Glycated (glycosylated) hemoglobin – what is it and what is the norm in men and women

1 13 - 21Glycated (glycated) hemoglobin is a biochemical blood index that can be used to determine the average amount of sugar in a subject, which helps diagnose diabetes mellitus.

An increased amount of sugar in the blood, even for a short time, leaves marks in the body by which it is possible to determine the average values ​​of sugar for up to three months.

Identical names are: glycohemoglobin, or HbA1c (A1c). This indicator is one of the clear signs indicating diabetes mellitus. Since glycated hemoglobin is formed from the place that the production left and then an excessive sugar load of ordinary hemoglobin occurred on it.

The cost of the analysis for glycated hemoglobin is 650 rubles. Plus we add the cost of blood sampling service 199 rubles.

What is glycohemoglobin?

One of the constituents of red blood cells, or erythrocytes, is the protein hemoglobin. It is responsible for the normal movement of oxygen to organs and tissues, and also removes carbon dioxide from the body.

In the case of sugar penetration through the erythrocyte membrane, its interaction with amino acids begins, as a result of which a reaction occurs, at the end of which a glycated hemoglobin protein appears.

Having the property of stability, while being inside the red cells, hemoglobin is a constant indicator (3-4 months). After four months of functioning, these proteins are deformed in the spleen.

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Together with them, glycated hemoglobin breaks down. Further, bilirubin, which is a product of the breakdown of hemoglobin, does not combine with glucose.

HbA1c levels are monitored in both healthy individuals and those with diabetes. In healthy people, it is monitored for prevention and early detection of diabetes, and in patients with blood sugar levels.

The passed analysis for glycated hemoglobin is quite accurate. The decoding of the result is the sugar level for the last 3 months as a percentage. These results help detect the early progression of diabetes, even before any symptoms appear.

Doctors use the HbA1c index as a marker that distinguishes people who have a chance of risk for the progression of complications in diabetes mellitus.

The dependence of the progression of complications on age is shown in the table below (Table 1):


Age at risk for complicationsAdolescence (%)Mature age (%)Old age (%)
No riskLess than 6,5Less than 7Less than 7,5
Chance of progression of glucose deficiency (hypoglycemia) due to diabetesLess than 7Less than 7Less than 8

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There are also three forms of glycohemoglobin:

  • HbA1c,
  • HbA1b,
  • HbA1a,

But in modern medicine, in many cases, it is HbA1c that is used, which is an indicator of the normal course of carbohydrate metabolism and exceeding the normal range, with a high concentration of glucose.

What are the normal levels of glycohemoglobin?

In decoding the test result, the indicator of glycated hemoglobin appears as a percentage. The boundaries of the norm range from 4 to 6%. At the normal range, there is a good carbohydrate metabolism and a low risk of diabetes progression.

Above 6,5%, the risk of diabetes increases.

If the glycohemoglobin limits are more than 7 percent, this indicates frequent increases in the amount of sugar, which indicates diabetes mellitus.

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Glycated hemoglobin, the norm for diabetes

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Norm for men

The normal range of fluctuations in men is recorded slightly more than in women. It all depends on the age of the subject.

Normal values ​​for men are discussed below (Table 2):


Ageto 30 yearsfrom 30 to 50 yearsMore than 50 years old
Normal glycated hemoglobin (%)4,5-5,55,5-6,5More 7

Men need to be tested regularly, especially after the age of forty.

Rapid weight gain can also indicate diabetes. When contacting a doctor in the early stages, therapy with a favorable outcome is used.

Norm for women

Normal glycated hemoglobin limits for women are slightly lower than those of males.

Their generally accepted norms are shown in the table below (Table 3):


AgeBefore 30 yearsFrom 30 50 years upOver 50 years
Normal glycated hemoglobin (%)4 – 55-7More 7

Every woman needs to observe the normal norms of glycated hemoglobin, since deviations from them may indicate pathological conditions:

  • Different degrees of diabetes,
  • Lack of iron in the blood
  • Kidney failure
  • Weak vessel walls
  • Consequences of surgical operations.

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If the 7% mark is exceeded, hypoglycemia may progress.

Norms for children

The limits of sugar limits, in childhood, correspond to adults, and are in the range from 4 to 6.

When registering diabetes at an early age, close monitoring of fluctuations in the boundaries of glycated hemoglobin is carried out.

In children with diabetes, the norm is around 6,5.

Norms in pregnant women

At the time of bearing a child, serious changes take place in the body of the expectant mother. The changes also apply to sugar indicators.

At the time of bearing a child, the norm is above the norm, but is not a pathological condition:

For young mothersFor pregnant women in the middle age categoryFor women carrying a child at a later age

Tracking normal marks in women carrying a child occurs once every one and a half months. This is done because the glycated hemoglobin count determines how the embryo grows. When you exit the norm, both the mother’s body and the unborn child suffer.

