The vast majority of adults know that hemoglobin is present in our blood.
glycated hemoglobin is also present in the body , few people guess. Therefore, the referral to a blood test to check this indicator often leads patients into a stupor.
About what this study shows, when it is prescribed, and where such compounds come from in the body, read below.
HbA1c: what is this analysis and what does it show?
Checking blood for glycated hemoglobin or HbA1c is an important test that experts attach particular importance to.
HbA1c acts as a biochemical marker, the results of which make it possible to confirm or deny the presence of DM in a patient with a high degree of probability.
Also, using this type of study, you can track the effectiveness of the therapy prescribed by the doctor. The main purpose of hemoglobin is to supply cells with oxygen.
In parallel, this substance enters into an active reaction with glucose, as a result of which glycated hemoglobin appears. The higher the concentration of this substance in the blood, the higher the likelihood of diabetes.
“12817”] Today, the HbA1c test is mandatory for suspected diabetes, as it allows you to detect the presence of the disease even in the early stages, when other testing methods do not show the presence of pathologies.
Relationship with sugar levels
Glycated hemoglobin directly depends on the level of sugar content. The more glucose (sugar) in the blood, the higher the rate of formation of glycated hemoglobin.
The resulting compound is irreversible and exists in the body as long as the erythrocyte containing it is alive. And since the duration of the existence of red blood cells is 120 days, the period of “life” of glycated hemoglobin is also 3 months.
Preparation for delivery
This analysis can be taken at any time of the day and in this case it is not necessary to starve. However, experts are of the same opinion.
To get the most accurate result after the study, the test should be taken strictly on an empty stomach, in the morning.
Also, doctors strongly recommend to refrain from stress and physical exertion on the eve of biomaterial sampling. Whether to follow these recommendations is a personal matter for each patient.
But still, do not forget that HbA1c directly depends on the level of sugar in the body. And taking blood immediately after a meal will increase the likelihood of obtaining a result with an error.
“12817”] Usually, the results of the study can be obtained in 3-4 days.
Where is blood taken for testing?
Blood to determine the level of glycated hemoglobin is taken only from a vein. This applies to all categories of patients.
Even if there is a child aged 0 to 14 years in front of the laboratory assistant, the specialist will still need venous blood. Capillary blood is not suitable for study.
This is because the biomaterial taken from a vein has a more constant composition and does not change it as quickly as the blood mass circulating inside the capillaries. Accordingly, studying this type of material, the laboratory assistant will be able to draw objective conclusions about the patient’s health status.
How is the level of glycated hemoglobin in the blood determined?
The amount of glycated hemoglobin in the blood can be measured in different units – g / l, μmol / l, U / l. The concentration of HbA1C is usually expressed as a percentage of normal hemoglobin. The biomaterial is studied in the laboratory using special equipment.
Deciphering the results of the analysis for glycated hemoglobin
The interpretation of the results is carried out by a specialist based on generally accepted standards. Depending on what range the number is in, the doctor will make the correct diagnosis.
As a basis, the doctor uses the following indicators:
hemoglobin below 5.7% . Such a figure indicates that HbA1c is normal, and it often does not make sense to take it. The next examination can be taken in about 3 years;
the indicator is in the range from 5.7 to 6.4% . There is a risk of developing diabetes, so the patient requires careful monitoring of indicators. To check the data, it is better to go through the survey again in a year;
no more than 7% . This indicator indicates the presence of diabetes. Repeated analysis with a similar result takes place after 6 months;
the indicator exceeded the mark of 10 . This means that the patient is in a difficult situation and needs immediate medical attention.
The indicators listed above are general. If we are talking about certain categories of patients, they may use special standards designed for a particular group.
Norms by age and during pregnancy
For the accuracy of diagnosis, specialists developed a separate table in which the norms for different age categories were indicated:
- for patients under the age of 45, 6.5% is considered the norm. The acceptable limit is considered to be the figure of 7%. However, this result is “marginal” and requires additional health monitoring;
- at the age of 45 to 65 years, the rate of 7% becomes the norm, and the indicator indicating the existence of a risk of developing diabetes will be the figure of 7.5%;
- after 65 years, the norm will rise to 7.5%, and the mark of 8% will be considered a dangerous limit.
“12817”] As you can see, the “healthy” indicator grows with age, therefore, if you get a figure more than usual, do not rush to panic. Perhaps for your age category the result will be quite acceptable.
As for pregnant women, separate indicators have also been developed for them. Since during this period the body of the expectant mother experiences a double load, the norm indicators for this category of patients will be slightly different than for healthy women who are not in an “interesting position”.
Pregnant women can take an HbA1c test only at 1-3 months.
Further, the results may be distorted due to hormonal changes occurring in the body of the expectant mother.
In the period from 1 to 3 months, the norm should be 6.5%, but not exceed the borderline 7%, indicating the possible development of diabetes in the future. Reduced rates can cause delayed fetal development and the onset of premature birth.
The less sugar in your blood, the lower your HbA1c will be.
Reduced rates indicate the development of hypoglycemia, the sharp onset of which can be dangerous not only for the health of a diabetic, but also for his life.
Timely detection of a low level of glycated hemoglobin allows you to timely adjust the dosage of sugar-lowering drugs taken by the patient.
Also, a low level of HbA1c may indicate that the patient develops a blood disease in which red blood cells are either rapidly destroyed or have a distorted shape. These include anemia, chronic renal failure, removal of the spleen and some other ailments.
A high level of glycated hemoglobin in the blood is a direct indication of the presence of diabetes mellitus.
The higher the number in the medical report, the worse the patient’s condition.
If the indicator increased slightly, most likely its growth could be caused by stress, hormonal failure, or some other third-party factors, after the disappearance of which the HbA1c level normalizes on its own.
How long does the test take?
The blood sampling process takes no more than 15 minutes. The processing of the results, depending on the characteristics of the work of the laboratory, can last from 2 to 4 days, after which the patient will be able to receive a medical report from the laboratory assistant in his hands.