Diabetes Control—HbA1c
Tuesday, November 11, 2008

If you are diabetic, it is very important that you learn to tightly control your blood sugars.  In today’s 60 Second Housecall, Dr. Edward Hill discusses a blood test that can help you do that.

 Hemoglobin A1c is a blood test that measures the amount of glycosylated hemoglobin in your blood, or the percentage of hemoglobin molecules in your blood that are chemically attached to glucose. If you have higher average blood glucose levels over the past three months, the percentage of hemoglobin molecules bound with glucose increases. This test gives your physician a measure of how tight your glucoses have been controlled over the past three months. If the number is too high, your physician will adjust your medications, diet and physical activity.

The test measures how well your diabetes is being managed. A normal Hemoglobin A1c is 5 percent or less.  If the HbA1c value is above 7 percent, it means your diabetes is poorly controlled.  High values mean you are at greater risk of diabetic complications such as stroke, heart attack, kidney failure, blindness or leg amputation.

This blood test should be performed at least twice per year. It can be done even if you have not been fasting.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, I’m Dr. Edward Hill.