If the norm of glycohemoglobin is violated in a large direction, this means a large weight of the unborn child (more than 4 kilograms) and from the severity of future childbirth.

When the level fluctuates to a decrease in indicators, a low saturation of the body with iron is indicated, and a likely delay in the development of the unborn child. In such situations, it is recommended to consume more fresh vegetables and fruits, as well as to walk more often in the fresh air and give up negative habits.

All recommendations for diet and lifestyle prescription are prescribed by a qualified physician.

Norms for patients with diabetes

The analysis for glycated hemoglobin is given not only for diagnosing diabetes, but also for its further control. The main goals of testing in diabetes are to control glucose levels and adjust dosage of drugs. The indicator of the norm, in diabetes, fluctuates around 8 percent.

This level is maintained by the patient’s body, which gets used to such boundaries. The younger generation should aim for 6,5 percent to prevent complications.

The standards for people suffering from the disease are shown in the table below (Table 4):


Chance of weightsYoung peopleMiddle-aged peopleElderly people with a projected life expectancy of less than 5 years
Risk freeUntil 6,5%Until 7%Until 7,5%
Serious complications possibleUntil 7%Until 7,5%Until 8%

If the indicators are at the level of 8 percent, then this indicates that the therapy is not effective and requires immediate adjustment. If the 12 percent mark is reached, the patient needs urgent hospitalization.

A sharp decrease in the level of glycated hemoglobin is also dangerous. With such decreases, complications occur in the vessels of the eyes and kidneys. Normal levels of a decrease in glycohemoglobin are considered from one to one and a half percent per year.

What is fetal hemoglobin?

A form of hemoglobin, which is concentrated in large quantities in infants up to a month of life. Its main difference from the glycated hemoglobin of an adult is its high oxygen conductivity to tissues.

This type of hemoglobin can affect the final results. With an increase in blood oxygen saturation, oxidation processes accelerate, which leads to the breakdown of carbohydrates in a shorter time.

This affects the performance of the pancreas, the synthesis of insulin, and, as a result, the indicators of glycohemoglobin.

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Normal and glycated hemoglobin

What other factors influence deviations from the norm?

In addition to diabetes mellitus, deviations in glycated hemoglobin indicators are influenced by some conditions of the body.

Among them:

  • In patients who have had their spleen removed,
  • With a lack of iron in the body,
  • High rates of fetal hemoglobin in newborns.

These conditions of the body over time themselves come to normal.

In the case of recording low levels of glycated hemoglobin, the following factors may also be involved:

  • Low saturation with erythrocytes (anemia),
  • Bleeding resulting in decreased protein levels
  • perelivanii krovi - 33With blood transfusion, a decrease in glycated hemoglobin may occur,
  • Decrease in blood glucose concentration,
  • Excessive use of sugar-lowering pills
  • Diseases of the genetic level,
  • Great physical activity,
  • Adrenal insufficiency
  • Low carbohydrate diet.

Also, with glycohemoglobin levels less than 4 percent, symptoms of hypoglycemia may be recorded. The reason for this may be a pancreatic tumor.

Symptoms of high glycated hemoglobin

Suspicions of increased or too low levels of glycated hemoglobin are determined by the following symptoms:

  • Constant thirst
  • Fatigue, low endurance to physical activity,
  • The decline in immunity
  • Constant urge to urinate
  • Fast weight gain,
  • Visual impairment.

Any of the above symptoms will prompt the doctor to think about a blood test, with suspicion of changes in the normal parameters of glycohemoglobin.

How to restore normal glycohemoglobin boundaries?

In case of deviations in the test results from the norm, you should first seek the advice of a doctor.

The main recommendations for normalizing glycated hemoglobin levels are as follows:

Proper nutrition. Fresh fruits and vegetables should be included in the diet. The use of bananas and legumes is especially recommended. For calcium and vitamin D fortification, you need to consume milk, kefir, yogurt and low-fat cheese. Oily fish (salmon, mackerel, etc.) and various types of nuts are also recommended. These foods promote more insulin production.

Doctors advise to consume half a teaspoon of cinnamon a day. And also exclude products that affect the increase in sugar – fatty and high-calorie foods, confectionery.

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A simple rule applies: the more activity, the closer the level of glycated hemoglobin to normal.

Sports activities. Up to thirty minutes a day is recommended to be allocated for physical exercise.

This is effective because the work of the heart improves, weight decreases, which leads to a decrease in glycohemoglobin.

Avoiding stress. Emotional stress, nervous disorders and anxiety lead to an increase in glycated hemoglobin levels.

They have a bad effect on the work of the heart, which leads to an increase in performance. Negative factors and too strong emotional impressions should be avoided.

