Why Hemoglobin A1c Is Not A Reliable Marker
i was recently tested for Hemoglobin A1c because i presented to an endocrinologist with extremely low blood glucose on lab test and some scary symptoms, not the ordinary hypoglycemia symptoms. My A1c was 4.7 which registered as low (L) on the lab print out–it was only slightly low. Does a low score on this suggest a possibility of short-lived RBCs? Does it have any relationship with extremely low blood glucose? my result at the lab, fasting, was 32mg/dL. Not long after that i got a home glucometer and i get the same kind of results on that as the lab got, in the 20s and 30s first thing in the morning, every day. did not know i had hypoglycemia until i had that lab test, though i had had one episode where i woke up with ataxia, i fell while walking to the bathroom first thing in the morning, i got up and immediately fell again. I soon found that i had very impaired coordination. i did not know why and i was very worried. Eventually i wanted to have breakfast but had great difficulty holding the measuring cup under the faucet, to get some water to heat, to make instant oatmeal, i lacked the coordination to get the water into the cup. I persisted and did make the instant oatmeal (pour hot water onto flakes and it’s done), and i got my lap top and was eating the oatmeal and i suddenly was aware that the symptoms were going away. Previously i had been unable to type. While eating the small amount of oatmeal, i realized i could type. That was about a month before the lab test. Since it only happened that once, i put it out of my mind. About 5 days after the lab test, i had the second episode, worse than the first, i woke falling out of bed to the floor, couldn’t use my arm to break the fall, i didn’t have the coordination. i sat on the floor, i could not get up and wa Continue reading >>
Artefactually Low Hemoglobin A1c In A Patient With Hemolytic Anemia
Artefactually Low Hemoglobin A1C in a Patient with Hemolytic Anemia Laboratory Medicine, Volume 41, Issue 5, 1 May 2010, Pages 267270, Gifford Lum; Artefactually Low Hemoglobin A1C in a Patient with Hemolytic Anemia, Laboratory Medicine, Volume 41, Issue 5, 1 May 2010, Pages 267270, Hemoglobin A1C (HbA1C) is widely used for the monitoring and management of diabetes mellitus. Shortened red cell survival may result in artefactually low HbA1C values. In patients with hemoglobin variants or chemically-modified derivatives of hemoglobin, falsely decreased or increased HbA1C results may be found depending on the particular assay method. Although in most such cases, HbA1C can be reported if the appropriate methodology is selected. In diabetic patients with shortened red cell survival and in a small number of patients with certain hemoglobin variants, alternate approaches such as frequent glucose measurements and/or self glucose monitoring and fructosamine should be used to assess glycemic control. In diabetic patients with these conditions, HbA1C as the preferred diagnostic test for diabetes is not valid. diabetes , HbA1C , falsely low HbA1C , shortened red cell survival , hemolytic anemia The patient was an 84-year-old male who was admitted to the emergency room in April 2009 with the chief complaint of increased bilateral lower extremity edema, a 34-pound weight gain over the past month, and worsening anemia. The patient stated that his legs had been steadily swelling over the last month although he had been taking Lasix faithfully (20 mg Monday, Wednesday, and Friday). In the emergency room, the patient was in atrial fibrillation but was free of chest pain. He had significant lower extremity edema and was given IV Lasix and diuresed approximately 1 liter overnight. Past me Continue reading >>
Ultimate Guide To The A1c Test: Everything You Need To Know
The A1C is a blood test that gives us an estimated average of what your blood sugar has been over the past 2-3 months. The A1c goes by several different names, such aswa Hemoglobin A1C, HbA1C, Hb1C, A1C, glycated hemoglobin, glycohemoglobin and estimated glucose average. What is Hemoglobin? Hemoglobin is a protein in your blood cells that carries oxygen. When sugar is in the blood, and it hangs around for a while, it starts to attach to the red blood cells. The A1C test is a measurement of how many red blood cells have sugar attached. So, if your A1C result is 7%, that means that 7% of your red blood cells have sugar attached to them. What are the Symptoms of a High A1C Test Level? Sometimes there are NO symptoms! That is probably one of the scariest things about diabetes, your sugar can be high for a while and you may not even know it. When your blood sugar goes high and stays high for longer periods of time you may notice the following: tired, low energy, particularly after meals feel very thirsty you may be peeing more than normal, waking a lot in the middle of the night to go dry, itchy skin unexplained weight loss crave sugar, hungrier than normal blurred vision, may feel like you need new glasses tingling in feet or hands cuts or sores take a long time to heal or don’t heal well at all frequent infections (urinary tract, yeast infections, etc.) When your blood sugar is high, this means the energy that you are giving your body isn’t getting into the cells. Think about a car that has a gas leak. You put gas in, but if the gas can’t get to the engine, the car will not go. When you eat, some of the food is broken down into sugar and goes into your bloodstream. If your body can’t get the sugar to the cells, then your body can’t “go.” Some of the sugar tha Continue reading >>
Why Doesn't My Average Blood Glucose Match My A1c?!
