HEALTH TESTS

Hemoglobin Test: What is HbA1c and What You Should Know About it?

A hemoglobin test is also referred to as HbA1c or hgb blood test

An HbA1C test is done to diagnose or monitor serious health issues

Normal hemoglobin level from an A1c test should be less than 5.7%

B
Bajaj Finserv Health
November 17th, 2021
13 mins read

Hemoglobin is an important protein in your red blood cells. It transports oxygen from your lungs to organs and tissues. Next, it carries carbon dioxide from your organs and tissues back into the lungs. A hemoglobin test measures the amount of glucose attached to hemoglobin over the past three months [1]. This is because red blood cells live for an average of three months. The hemoglobin test is also referred to as HbA1c, hemoglobin A1c, glycated hemoglobin, glycosylated hemoglobin, and the hgb blood test [2].

If you have lower than normal hemoglobin levels, it is a sign of low red blood cells or anemia. A higher HbA1C means that you are at risk of developing serious health conditions. These could be:

  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Kidney disease

Read on to know more about the HbA1c blood test, why it is done, and how you can understand the results.

Additional Read: Blood Group Test: How it is Done and What are the Different Blood Types?

What is a hemoglobin test?

A hemoglobin test is a part of a complete blood test. This is one part of the whole, much like the platelets test. It measures the amount of hemoglobin in your blood. The HbA1C test is crucial for checking normal levels in the blood and diagnosing health issues. For example, it is used to both diagnose diabetes and manage it.

If your hemoglobin level is lower than normal, it means you have anemia or a low red blood cell count. This is a health issue, and may have many causes that include:

  • Bleeding
  • Vitamin deficiencies
  • Chronic diseases
  • Folate deficiency
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Leukemia
  • Liver and kidney disease

If your hemoglobin level is higher than normal, then it is a sign of diabetes. If not managed, diabetes can lead to severe health conditions such as:

  • Nerve damage
  • Kidney failure
  • Heart disease

There can be several causes of high hemoglobin. In some cases, it can be due to a blood disorder. In others, it may be due to dehydration, or bad habits like smoking.

Why is an HbA1c test done?

You may need an HbA1C test if you experience symptoms of diabetes. These are usually signs like:

  • Increased thirst
  • Increased urination
  • Blurred vision
  • Fatigue

Adults over the age of 45 are required to take this test if they meet the following criteria:

  • Physically inactive
  • Have high blood pressure
  • History of heart disease.

This test will screen for diabetes and prediabetes [2]. If you are diagnosed with diabetes, your doctor may order the hemoglobin test at least twice a year. This will help to manage it by allowing you to keep track of your blood sugar levels. Additionally, it helps your doctor to come up with a proper treatment plan.

Besides these factors, here are some other reasons why an HbA1C test is done.

  • For overall health: Your doctor may conduct a hemoglobin test as part of a complete blood test during a routine health check-up. It helps check your overall health and look for any disorders.
  • For diagnosis of medical condition: A hemoglobin test helps diagnose medical conditions such as anemia. If you have symptoms of anemia or polycythemia vera such as fatigue, weakness, dizziness, or shortness of breath, you need this test for a confirmed diagnosis [3].
  • For monitoring medical conditions: If you are diagnosed with medical conditions such as anemia, a hemoglobin test will help your doctor monitor your level. It will also guide treatment.

What do hemoglobin A1c test results depict?

The HbA1C test results are in percentages. These are as follows.

  • Hemoglobin normal range: Below 5.7%.
  • Higher than normal hemoglobin level: When your HbA1C is between 5.7% and 6.4%. This is a sign of prediabetes or diabetes.
  • Hb1AC of 6.5% or higher: This is a diabetes marker.

Doctors do not depend solely on these results to make a diagnosis. They may repeat the test or compare the results with other diagnostic tests. The results may mean something different and therefore, you should consult with your doctor for proper diagnosis.

The normal hemoglobin level is 13.5 to 17.5 grams per deciliter for men, and 12.0 to 15.5 grams per deciliter for women. The normal hemoglobin range for children differs based on age and gender.

Additional Read: RBC Count Test: Why is it Important and What is the RBC Normal Range?

In case your hemoglobin level is abnormal, speak with your doctor about the next steps. Some may order additional tests to diagnose or confirm medical conditions. Follow your doctor’s advice properly and adopt healthy lifestyle practices. To check your HbA1c, book a doctor appointment or a lab test on Bajaj Finserv Health today! Access quality care within minutes and put your wellbeing first.

Please note that this article is solely meant for informational purposes and Bajaj Finserv Health Limited (“BFHL”) does not shoulder any responsibility of the views/advice/information expressed/given by the writer/reviewer/originator. This article should not be considered as a substitute for any medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always consult with your trusted physician/qualified healthcare professional to evaluate your medical condition. The above article has been reviewed by a qualified doctor and BFHL is not responsible for any damages for any information or services provided by any third party.

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