Hemoglobin A1c

Written by: Solaris Diagnostics

Glycated or glycosylated hemoglobin is an assay performed in order to diagnose and monitor treatment for type one and type two diabetes. Most commonly referred to as hemoglobin A1c, this assay was initially isolated from other types of hemoglobin in 1958 via the use of a chromatographic column. However, the correlation between diabetes mellitus and hemoglobin A1c was not discovered until about ten years later.

The hemoglobin-carrying component of blood, the red blood cell, has an average life-span of three months. In a patient with uncontrolled diabetes, glucose can build up in the blood stream and bind to hemoglobin, becoming glycated. The higher the glycated hemoglobin, the higher the patient’s average blood sugar. Glycated hemoglobin is important because it provides medical health professionals with a three-month average of a patient’s blood glucose level.

Monitoring hemoglobin A1c and controlling daily blood sugar highs and lows can help to manage diabetes and control symptoms that result from high and low blood sugars. Consistent elevations in blood sugar can lead to issues such as coronary disease, heart attack, stroke, heart failure, kidney failure, vision loss, neuropathy, and poor wound healing. The American College of Endocrinology recommends an A1c of <6.5%, which correlates to an average daily blood sugar of <=140. A person without diabetes mellitus should have an A1c in the 4%-6% range, or
an average daily sugar between 68-126.

At Solaris Diagnostics, hemoglobin A1c is measured utilizing high-performance liquid chromatography, a gold standard technology for measuring A1C testing. This test method requires whole blood samples collected in EDTA tubes and takes approximately 1.6 minutes. During analysis, hemoglobin in the patient sample will bind to negatively charged resin inside an analytical cartridge. A buffer gradient is then pumped through the analytical cartridge which aids in separating out the several different types of hemoglobin in the sample, which all have slightly different charges. This allows us to isolate the glycated hemoglobin in the sample and determine the patient’s average blood sugar.

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