Glycosylated Hemoglobin Test (Hemoglobin A1c)
Hemoglobin is the substance inside red blood cells that carries oxygen to the cells
of the body. Glucose (a type of sugar) molecules in the blood
normally become stuck to hemoglobin molecules - this means the hemoglobin has become
glycosylated (also referred to as hemoglobin A1c, or HbA1c). As a person's blood sugar
becomes higher, more of the person's hemoglobin becomes glycosylated. The glucose
remains attached to the hemoglobin for the life of the red blood cell, or about 2
to 3 months.
A blood test can measure the amount of glycosylated hemoglobin in the blood. The
glycosylated hemoglobin test shows what a person's average blood glucose level was
for the 2 to 3 months before the test. This can help determine how well a person's
diabetes is being controlled over time.