blurred vision, increased urination, increased thirst, fatigue. Your doctor may also recommend this test if you are at risk of having diabetes. These symptoms include high blood pressure, history of heart disease, overweight or obese, less physical activity.
If you are diabetic HbA1c test should be done once every three months. But it may be needed more if you are planning to have a baby or your treatment has changed recently or if you have problems controlling your blood sugar levels.
HbA1c test results may be altered by different disease conditions like anemia or other blood disorders like thalassemia, kidney disease, or liver disease. Hence inform your doctor or technician about your current medical conditions and medications, especially vitamin C and vitamin E supplements, atorvastatin. HbA1c test results are also altered by your habits like smoking, opium and substance abuse. Temperature also alters the HbA1c levels, mostly during winter and cold conditions there may be chances of the high level of HbA1c.
The HbA1c test is not recommended for gestational diabetes. Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that affects only pregnant women. It is also not recommended for diagnosing diabetes in children.
Inform your doctor if you are on any medications, have any allergies or underlying medical conditions before your HbA1c Test. Your doctor will give specific instructions depending on your condition on how to prepare for HbA1c Test.
No specific preparation is required for HbA1c test.
Depending on your HbA1c test results your diabetic treatment plan is decided by your doctor. Since this test shows the results of three months, it shows how well the treatment is working, if you are already on diabetic treatment.
If your HbA1c test results are slightly higher than normal value then it may indicate that you are in the prediabetic stage. If your HbA1c tests results are high, there may risk of certain diseases like heart disease, kidney disease, nerve damage, stroke or eye disease.
If your HbA1c test results are higher than the normal range then it indicates that you are diabetic and need to control your blood sugar levels. If you are not on regular medication or if your blood sugars are not well maintained, then HbA1c test results show a higher value.
Your doctor may have different recommendations for you keeping in mind your overall health, weight, age, and other factors.
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