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Hemoglobin A1c-"The 3 month test"

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Hemoglobin A1C (a.k.a. HbA1C, glycosylated hemoglobin, the 3-month sugar test, the 3-month average) is a blood test performed in diabetics to determine long term control of blood glucose (sugar).

It is a fraction (percentage) of the hemoglobin molecule (the most important protein in blood) that has combined with glucose. Because the level of glucose is increased in diabetics, the percentage of hemoglobin with glucose is usually higher. The higher the glucose in the blood, the higher the HbA1C. It takes several weeks, in fact about 3 months, for high blood glucose to increase the value of HbA1C. The reverse is also true.

HbA1C gives a reasonable account of your diabetic control for the past 3 months. High values of HbA1C correlate with a higher risk of developing diabetic kidney disease, neuropathy (nerve damage, painful legs), and retinopathy (eye problems). The higher the HbA1C, the higher the risk. The goal of diabetes care is to keep the percentage below 6.5%.

You can lower the HbA1C level by keeping blood glucose levels persistently within goal range (90-120 before meals and less than 140 mg/dl 2 hours after meals).  These can be achieved by adjusting your diet to low carbohydrate and low glycemic index meals and following the advise of your diabetic care team.

Diabetes Information