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Understanding the significance of your Hemoglobin A1c (HgA1c)

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A1c

Do you understand the significance of your A1c measurement?

Whats the real deal with HgA1c?

 

It’s all about the process of glycation. Glucose is a reactive molecule, and that’s exactly why it can be used as a fuel source. However, it is also a “sticky” molecule. It will react with other molecules in your body and “stick” to them. This is known as glycation, and it happens to some degree even in “normal” people. When glucose is present in larger amounts, glycation is necessarily increased as well.

There is currently some debate over how much glycation is actually normal. This process is also seen in non-diabetics, but there is increasing evidence to suggest that glycation is detrimental to everyone. It seems to be a major factor in the inflammation and tissue damage that leads to what we know as the aging process. Remember, that the “normal” values for A1c are averages from people who are deemed “healthy”, but they are likely consuming large amounts of sugar in their so-called “normal” diet.

Doctors use an A1c number as a measure of average blood glucose levels during a 3 month time period (the life span of a red blood cell). It tells how much glucose has “stuck” to the hemoglobin in your red blood cells. It is an easy and convenient way to track the activity of glucose in your body.

As you can see, hemoglobin A1c is also an indicator for how much glucose has become “stuck” to other important molecules in your body, such as the proteins and lipids present in the blood vessel walls in your body. Glycation and the inflammation that follows are thought to be the major cause of complications in type 1 and type 2 diabetics.

Your A1c number is a measure of how much extra glucose has been around to provoke that damage and inflammation! It’s not just a number for your Endocrinologist to scold you about. It’s an important indicator of the state of your health!

It is vital to keep your A1c as low as possible!