The food we eat is converted into glucose, a type of sugar, in our blood. This glucose is used by our cells for energy with the help of a hormone known as insulin.
However, individuals with diabetes do not produce enough insulin, preventing glucose from reaching the cells. Consequently, there is an elevation in blood sugar levels.
Also known as glycated hemoglobin, Hba1c is formed when glucose sticks to red blood cells in our bodies. When the body cannot properly utilize sugar, it sticks to the blood cells and accumulates.
Why Should You Check Hba1c Regularly?
High Hba1c levels indicate elevated blood sugar levels, which increases the risk of developing complications associated with diabetes, including severe issues with your eyes and feet.
Being aware of the Hba1c level allows you to prepare for lowering your blood sugar levels, thereby reducing the threats of underlying complications. Therefore, it is necessary to check your Hba1c levels regularly.
What is the Hba1c Test & Its Usage?
Hba1c is a blood test that measures the average levels of blood glucose attached to your hemoglobin over the past two to three months. Hemoglobin, a protein in red blood cells, transports oxygen from the lungs to various body parts.
Red blood cells have a lifespan of about 120 days or four months. The A1C test calculates the average glucose level in the blood during this time. The body creates more glycated hemoglobin when there are high blood sugar levels.
The Hba1c provides a good indication of whether your diabetes is under control or not. An ideal Hba1c level for individuals with diabetes is 48 mmol/mol (6.5%) or below.
The test is commonly called hemoglobin A1c or simply an A1c test. People usually undergo this test every three to six months.
However, if you plan to have a child, have changed treatment recently, or face problems managing blood sugar levels, you may need to undergo the test more frequently.
The Hba1c test is primarily used to diagnose and monitor prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. It can also be used to monitor your blood sugar levels if you are at risk of developing diabetes.
A1c Test Results
- Non-diabetic people: The normal range for the hemoglobin A1c level is between 4% and 5.7%.
- Prediabetes: A1c levels between 5.7% to 6.4% indicate prediabetes and extreme chances of you getting diabetes.
- Diabetes: Hba1c levels of 6.5% or higher mean you have diabetes.
How to Calculate Hba1c?
The Hba1C test estimates the average glucose levels in the blood and is expressed as a percentage. You can find easy-to-use calculators online that use simple formulas.
You can use the following formula to convert the percentage values of blood glucose to mg/dL or mmol/mol.
The American Diabetes Association (ADA) says that to convert a percentage to milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL), you can use the following formula:
Estimated Average Glucose Level = (28.7 multiplied by Hba1C) minus 46.7
This formula measures the estimated average glucose level in mg/dL, and Hba1C is calculated as a percentage.
Conversion of % to mmol/mol:
Estimated Average Glucose (sugar) Level = (10.93 X Hba1C) – 23.5
Here estimated average glucose level is in mmol/mol, and Hba1C is in percentage.
The Hba1C test calculates the amount of hemoglobin attached to glucose in the blood, providing an average blood sugar level over the past three months.
This test is a valuable tool to monitor diabetes and diagnose type 2 diabetes. If you would like to get yourself checked for diabetes or prediabetes, we welcome you to visit Grace Laboratory.
1. Is fasting required for the hba1c test?
Hba1c is a simple blood test that does not require fasting, unlike other tests used to diagnose diabetes. It can be done at any time without any special preparations as such.