HbA1c - Hemoglobin (Hb) A1C test
Feb 20 2014 by
Ray Sahelian, M.D.

Many diabetics check their blood sugar at home each day, but this does not give an indication of the long term sugar level in the body. It's important for a doctor to monitor a person's long-term control of diabetes. The HbA1c test, also called a glycated hemoglobin, gives doctors a view of the patient's blood sugar levels over the prior 120 days -- the approximate lifespan of a red blood cell. Results of an HbA1c level can help a doctor understand if a prescribed diabetes treatment plan is working as intended. Many doctors do this HbA1c test once or twice a year.

The hemoglobin (Hb) A1C test is a measure of long-term glucose control. This test could help identify many of the estimated millions of people in the United States who have diabetes but don't know it. The current blood sugar screening and diagnostic tests are accurate only if patients fast for at least 10 hours before the test. Therefore, the current blood sugar tests might miss a significant portion of people who have diabetes or who are at high risk for developing the disease since glucose levels will vary depending on diet and exercise regimen for several days leading up to the blood draw. The Hb A1C test should be used as a front-line method for identifying patients with diabetes, especially for those at high risk for the disease. Since the test does not require fasting and isn't affected by short-term changes in diet and exercise, the Hb A1C test has significant advantages to current testing methods. Individuals who score at least 6% on an Hb A1C test may have or be at risk for diabetes and should be tracked with additional glucose or Hb A1C tests. Those who score between 6.5% or above, if confirmed, should be considered to have diabetes.

Better test than one time blood sugar test
A test that shows blood sugar levels over a span of several weeks is not only the best way to diagnose diabetes but also may be better at identifying who is at risk of getting diabetes than standard blood sugar testsy .In a study involving more than 11,000 people with no history of diabetes, the hemoglobin A1c test more accurately identified people who later developed diabetes than the glucose fasting test, which measures blood sugar levels at one point in time. New England Journal of Medicine, March 2010.

HbA1c monitor
The A1cNow monitor Metrika, a portable hemoglobin A1c tester intended for at-home use, does not provide accurate or consistent results in children with type 1 diabetes, compared with a point-of-care device. Dr. Larry Fox of Nemours Children's Clinic, Jacksonville, Florida says the routine use of the A1cNow in children with type 1 diabetes cannot be recommended. DCA2000 Analyzer ( Bayer ) appears to be more accurate. The DCA2000 gives a reading in about 6 minutes. The A1cNow produces results in about 8 minutes. Diabetes Care 2007.

HbA1c level in pregnancy
In women with diabetes, increasing hemoglobin A1c ( HbA1c ) levels in early pregnancy are associated with increasing risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes.

Ann Nutr Metab. 2013. Effects of freeze-dried strawberry supplementation on metabolic biomarkers of atherosclerosis in subjects with type 2 diabetes: a randomized double-blind controlled trial. To our knowledge there has been no study investigating the impact of freeze-dried strawberry (FDS) supplementation on metabolic biomarkers of atherosclerosis in subjects with type 2 diabetes (T2D). This study was carried out to determine the effects of FDS supplementation on glycemic control, biomarkers of oxidative stress, inflammation and serum total antioxidant status in subjects with T2D compared to matched control subjects. Thirty-six subjects with T2D (23 females; mean body mass index 27.90 3.7; mean age 51.57 10 years) were randomly divided into two groups. The treatment group consumed 2 cups of FDS beverage (50 g of FDS is equivalent to 500 g of fresh strawberries) or macronutrient matched placebo powder with strawberry flavor daily for 6 weeks in a randomized double-blind controlled trial. Anthropometric measurements, dietary intakes, hemoglobin (Hb)A1c, antioxidant status, C-reactive protein and malondialdehyde (MDA) levels were assessed at baseline and 6 weeks post-intervention. FDS supplementation significantly decreased C-reactive protein levels as a biomarker of inflammation and lipid peroxidation in the form of MDA (3.36 vs. 2.7 nmol/ml, p < 0.05) at 6 weeks compared to the baseline. Moreover, supplementation led to a decreasing trend in HbA1c and significant increase in total antioxidant status in the FDS group compared to the placebo group. No significant changes were observed in serum glucose concentrations and anthropometric indices. FDS improved glycemic control and antioxidant status, and reduced lipid peroxidation and inflammatory response in patients with T2D. Supplementation with freeze-dried berry products, as natural sources of antioxidants with low glycemic index, could be considered as an adjunctive therapy in ameliorating metabolic complications of T2D.