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Some people think that when it comes to diabetic complications, the only thing that matters is your hemoglobin A1c level (A1c) . This is the test that is supposed to measure your average blood glucose (BG) level over the past several months.
High BG levels form what are called advanced glycation end products, or AGEs, and these long-lived products seem to gum up the works and cause diabetic complications, as well as normal aging.
Because it's an average, you can get the same A1c result if you have a constant BG level of 100 mg/dL (an unlikely event, but I'm using it to simplify), or if you spend half your time at 50 and half your time at 150 mg/dL. Because most studies of complication rates, for example the famous Diabetes Control Complications and Trial (DCCT), use only the A1c as a measure of control, many people think that's all that matters.
In fact, that's not true at all. Since then, some studies have suggested that the amount of glucose variability is as important as, or more im...
HbA1c is a test that measures the amount of glycated hemoglobin in your blood. Your doctor may order this test if you have diabetes.
Glycated hemoglobin; Glycosylated hemoglobin; Hemoglobin - glycosylated; A1C; GHb; Glycohemoglobin; Diabetic control index
How the test is performed
Blood is drawn from a vein. The vein is usually on the inside of your elbow or the back of your hand. A nurse will clean the site for germs. The nurse then wraps an elastic band around the upper arm. This puts pressure on the area and makes the vein swell with blood.
Next, the needle is gently inserted into your vein. The blood collects into an airtight vial or tube attached to the needle. The elastic band is removed from your arm. Once the blood has been collected, the needle is removed. Then the area is covered to stop any bleeding.
In infants or young children, a sharp tool called a lancet may be used to puncture the skin and make it ble...
How accurate are the hemoglobin A1c tests (which I'll call just A1c) that most of us with diabetes get about 4 times a year? The A1c is supposed to tell us what our average blood glucose (BG) level has been over the previous several months, and it has provided information that was lacking in the early days of diabetes treatment.
However, researchers have now begun to dig deeper into the meaning of the A1c test to try to explain why some people's A1c doesn't seem to agree with their daily BG measurements.
We should have an approximate idea of how well we're controlling just by measuring our BG levels with our home meters. But the meters only tell us what the BG level is at the time we test. Even if we test 8 or 10 times a day, there are times when we're not testing, especially overnight.
And not everyone can afford to test even eight times a day. For instance, Medicare thinks that people on insulin need only 100 strips a month, enough to test about three times a day. For people ...
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