Hemoglobin A1c (glycosylated)

Glycated hemoglobin (hemoglobin A1c, HbA1c, A1C, or Hb1c; sometimes also referred to as being Hb1c or HGBA1C) is a form of hemoglobin that is measured primarily to identify the three-month average plasma glucose concentration. The test is limited to a three-month average because the lifespan of a red blood cell is four months (120 days). But RBCs do not all undergo lysis at the same time, so HbA1C is taken as a limited measure of 3 months. It is formed in a non-enzymatic glycation pathway by hemoglobin’s exposure to plasma glucose. HbA1c is a measure of the beta-N-1-deoxy fructosyl component of hemoglobin.

The origin of the naming derives from Hemoglobin type A being separated on cation exchange chromatography. The first fraction to separate, probably considered to be pure Hemoglobin A, was designated HbA0 , the following fractions were designated HbA1a, HbA1b, and HbA1c, respective of their order of elution. There have subsequently been many more sub fractions as separation techniques have improved.

Normal levels of glucose produce a normal amount of glycated hemoglobin. As the average amount of plasma glucose increases, the fraction of glycated hemoglobin increases in a predictable way. This serves as a marker for average blood glucose levels over the previous three months before the measurement as this is the lifespan of red blood cells.

  • Sample of peripheral blood
  • We perform the test daily