Want to learn more about A1C? Download our Guide to A1C here! So, for most people, BGmeter average doesntaccuratelyreflect average blood glucose over a full 24 hours.A1C, on the other hand, does. If you want your BG meter average to better reflect your A1C values, check more often! And make sure you check at various times throughout the day, including 1-3 hours after eating. 2. The Average BG to A1C conversionequation is not perfect Most (if not all) average BG to A1C conversiontables and calculators use the below equation to estimate A1C: Average BG (mg/dL) = 28.7 X A1C (%) 46.7 This equation is based on data froma 2008 study of over 500 subjects (268 T1Ds, 159 T2Ds, and 80 non-diabetics)at 10 internationalcenters aroundthe world. The A1C values were all measured in a central laboratory, sodifferences in laboratory method or technique were not a factor. People were studied for 12 weeks, with two days of CGM and three days of 7-point glucose profiles each week. The BG meters used were carefully standardized and calibrated. The graph below shows the data used to derive the relationship between average glucose and A1C. As you can see, there is A LOTofscatter. A number ofdata points are offthe trend line by 1%. And for some A1C values,the spread is enormous Check out the range ofA1Cs for people with an average glucose of ~110 mg/dL it goesfrom below 4% to almost 9%! So, importantly, the study concluded that the equation could be used to convertA1C toaverage blood glucose values for most patients. Notallpatients, just most. Results of a study of 507 subjects. Published in Diabetes Care 31:1473-1478, 2008 . OK But whydo so many people have A1C values that dont follow the equation? As it turns out, the biological processesthat dictate A1C arenot exactly the same for everyone Continue reading >>
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6 Ways To Lower Your A1c Level
Diabetes is a serious, chronic disease that can lead to many complications. When managed properly, diabetes does not have to control your life or ruin your health. Getting tested, especially if you are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes, is a proactive measure you can take for yourself and your future. In the early stages of diabetes, there are no symptoms. An early diagnosis helps you get treatment before complications occur. The A1C test is a blood test that checks for type 2 diabetes. It is also used to see how well you are managing your diabetes if you have already been diagnosed. The test provides information about a person’s average levels of blood sugar over a two- to three-month period. The number is reported in the form of a percentage. The higher the percentage, the higher your average blood glucose levels are, and the higher your risk for either diabetes or related complications. A1C is one of the primary tests used for diabetes diagnosis and management. It can test for type 1 and type 2 diabetes, but it can’t test for gestational diabetes. It can also be used to predict the likelihood that someone will get diabetes. The A1C test measures how much glucose, or sugar, is attached to hemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells. The more glucose attached, the higher the A1C. This test is groundbreaking, as it 1) doesn’t require fasting, 2) gives a picture of blood sugar levels over a period of days and weeks instead of at just one point in time like fasting sugars, and 3) can be done at any time of day. This makes it easier to administer and easier to make accurate diagnoses. According to the National Institutes of Health, a normal A1C is below 5.7 percent. If your score is between 5.7 and 6.4 percent, the diagnosis is prediabetes. Having prediabetes put Continue reading >>
An Elevated Risk State?
