Glycosylated Haemoglobin

Glycosylated Haemoglobin

Glycosylated Haemoglobin

Alternative Names: HbA1C

A Glycosylated Haemoglobin, or HbA1C, test measures the amount of haemoglobin (a substance found in red blood cells) that contains glucose (blood sugar). This test gives a good guide to blood sugar control in diabetes. Blood is withdrawn through a needle from a vein, usually on the inside of the elbow, and sent to a laboratory for analysis. It is important to control blood sugar levels so as to reduce the risk of long-term complications from diabetes such as angina and heart attack (ischaemic heart disease), stroke, kidney disease, eye problems, and poor circulation.

What is it?
Glycosylated Haemoglobin, or HbA1C, is a blood test that measures the amount of altered (glycosylated) haemoglobin in the bloodstream. Haemoglobin is glycosylated when glucose (sugar) is present, and remains so for 6-8 weeks (the life of a red blood cell, which is where haemoglobin is found). This means that HbA1C levels are a good indication of blood sugar levels over the preceding 6-8 weeks – HbA1C thus gives a good guide to blood sugar control in diabetes.
The blood can be drawn at your doctor’s rooms, a clinic, or in hospital. The analysis is done in a laboratory.

Why is it done?
This test is done to assess blood sugar levels and blood sugar control in diabetes (see above).

What happens?

Before – how to prepare
No special preparation is necessary.

During – how the test is done
A convenient area, where there are prominent veins, is identified and cleaned – the area inside the elbow is often used. A tourniquet or tight band is applied above the area in order to increase pressure and dilate the veins. A needle is then inserted, through the skin, into a vein, and some blood is withdrawn. The needle may cause some pain but this is not usually severe. The blood specimen is sent to the laboratory for analysis.

After the test
You will have a small dressing over the puncture wound, which can be removed after a few hours.

Risks and Compilations
There is a slight risk of excessive bleeding at the puncture site and an even smaller risk of infection.

Special Issues
It well known that good blood sugar control reduces the risk of long-term diabetic complications such as ischaemic heart disease (angina and heart attack), stroke, kidney disease, eye problems, and poor circulation. This test is very useful when assessing how well controlled a diabetic person’s blood sugar is and may help to improve control and reduce these risks.

Short Description
A Glycosylated Haemoglobin, or HbA1C, test measures the amount of haemoglobin (a substance found in red blood cells) that contains glucose (blood sugar).

Keywords
Glycosylated Haemoglobin, HbA1C



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