Hemoglobin A1C (HbA1C) Test for Diabetes

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Source-This post on Hemoglobin A1C (HbA1C) Test for diabetes is based on the article “What is the HbA1C test and why is it used to check for diabetes?” published in “The Hindu” on 15th March 2024.

Why in the News?

This article discusses the Hemoglobin A1C (HbA1C) Test, which is used to diagnose diabetes.
According to a nationwide study published in 2023, India has an estimated 10.13 crore people with diabetes and another 13.6 crore people who are pre-diabetic.

What is Hemoglobin A1C (HbA1C) Test?

Hemoglobin A1C (HbA1C) Test
Source – The Hindu

1. About:
a. It is one of the most commonly-used tests to diagnose pre-diabetes and diabetes (both type 1 and type 2) and to help manage diabetes.
b. It is also known as the glycated haemoglobin or glycosylated haemoglobin test.

2. Significance– This blood test is vital for assessing the effectiveness of your diabetes management.
Note – Hemoglobin, a protein found in red blood cells, carries oxygen from your lungs to the rest of your body.

How does the test work?

1. Sugar from the food, that the individual eats, enters the bloodstream and binds to the hemoglobin in red blood cells.

2. Everyone has some sugar attached to their hemoglobin, but individuals with pre-diabetes and diabetes tend to have higher levels.

3. The HbA1C test measures the percentage of hemoglobin in red blood cells that is coated with sugar.

Advantage over other traditional test

1. Fasting and post-meal blood sugar tests measure sugar levels at specific times, whereas the HbA1C test reflects average glucose levels over a period of two to three months.

2. Unlike traditional tests, HbA1C isn’t influenced by recent meals, making it more dependable and usable regardless of meal timing.

About Diabetes and its Types

1. Diabetes is a chronic disease caused when either the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or the cells in the body do not respond properly to insulin.
Note – Insulin is a hormone that regulates blood glucose.

2. Types:
a. Type 1 when pancreas does not produce enough insulin
b. Type 2 -cells in the body do not respond to insulin properly, and
c. Gestational Diabetes – formed during pregnancy.

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