Biomarker Series: Avoiding Diabetes with Glucose and HbA1c

credit: Instagram @laura_lienhoeft

Diabetes. In America, nearly 80 people a day will sit down with their doctors and be told that they have this life-long and life-threatening disease. Like many diseases, however, it doesn’t happen overnight. No one goes to sleep perfectly healthy and wakes up the next morning with diabetes. You develop it from gradual changes in your body due to diet and lifestyle. Fortunately, those changes can be detected before permanent effects settle in – years before.

Preventing Diabetes with Blood Testing

You can preventatively attack diabetes from two angles:

  1. Testing for glucose, and
  2. Testing hemoglobin A1c

You’ve probably had your own blood tested for glucose levels at one point or another in your life. Glucose is a type of sugar that comes from carbohydrates and is the main source of energy in the body.

Diabetes, by definition, is a disorder of high blood sugar levels, so it’s pretty clear how a blood sugar test can offer an idea of where you stand. By knowing your blood sugar levels and consulting with a physician or dietitian, you can take the necessary steps to prevent future health complications.

So, glucose is pretty straight-forward.

How about that HbA1c guy? You most likely won’t find this test at your local doctor’s office unless you’re diabetic; it’s mostly used to monitor how people with the disease are progressing. However, this test gives a good picture of your blood sugar levels over the past three months. This is because, on average, blood cells survive in the body for 8-12 weeks before they are replaced. When glucose is present in the blood, it combines with hemoglobin (the molecule responsible for transporting oxygen to all the cells in your body) and makes HbA1c. The more glucose, the more HbA1c is formed. At any given time, the amount of HbA1c represents and average over the span of one life cycle for a blood cell. This can be a more reliable reading then blood sugar levels at one point in time and can help people monitor their progress with subsequent testing.

Our Medical Director Doctor Murdoc Khaleghi talks about the importance of these two tests below, which are both available in the WellnessFX Baseline package.

Check out the 49-second video here:

The posts on this blog are for information only, and are not intended to substitute for a doctor-patient or other healthcare professional-patient relationship nor do they constitute medical or healthcare advice of any kind. Any information in these posts should not be acted upon without consideration of primary source material and professional input from one's own healthcare professionals.