HbA1C! When I first became diabetic I had no idea what this even meant. I just knew that every 3 to 6 months I would have blood taken from my arm. This blood sample, which seemed like gallons of blood, would then come back to me, a few weeks later in a percentage format. The doctors and my parents seemed happy and that made me happy. “I felt a sense of achievement.”
Let’s start with a few basics!
The blood stream is made up of red blood cells these red blood cells contain haemoglobin or Hb. Red cells can live for 8 – 12 weeks before they are replaced. Hb carries oxygen in the blood from the lungs and then to the rest of the body.
“So what did it all mean?”
As I developed a better concept of science and my diabetes, I began to understand, that this HbA1c was an average measurement used to identify the level of control I had maintained over a prolonged period of time.
HbA1c occurs when haemoglobin binds (Hb) with glucose in the blood stream. The glucose and the haemoglobin molecule form a glycated haemoglobin molecule. This is known as A1c or HbA1c.
Someone without diabetes produces normal levels of glucose and therefore produces a normal level of glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c). The more glucose in the blood stream, the more haemoglobin A1c or HbA1c in the blood. Higher levels of glycated haemoglobin in diabetics would suggest poor blood glucose level control.
These high levels of HbA1c are associated with diabetic complications such as retinopathy (eye complications) and neuropathy (nerve damage). There are many other complications, which I will touch on in my next post. HbA1c levels do not ensure that complications will develop or will not develop. However it has been proven, that having good control and a good HbA1c will reduce the chances of these complications arising.
What should your HbA1c be??
|HbA1c in mmol/mol (new unit)||% HbA1c (old unit)|
|Non diabetic||30 mmol/mol||4.90%|
|Diabetic prone to hypoglycaemia||58 mmol/mol||7.50%|
HbA1c testing in diabetics depends on the individual and how well they control their blood glucose levels. A diabetic prone to hypos, but is trying their best to achieve tighter control on their diabetes, HbA1c test is carried out every 3 months.Once the individual is able to control and retain good control, HbA1c testing should then be carried out every 6 months. Since I had my son, I’ve suffered a great deal with low blood glucose levels. Currently I have my HbA1c tested every 3 months, due to my nocturnal hypoglycaemia. This is something I’m working hard to get rid of and maintain a good level of control, as I always have.
My current HbA1c = 7.4% 57mmol/mol
My dream HbA1c = 5.0% 31mmol/mol
Pregnancy HbA1c = 6.4% 46mmol/mol
If you have bad control, or perhaps your HbA1c wasn’t so great the last time.Its not the end of the world. Stay positive and please don’t give up. Keep on striving for a better HbA1c. Use your diabetes team and get them to help you. However you must help yourself first by, taking regular notes of your sugars and create a picture of what is happening with them. The only way to make changes and achieve a good HbA1c is to take the steps to control your blood glucose levels.
- Hemoglobin A1C: The Action Figure! (diabetesmine.com)