Diabetes mellitus, commonly known as diabetes, is a metabolic disease that causes blood sugar levels to be very high. The prevalence of the disease has seen a steady rise in recent times owing to lifestyle changes. There are millions of people across the globe affected by diabetes, and the scenario is about to worsen in the future. Diabetes is a severe illness that can cause severe health issues in the long term. Hence, it is crucial to get yourself tested to diagnose it at the earliest. Glycosylated hemoglobin HbA1c test is a reliable method to find out a person’s glucose levels in the previous 3 months.
The age-old proverb '‘Prevention is better than cure'’ rings true when it comes to getting yourself tested to predict the likelihood of developing diabetes in the future. So, what is the HbA1c test, and why is it considered to be important?
What is the HbA1c Test? - The Importance of HbA1c Test
Diabetes is a disorder caused when your blood sugar or blood glucose is very high. Over time, these glucose levels could lead to severe health problems. Diabetes has no cure; once you develop the diseases, you must manage the condition to avoid serious complications. Therefore, it is imperative to prevent it or diagnose it before it’s too late. Get yourself tested to rule out the possibility of developing the disease in the future.
HbA1c means glycated hemoglobin, which is hemoglobin to which glucose is bound. It is also known as the glycated hemoglobin test. So, how is the HbA1c different from the blood glucose testing? HbA1c gives you an average value of glucose levels over a period of 3 months or more, whereas blood glucose testing only shows the changes that occur on a daily basis. Hence, HbA1c tests provide a more comprehensive picture of the blood sugar levels over a more extended period of time. The blood sugar levels keep fluctuating, so tests that reveal only the recent blood sugar levels might not be effective enough to predict the possibility of diabetes. The HbA1c test provides the average blood sugar levels over a period of 3 months; this provides a clearer and accurate picture. Learn more about the reasons for fluctuating blood sugar levels.
The HbA1c test is considered to be one of the most important tests in diagnosing diabetes.
Now that you are acquainted with the importance of the HbA1c test let’s take a look at the right time to get yourself tested.
When Do You Need to Get the HbA1c Test?
It is not easy to recognize the symptoms of diabetes, at least not in the early stages. Because many symptoms of diabetes might be brushed off as a temporary health problem that will disappear in some time. You can get yourself tested if you notice any of the following symptoms:
- Excess thirst
- Constant, unceasing tiredness
- Extreme hunger
- Unexplained weight loss
- Tingling and numbness in hands or feet
- Excess urination
- Blurry vision
There are certain individuals who are more prone to develop diabetes. People who fall under these categories must get themselves tested for diabetes:
- Those who are overweight or obese
- Those who fall under the high-risk category (Asian-American, African-Americans, African-Americans
- A family history of diabetes
- Leads a sedentary lifestyle
- Has high blood pressure or heart disease
But to get accurate results, you must get the test done at a reputed diagnostic centre. Look out for the best diagnostic centre in Hyderabad and get the HbA1c test at the earliest. So how does the HbA1c test really work? Read on to find out!
How Does the HbA1c Test Work?
Hemoglobin is a protein that carries in red blood cells that carries oxygen. Hemoglobin binds with glucose in the bloodstream; this is called glycation. Therefore, the higher the person’s blood glucose levels, the higher the glycated blood cells they will have. The HbA1c test measures how much glucose has attached itself to red blood cells in your body over the last two to three months.
The red blood cells have a life span of 3 months, so the test is able to measure the sugar levels of 3 months prior to the test. It measures the levels in percentage.
Have you asked yourself, what is the normal HbA1c level? For people without diabetes, it is between 4% to 5.9%. And for those with diabetes, it will be higher.
HbA1c Test Procedure
The HbA1c is a simple test that measures the percentage of the average blood glucose levels over the 3 months prior to the test. While the results from blood drawn from the vein is considered to be more accurate and time-consuming, the results of finger-prick are considered to be comparatively less accurate. But, it is the finger-prick method that is more common because of the ease, convenience, and the results are
- This is a simple test that does not even require you to fast before the test.
- The blood is drawn from the veins or by a finger-prick
- The results are measured in percentage
- If you have already been diagnosed with diabetes, then the finger-prick method will be used
The test is usually conducted in the doctor's office or a lab. It is not a complicated procedure and doesn’t require you to even fast, as is the case with other tests.
In a Nutshell
Diabetes is a condition that does not have a cure, and the only way to lower the chances of severe complication stemming from it is lifelong management. This is a disorder that has the potential to cause serious health problems if left unchecked. Therefore, it is necessary to get tests done to predict the development of the disease in the future or to find it out at the earliest stage. HbA1c tests are considered to be among the very best due to the fact that it provides a picture of your blood sugar levels of the previous months. A simple test can help you prevent or fight diabetes before it causes severe damage to your health.