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What is glycated hemoglobin?

Jan 13, 2021 6:39:03 PM / por Diabetrics Healthcare


Also called HbA1c is a laboratory test used to diagnose and control type 1 and type 2 diabetes mellitus.

This analysis indicates the average level of glycemia (blood sugar) in the last two or three months (from 8 to 10 weeks) and, specifically, the percentage of hemoglobin - a protein that is found in red blood cells and that transports oxygen covered with glucose, that is, glycosylated.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), HbA1c is a long-term measurement of glucose metabolism, so it is important to periodically perform it in the treatment of diabetes mellitus (DM).

This essential indicator in monitoring glycemic control allows us to know the level of risk that a patient with diabetes mellitus has, due to how high or not their HbA1c may be. Thus, an inversely proportional relationship is shown in which, to the extent that said level is higher, it is evident that the control of blood sugar of a person with DM is lower.


Why is this test important?

The importance of performing the HbA1c test lies in several factors:

  • HbA1c allows the treating physician to identify and confirm the diagnosis of type 1 or type 2 diabetes mellitus, which is only requested in cases where the results of other tests such as fasting blood glucose or the blood test are altered, or pre and postprandial glucose tolerance.
  • Glycosylated hemoglobin allows a more adequate follow-up of the diabetes treatment plan, in which both the treating physician and the patient participate, and whose result reveals the glycemic control that is being carried out more precisely than with glycometry. and fasting glycemia.

The frequency a person should undergo HbA1c, which allows assessing glycemic control, will depend on each individual case.


How to understand the result?

Through clinical studies it has been identified that the relationship between HbA1c and the risk of chronic complications is linear. Therefore, it is recommended to people with diabetes mellitus to target HbA1c as close to 6.5% or 7% (not higher than this level), to preserve their health and well-being in the present and future. Keep in mind that your glycemic objectives should not be taken as rigid goals, but as a flexible process, according to each person and their living conditions.



World Health Organization [PDF]. Diagnosis and Monitoring of Diabetes Mellitus from the Laboratory [published in 2003; accessed June 12, 2020]. Available :

Mayo Clinic [website]. A1C Test [published February 23, 2019; accessed June 12, 2020]. Available at:

Center for Kidney Diseases and Arterial Hypertension (CEREHA) [PDF]. Glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c). Usefulness and limitations in patients with chronic kidney disease [approved on February 19, 2018; accessed June 12, 2020]. Available at: file: /// C: /Users/Usuario/Downloads/300-1138-1-PB.pdf


Tags: Monitoring and Technologies in Diabetes

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