Go to: Abstract To identify predictors of low hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) (<5.0%) and to investigate the association of low HbA1c with cause-specific mortality and risk of liver disease hospitalization. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS Prospective cohort study of 13,288 participants in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study. Logistic regression was used to identify cross-sectional correlates of low HbA1c, and Cox proportional hazards models were used to estimate the association of low HbA1c with cause-specific mortality. RESULTS Compared with participants with HbA1c in the normal range (5.0 to <5.7%), participants with low HbA1c were younger, less likely to smoke, had lower BMI, lower white cell count and fibrinogen levels, and lower prevalence of hypercholesterolemia and history of coronary heart disease. However, this group was more likely to have anemia and had a higher mean corpuscular volume. In adjusted Cox models with HbA1c of 5.0 to <5.7% as the reference group, HbA1c <5.0% was associated with a significantly increased risk of all-cause mortality (hazard ratio [HR]: 1.32, 95% CI: 1.13–1.55) and of cancer death (1.47, 95% CI: 1.16–1.84). We also noted nonsignificant trends toward increased risk of death from cardiovascular causes (1.27, 95% CI: 0.93–1.75) and respiratory causes (1.42, 95% CI: 0.78–2.56). There was a J-shaped association between HbA1c and risk of liver disease hospitalization. No single cause of death appeared to drive the association between low HbA1c and total mortality. These results add to evidence that low HbA1c values may be a generalized marker of mortality risk in the general population. Adjusted* associations of low HbA1c (<5.0% vs. 5.0 to <5.7%) among persons without diabetes (N = 9,254) Continue reading >>
Hemoglobin A1c Test (hba1c)
Hemoglobin A1c, often abbreviated HbA1c, is a form of hemoglobin (a blood pigment that carries oxygen) that is bound to glucose. The blood test for HbA1c level is routinely performed in people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes mellitus. Blood HbA1c levels are reflective of how well diabetes is controlled. The normal range for level for hemoglobin A1c is less than 6%. HbA1c also is known as glycosylated, or glycated hemoglobin. HbA1c levels are reflective of blood glucose levels over the past six to eight weeks and do not reflect daily ups and downs of blood glucose. High HbA1c levels indicate poorer control of diabetes than levels in the normal range. HbA1c is typically measured to determine how well a type 1 or type 2 diabetes treatment plan (including medications, exercise, or dietary changes) is working. How Is Hemoglobin A1c Measured? The test for hemoglobin A1c depends on the chemical (electrical) charge on the molecule of HbA1c, which differs from the charges on the other components of hemoglobin. The molecule of HbA1c also differs in size from the other components. HbA1c may be separated by charge and size from the other hemoglobin A components in blood by a procedure called high pressure (or performance) liquid chromatography (HPLC). HPLC separates mixtures (for example, blood) into its various components by adding the mixtures to special liquids and passing them under pressure through columns filled with a material that separates the mixture into its different component molecules. HbA1c testing is done on a blood sample. Because HbA1c is not affected by short-term fluctuations in blood glucose concentrations, for example, due to meals, blood can be drawn for HbA1c testing without regard to when food was eaten. Fasting for the blood test is not necessary. What Are Continue reading >>
Low Blood Sugar Symptoms And Ranges
Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) definition and facts Hypoglycemia is the medical term for low blood sugar. It typically occurs as a side effect of medications for diabetes. The normal range of blood glucose is from 70 to 100 mg/dL in an individual without diabetes, Most people will feel the effects and symptoms of low blood sugar when blood glucose levels are lower than 50 mg/dL. Low blood sugar is treated by giving a readily absorbed source of sugar, including soft drinks, juice, or foods containing sugar. If the hypoglycemia has progressed to the point at which the patient cannot take anything by mouth, an injection of glucagon may be given. Glucagon is a hormone that causes a fast release of glucose from the liver. Hypoglycemia or low blood sugar is syndrome that results from low blood sugar. The severity and symptoms of hypoglycemia can vary from person to person. Blood tests can diagnose low blood sugar, and symptoms resolve when