How to control the level of glycohemoglobin yourself?

Diabetes sufferers need to monitor their own blood sugar levels. Results can indicate low, normal, or high readings, determine how effective your insulin dosage is, and aid in dose adjustments.

Determine the glucose level at home using a glucometer device. Both the attending physician and the consultant in the pharmacy can choose a convenient model. Blood glucose meters are simple and easy to use.

There are certain rules for self-control of sugar:

  • The sampling site must be carefully treated with an antiseptic, in order to avoid the ingress of microbes,
  • There is manual or automatic blood sampling, it all depends on the chosen model,
  • The storage of the device should be in accordance with the instructions. Without damage,
  • A drop of the obtained blood is applied to the indicator strip,
  • The results appear on the screen after 5-10 seconds.

Your healthcare provider will set how often your home glucose is measured. It depends on the type of diabetes. In the first type of diabetes, the measurement is carried out up to 4 times a day, and in the second type – 2 times.

The ratio of the level of glycated hemoglobin and glucose.

How to properly prepare for the analysis?

You can hand it over regardless of the time of day. But the recommendations for testing are blood sampling in the morning. It does not require any complicated preparations.

The only condition is that you do not need to load yourself physically before taking the analysis.

There is a list of recommendations for taking the analysis by time frame:

  • For healthy people, the test should take place once every three years,
  • Blood is donated annually with a previous result of 5,8 to 6,5,
  • Every six months – with a 7 percent result,
  • If glycated hemoglobin is poorly controlled, then the indication for delivery is once a trimester.

The results are not affected in any way by:

  • upotreblenie spirtnyh napitkov - 37Meals,
  • Drinking alcohol,
  • Previous stress loads
  • The presence of a cold or viral illness at the time of delivery.

Pros and cons of research

Understanding the importance of the study of glycohemoglobin, it is necessary to definitely know the positive and negative aspects of the analysis.

The benefits of this study include:

  • You can spend at any time of the day,
  • Fast research time,
  • Identifying accurate metrics for early stage diabetes
  • Emotional stress, colds, diet deviations and medication – do not affect the final results of the study,
  • Glucose analysis, over the past 90 days, makes it possible to monitor how the patient follows the diet and takes medication.

The main disadvantages of the study of glycated hemoglobin are as follows:

  • issledovanie glikogemoglobina - 39The study of glycohemoglobin is not possible in every laboratory,
  • High cost of examination,
  • The exact indicators can be influenced by reasons such as hormonal abnormalities,
  • Foods with a high concentration of vitamins C and E affect the variance in the results,
  • Anemia and hemoglobinopathy (a violation of the structure of the hemoglobin protein, leading to deviations in the function of oxygen movement through the body) also change the results.

Where does blood come from for analysis?

By donating biological material for glycated hemoglobin, the collection can be made not only from a finger, but also from a vein. The place from which the blood collection will be made is determined depending on the analyzer. The next day, usually, you can pick up the result.

False results can be influenced by:

  • The use of complexes of vitamins E and C,
  • The presence of thyroid pathologies,
  • Anemia.

Specialist forecast

With regular preventive tests, it is possible to suspect the disease in advance in the early stages and, with effective treatment, cure it. People with glycated hemoglobin disorders need to closely monitor their glucose levels.

In the absence of therapy, hyperglycemia (high blood glucose levels) and hypoglycemia (low levels) are possible.

With high glucose levels, diabetes mellitus is the most common complication, which requires daily monitoring in the future. Immunity disorders, failure of blood circulation in tissues and purulent inflammatory processes in the body are possible.

In the case of low glucose levels, without effective treatment, heartbeat disorders, mental disorders, and constant hunger occur. The most dangerous burdens are loss of consciousness and coma, which can be fatal.

If symptoms or abnormalities of glycohemoglobin are detected in the test results, you should immediately seek an examination from a qualified doctor.

Do not self-medicate and be healthy!

Tatyana Jakowenko

Editor-in-chief of the Detonic online magazine, cardiologist Yakovenko-Plahotnaya Tatyana. Author of more than 950 scientific articles, including in foreign medical journals. He has been working as a cardiologist in a clinical hospital for over 12 years. He owns modern methods of diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular diseases and implements them in his professional activities. For example, it uses methods of resuscitation of the heart, decoding of ECG, functional tests, cyclic ergometry and knows echocardiography very well.

For 10 years, she has been an active participant in numerous medical symposia and workshops for doctors - families, therapists and cardiologists. He has many publications on a healthy lifestyle, diagnosis and treatment of heart and vascular diseases.

He regularly monitors new publications of European and American cardiology journals, writes scientific articles, prepares reports at scientific conferences and participates in European cardiology congresses.