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So what is the deal with HbA1c and why is it always high wehn I go to the doctor and have it done?  I always eat healthy a week before the lab work and it still runs high.  I want to know how it comes out like that all the time.  What does it mean anyway?


The doctor should have explained to you about the reason HbA1c is drawn and its implications.  First of all, you need to follow your diabetic diet every day, not a week before your blood draw.  The A1c measures your blood glucose for over the last 3 months and it is a a measurement of an average of all the blood sugars in that time.  So when you are compliant with the diet just one week before your test and that time only, you are not going to fool the test.  So, how does it know how much sugar you ate the past three months?  Red blood cells contain what is called hemoglobin.  It is a protein that glucose and other types of sugars attach to in the bloodstream.  Hemoglobin carries oxygen to the cells (which gives blood its bright red color). Once you eat sugar, glucose goes into your bloodstream and floats around until it gets picked up by the hemoglobin in the red blood cells. The glucose accumulates or glycates onto the hemoglobin.  The more there is of glucose, the more it gets glycated.  When the A1c is measured, it measures how much of the hemoglobin has been gycated.  If you have a high number in your A1c result, it's because you have consumed a lot of glucose in the last three months.  Since red blood cells die off every 3 months, that is why the test is done in that frequency. 

Are there any questions about how the A1c works and why it is important to watch this lab value?  Do you have any success stories pertaining to reducing A1c levels?