the levels of sugar in the blood return to the normal range. The medical term for blood sugar is blood glucose. What can cause low blood sugar? Despite advances in the treatment of diabetes, low blood sugar episodes occur as a side effect of many treatments for diabetes. In fact, these episodes are often the limiting factor in achieving optimal blood sugar control, because many medications that are effective in treating diabetes carry the risk of lowering the blood sugar level too much, causing symptoms. In large scale studies looking at tight control in both type 1 and type 2 diabetes, low blood sugars occurred more often in the patients who were managed most intensively. This is important for patients and physicians to recognize, especially as the goal for treating patients with diabetes becomes tighter control of blood sugar. While peopl Continue reading >>
What's A "normal" A1c? When Is It Misleading?
By Adithi Gandhi and Jeemin Kwon Why we use A1c, what values are recommended, and what impacts A1c – everything from anemia to vitamins Want more information just like this? Hemoglobin A1c (“HbA1c” or just “A1c”) is the standard for measuring blood sugar management in people with diabetes. A1c reflects average blood sugars over 2 to 3 months, and through studies like DCCT and UKPDS, higher A1c levels have been shown to be associated with the risk of certain diabetes complications (eye, kidney, and nerve disease). For every 1% decrease in A1c, there is significant pretection against those complications. However, as an average over a period of months, A1c cannot capture critical information such as time spent in a target range (70-180 mg/dl) and hypoglycemia (less than 70 mg/dl). This article describes why A1c is used in the first place, as well as factors that can lead to misleadingly high or low values. In a follow-up piece, we will discuss time-in-range, hypoglycemia, hyperglycemia, blood sugar variability, and how to measure and interpret them. Click to jump down to a section: What tools are available if an A1c test is not accurate or sufficient? What is A1c and why is it used? A1c estimates a person’s average blood sugar levels over a 2 to 3-month span. It is the best measure we have of how well blood glucose is controlled and an indicator of diabetes management. Though A1c doesn’t provide day-to-day information, keeping A1c low has been proven to lower the risk of “microvascular” complications like kidney disease (nephropathy), vision loss (retinopathy), and nerve damage (neuropathy). The relationship between A1c and “macrovascular” complications like heart disease is harder to show in clinical trials, but having high blood sugar is a major ris Continue reading >>
Low Hemoglobin A1c In Nondiabetic Adults
Abstract OBJECTIVE To identify predictors of low hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) (<5.0%) and to investigate the association of low HbA1c with cause-specific mortality and risk of liver disease hospitalization. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS Prospective cohort study of 13,288 participants in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study. Logistic regression was used to identify cross-sectional correlates of low HbA1c, and Cox proportional hazards models were used to estimate the association of low HbA1c with cause-specific mortality. RESULTS Compared with participants with HbA1c in the normal range (5.0 to <5.7%), participants with low HbA1c were younger, less likely to smoke, had lower BMI, lower white cell count and fibrinogen levels, and lower prevalence of hypercholesterolemia and history of coronary heart disease. However, this group was more likely to have anemia and had a higher mean corpuscular volume. In adjusted Cox models with HbA1c of 5.0 to <5.7% as the reference group, HbA1c <5.0% was associated with a significantly increased risk of all-cause mortality (hazard ratio [HR]: 1.32, 95% CI: 1.13–1.55) and of cancer death (1.47, 95% CI: 1.16–1.84). We also noted nonsignificant trends toward increased risk of death from cardiovascular causes (1.27, 95% CI: 0.93–1.75) and respiratory causes (1.42, 95% CI: 0.78–2.56). There was a J-shaped association between HbA1c and risk of liver disease hospitalization. CONCLUSIONS No single cause of death appeared to drive the association between low HbA1c and total mortality. These results add to evidence that low HbA1c values may be a generalized marker of mortality risk in the general population. Hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) is the standard measure of glucose control in persons with diagnosed diabetes mellitus and is now recommended f Continue reading >>
Is A Lower A1c Level Better Or Worse?
