What Every Diabetic Ought to Know About A1C Test

It is imperative for diabetics to monitor blood sugar levels per day. This is to help keep glucose and insulin at more manageable concentrations so that the person does not suffer from either hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) or hyperglycemia (too high levels of sugar and glucose in the blood stream.) Daily testing is also a great way of gradually eliminating the dependence on prescription medicines and supplements as the person with diabetes learns how to control his or her blood sugar level on a daily basis through diet only. However, A1C test still need to be conducted on a regular basis. In fact, health care givers often recommend that this medical check be administered at least once every 2 months or so.

What is A1C test and why is it important?

A1C test is a method of checking a diabetic person’s glucose level for a longer period of time. This test is almost similar to the daily blood test when it comes to procedure. All the patient would really need is to contribute a bit of blood, and submit it for testing. Nonetheless, this check often shows a more concrete “history” of the person’s average blood glucose control. This is primarily used to determine whether or not the diabetic treatment plan of a particular person is working. Adjustments are usually made after each test so as to accommodate the health needs of the diabetic person in question. Simply put, diabetics usually react differently to prescribed diets, medicines and treatments – so monitoring A1C level is usually critical during the early diagnostic and treatment stages.

A1C is known by many terms, like: glycated hemoglobin, glycosylated hemoglobin, hemoglobin A1C, HbA1c, and Hb1c. This component of the blood is very reliable when it comes to identifying the average glucose concentration in the plasma, even (and especially) after a lapse of 2 or 3 months.

The A1C test relies on the actual “memory” of the A1C hemoglobin. When the diabetic person has high levels of blood sugar for a particular week, that memory is embedded in the DNA structure of the A1C, particularly in the red blood cells. At the same time, that memory also records levels of blood sugar dipping below normal, or when the glucose remains constant during the treatment period. This memory can be retained for as long as the red blood cells remain alive – and that is approximately 120 days. After that, the cells die and are quickly replaced by other A1C “memory” keeping red blood cells. This is primarily the reason why this important medical check must be conducted within a span of only a couple of months. Every 2 months is most preferably, but allowances can be made for up to 3 months, but no more. This is to ensure that the “memory” that the cells carry do have sufficient history for comparison.

Often, it is the person with Type I diabetes who is required to take the A1C test Diabetic Diets, Diabetic Cooking. However, elderly patients who are diagnosed with Type II diabetes are sometimes recommended to take the same especially when his or her blood sugar level does not stabilize or becomes increasingly erratic as the treatment progresses.

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