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Procedure, Benefits and Disadvantages of Glycohemoglobin Test

Submitted on March 27, 2012

A blood test used primarily to monitor blood sugar, in the glycohemoglobin test, blood glucose levels are checked. This test is commonly used to monitor the blood sugar of a diabetic and compare it with the figures from the past months.

With the help of the glycohemoglobin test, diabetes management plan of the diabetic can be assessed. If the plan is working, the sugar levels would have decreased and will remain decreased over a period of time.

Procedure to conduct Glycohemoglobin Test

This test involves a simple procedure and can be done using home testing kits or simply in a doctor’s clinic. The test results are usually available within minutes of taking the test. For most diabetic people, it is recommended that the glycohemoglobin test be taken three to four times a year. If there have been any changes in the diet or in the medication, the tests may be taken again to check the effectiveness of the changed diet and the medication.

An alternative to the test of glycohemoglobin, fructosamine test is usually used as a complementary test because it shows a different reflection on the control of diabetes. While the fructosamine test checks for blood sugar levels of the past three weeks, glycohemoglobin test checks for blood sugar levels of the past eight weeks.

Benefits of Test

There are several benefits of the glycohemoglobin test:

  • The test can reconfirm, the test results obtained by home testing or clinical testing. This verification is important to maintain the accuracy of the test results.
  • The efficacy of the management plan for diabetes can be tested using this particular test. If the techniques used to manage the blood sugar levels do not appear to be working, the physician may change the diet or medication.
  • A continued monitoring of the blood glucose levels using the glycohemoglobin test, can help predict the risk of developing complications.
  • Encouraging the patient. Good test results can show people the effectiveness of their decisions on diet, exercise and quitting smoking.

Disadvantages

There are certain disadvantages of the tests too.

  • Since the tests only measure the average blood glucose over a period of time, day to day monitoring cannot be done. Therefore the tests may have to be paired with other day to day monitoring techniques.
  • It is not always possible to make minute adjustments in the medication and diet based only on the glycohemoglobin test results. Patients need to take daily monitoring tests for a precise adjustment to be made.

Results

There are many factors that may cause the tests to give inaccurate results. Some of these factors are:

  • Diseases like anemia which affect the hemoglobin count of the body.
  • Kidney and liver ailments
  • Amount of vitamin E and C in the blood stream
  • Lipid profile
  • Pregnancy
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