It seems logical that the lower our blood glucose levels are the better we will be. Most of us have always assumed that lower blood glucose levels would protect us better from the complications of diabetes. In fact, during the past two decades several studies showed a linear relationship between blood glucose, as measured by A1C levels, and worsened health. But now, several recent A1C studies have shown a J-shaped relationships, in which at the lower end some bad things happen, at the center things are better, and at the top end things are terrible. While linear relationships are the rule in observational studies, U-shaped and J-shaped curves aren’t uncommon, and some authors lump both of these shapes as U-shaped. All of the studies relating A1C levels and ill health — the earlier ones and the recent ones alike — are observational. They study correlations, which aren’t proof, because other confounding factors that the researchers didn’t take into account could have been the problem. 5.4-5.6 Seems Safest The first of these newer studies showing that a very low A1C level is unhealthier than a higher one came out in the February 2015 issue of Diabetes Care. This analysis of the German National Health Interview and Examination Survey 1998 that studied about 6,300 people for about 12 years indicated that people with an A1C level of 5.4 to 5.6 had the lowest risk of excess mortality. Because this result puzzled me so much, I asked Dr. Richard K. Bernstein for his reaction. “These A1c measurements were made years ago in Germany,” he replied, “before international agreement on how it would be measured. The modern elution method would likely give considerably different results. It is even possible that several different methods were being used at different sites Continue reading >>
Is My Husband's A1c Too Low?
My husband has type 2 diabetes, and for years his endocrinologist urged him to keep his A1C under 7 percent. A few months ago we went on a low-carb diet, and my husband lost over 30 pounds. The doctor took him off a sulfonylurea, cut his metformin dose in half, and removed two blood pressure meds.When my husbands A1C test came back at 6.1 percent, I thought his doctor would be thrilled. But he said 6.1 was too low. Why? Faith Goldman, Ladera Ranch, California Although I dont know all the details, I wouldnt necessarily say that your husbands A1C is too low. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends that many adults with diabetes strive to keep A1C less than 7percent, but the goal can differ from person to person. Even tighter goals, such as less than 6.5percent, might be reasonable for people with relatively recently diagnosed diabetes and many years to live. A bit looser goal (such as less than 8percent) may be fine for those with advanced diabetes complications , other chronic illnesses, or shorter life expectancies. In all cases, hypoglycemia (low blood glucose, under 70mg/dl) should be avoided as much as possible. The ADA recommendations do not specify a low end of the target range for A1C, because it matters how people get to lower A1Cs. People without prediabetes or diabetes have A1Cs in the mid-5percent range or below. Many people with type2 diabetes can lower their A1C with healthy changes in their diet and exercise, or with bariatric surgery. It would be hard to say that these A1Cs are too low. When is someones A1C too low? It can be if its low due to frequent episodes of hypoglycemia, or if its lower than it needs to be to provide benefit but causing a lot of treatment burden (the expense of multiple medications, for example). It doesnt sound as if th Continue reading >>
The Normal A1c Level
You want to control your diabetes as much as possible. You wouldn’t be reading this if you didn’t. So you regularly check your A1C level. This is the best measurement of our blood glucose control that we have now. It tells us what percentage of our hemoglobin – the protein in our red blood cells that carry oxygen – has glucose sticking to it. The less glucose that remains in our bloodstream rather than going to work in the cells that need it the better we feel now and the better our health will continue to be. Less glucose in the bloodstream over time leads to lower A1C values. As we are able to control our diabetes better and better, the reasonable goal is to bring our A1C levels