June 22, 2007, Newsletter Issue #108: Hemoglobin A1c and Diabetes

Tip of the Week

The red blood cells in your blood contain hemoglobin, which helps to carry oxygen. This hemoglobin will also bind with other substances, including glucose, by a process known as "glycolation."

When a blood sample is drawn and tested for the levels of glucose bound to the hemoglobin, the result is known as a Hemoglobin A1c, or glycolated hemoglobin.

Normal values may vary slightly with different labs, but the normal for a non-diabetic at many labs is 4.0 to 6.0. Many studies of diabetes, have demonstrated that diabetics with a glucose closer to this goal range have less complications.

The Hemoglobin A1c will give information about the overall average range of glucose levels over the past three months (this is how long red blood cells live before being renewed), especially for the weeks prior to the test. It will give a picture of general glucose control, along with results of blood glucose monitoring values.

The Hemoglobin A1c does not replace regular glucose monitoring, but can be a useful tool in learning how well a personīs diabetes is being controlled.

You will want to discuss with your medical provider your individual goal for your Hemoglobin A1c.

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