HBA1C is a glycosylated (“saccharified”) red blood pigment (hemoglobin). Elevated HBA1C levels are caused by too high glucose levels (glucose) in the blood over a longer period of time, and HBA1C is therefore referred to as so-called blood sugar memory.
The so-called HbA1c is a subform of adult hemoglobin (HbA). HbA1c values are used to determine the average sugar content in the blood of diabetics. Since it allows conclusions to be drawn about the blood sugar concentrations over a longer period of time, HbA1c is colloquially also called blood sugar memory. Read here how the HbA1c is formed, what values are normal and what they mean for a diabetic.
What is HbA1c and how is it formed?
Hemoglobin is the red blood dye and allows the transport of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the body. There are several types of hemoglobin, with normal hemoglobin in the adult being called HbA.
If a sugar particle in the blood binds to the hemoglobin, this is called glycation. Glycated, i.e. “saccharified” hemoglobin is given the addition 1(HbA1) in the naming. Most of these sugar accumulations are attached to a certain subunit of hemoglobin – this is expressed by the addition of c (HbA1c). If our blood sugar level is quite high, more sugar particles naturally bind to the hemoglobin; if the sugar level drops, the particles dissolve again.
However, a patient with diabetes has an elevated blood sugar level in the longer term. As a result, the bond between sugar and hemoglobin becomes firm and insoluble. It persists until the red blood cells are broken down at the end of their life. This is the case after about three months. The HbA1c value thus provides information on how high the sugar concentration was on average in the patient’s blood within the last few weeks.