down to normal – the A1C level that people who don’t have diabetes have. But before we can even set that goal, we have to know what the target is. The trouble with setting that target is that different experts tell us that quite different A1C levels are “normal.” They tell us that different levels are normal – but I have never heard of actual studies of normal A1C levels among people without diabetes – until now. The major laboratories that test our levels often say that the normal range is 4.0 to 6.0. They base that range on an old standard chemistry text, Tietz Fundamentals of Clinical Chemistry. The Diabetes Control and Complications Trial or DCCT, one of the two largest and most important studies of people with diabetes, said that 6.0 was a normal level. But the other key study, the United Kingdom Prospective Diabetes Study or UKPDS, which compared conventional and intensive therapy in more than 5,000 newly diagnosed people with type 2 diabetes, said that 6.2 is the normal level. Those levels, while unsubstantiated, are close. But then comes along one of my heroes, Dr. Continue reading >>
- What Is a Normal Blood Sugar Level?
- A Novel Intervention Including Individualized Nutritional Recommendations Reduces Hemoglobin A1c Level, Medication Use, and Weight in Type 2 Diabetes
- A Novel Intervention Including Individualized Nutritional Recommendations Reduces Hemoglobin A1c Level, Medication Use, and Weight in Type 2 Diabetes
How To Lower Your A1c Levels: A Healthful Guide
An A1C blood test measures average blood sugar levels over the past 2 to 3 months. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommend the use of A1C tests to help diagnose cases of prediabetes, type 1, and type 2 diabetes. A1C tests are also used to monitor diabetes treatment plans. What is an A1C test? An A1C test measures how well the body is maintaining blood glucose levels. To do this, an A1C test averages the percentage of sugar-bound hemoglobin in a blood sample. When glucose enters the blood, it binds to a red blood cell protein called hemoglobin. The higher blood glucose levels are, the more hemoglobin is bound. Red blood cells live for around 4 months, so A1C results reflect long-term blood glucose levels. A1C tests are done using blood obtained by a finger prick or blood draw. Physicians will usually repeat A1C tests before diagnosing diabetes. Initial A1C tests help physicians work out an individual's baseline A1C level for later comparison. How often A1C tests are required after diagnosis varies depending on the type of diabetes and management factors. Lowering A1C levels Many studies have shown that lowering A1C levels can help reduce the risk or intensity of diabetes complications. With type 1 diabetes, more controlled blood glucose levels are associated with reduced rates of disease progression. With type 2 diabetes, more controlled A1C levels have also been shown to reduce symptoms affecting the small arteries and nerves in the body. This influences eyesight and pain while decreasing complications. Long-term studies have also shown that early and intensive blood glucose control can reduce cardiovascular complications in people with type 1 or 2 diabetes. Even small changes in A1C levels can have big effects. The ADA recommend that maintaining fair control Continue reading >>
What Clinical Laboratorians Should Do In Response To Extremely Low Hemoglobin A1c Results
Extremely low hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) results below reference range are rare, and the causes and clinical implications associated with low HbA1c results are not well understood among clinical laboratorians. A case of extremely low HbA1c results was reported, in which liver cirrhosis, subacute hemorrhage and recent transfusion all contributed to the low result. This case illustrates when HbA1c should not be used as a clinically relevant diabetes marker. However, low or extremely low HbA1c (<5.0% or <4.0%) may occur in apparently healthy individuals. When this occurs, it is an independent risk factor associated with liver diseases, hospitalization, and all-cause mortality. From the clinical laboratory perspective, the clinical cause of extremely low HbA1c should be determined, and suggestions of different test utilization or increased health surveillance should be given to care providers. Continue reading >>