Understanding glycated hemoglobin: an important diabetes indicator alongside fasting & postprandial blood sugar. What’s the normal range and how to improve high levels?
What is glycated hemoglobin?
Hemoglobin is a protein on the surface of red blood cells that carries oxygen throughout the body’s tissues and organs, and removes carbon dioxide. When glucose enters the bloodstream, it binds with hemoglobin, resulting in glycated hemoglobin (HbA1C).
Since the lifespan of a red blood cell is about 4 months, glycated hemoglobin can reflect blood sugar levels from the past 2-3 months. It is typically tested every three months and used alongside fasting and postprandial blood sugar tests for a comprehensive evaluation, rather than being relied on as the sole indicator of diabetes.
What is the normal range of glycated hemoglobin?
The normal range for glycated hemoglobin is typically between 4.0% to 5.6%. Values between 5.7% to 6.4% are considered high and indicate a risk of developing diabetes. Values higher than 6.5% confirm a diagnosis of diabetes.
How to improve and control high levels of glycated hemoglobin?
Diet: Reduce sugar, carbohydrate, and calorie intake, increase vegetable consumption, and follow a low-carbohydrate diet if necessary.
Exercise: Physical activity can improve insulin sensitivity and utilization. It is recommended to engage in 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week, coupled with weight training.
Weight loss: It is recommended to lose 7% of body weight within six months. Studies have shown that losing 5-10% of body weight can reduce the risk of developing diabetes by 58%.