Difference Between Glucose and A1C (With Table)

There is a commendable debate between Glucose and A1c to be the same, but there is no denying that they have differences that push them into separate zones despite their common grounds. When compared between these two terms, glucose is often referred to as blood sugar, which takes the same impacts and can be equally distinguished against A1c. Glucose and A1c are measured in different ways and depend on each other on various levels. They are both checked in the body in terms of diabetes.

Glucose vs A1C

The difference between Glucose and A1c is that the percentage of them differs when checked in the hemoglobin level of the body. When glucose is checked in the body, it shows how much sugar is there in the body. However, A1c refers to checking for diabetes at the initial stage, which is the path to checking sugar levels over a period of time. They are both efficient markers of determining the blood sugar levels in the body, which gives a heads up for the level to be maintained to stay healthy.

Glucose is checked in the body as it is important to know if the blood sugar in the body is too high, which causes hyperglycemia, or too low, which causes hypoglycemia, to avail the best treatment and care in time. Various factors affect or trigger the body’s glucose level, like certain food items or beverage intake. It is mostly recommended that exercise and meditation often help in bringing the sugar level down in the body before it takes any major hit or changes. Glucose level is too impacted due to stress or certain illness.

A1c is also referred to as hemoglobin A1c or Hba1c, which is taken as a test to determine diabetes in the early stages of the diagnosis. Unlike glucose, A1c is not influenced or affected every day by diet, stress, or exercise. Hence, it is quite helpful to assume that A1c will give a good overview of a person’s diabetes level that can be managed over a period of time. When A1c is measured, it is usually done with blood in a lab, and we are recommended to do it twice a year. The A1c is measured in terms of percentage.

Comparison Table Between Glucose and A1C

Parameters of Comparison Glucose A1C 
Definition When glucose is tested, it measures the milligrams of sugar per deciliter of blood in the body. When A1c is tested in hemoglobin, it measures the percentage of glucose that must be there in the red blood cells of a person’s blood. 
GlucometerGlucose is checked in the body by using a blood sugar meter or glucometer. In terms of checking A1c, a blood sugar meter cannot be used. 
Fasting Before TestRecommended fasting overnight before the test. There is no need for fasting for the A1c test. 
Measurement Unit of Measurement for glucose is mg/dL. The unit of measurement for A1c is a percentage. 
Affects Factors that can affect the Glucose test or glucose concentration in a person’s blood are medications, posture, acute stress, etc. Factors that can affect the A1c test are kidney disease, liver disease, any recent blood loss. 

What is Glucose?

Glucose is associated with a blood sugar test that helps measure glucose concentration in the bloodstream. The choices of blood sugar are not limited to only blood as glucose can be measured even in plasma or serum. However, for glucose tests, blood plasma is mostly recommended since the nature of the specimen influences the glucose concentration in the bloodstream. The glucose meter measures the glucose in your blood plasma and shows its level in the person’s body.

When it comes to a normal glucose test, it is done by drawing the required blood plasma, and it is recommended to fast overnight. This issue makes the glucometer effective enough to work properly. Despite its importance, too much high glucose in the blood can cause many health problems that can grow into bigger issues if not treated properly. When there is excess glucose in the blood, it is referred to as Hyperglycemia, which can damage the blood vessels that connect to important organs of the body.

Some of the health problems that can happen due to hyperglycemia are increased risk of heart issues like stroke, kidney problems, besides vision disability. During this period, neurological problems also became a problem. However, apart from the normal glucose test that includes fasting, science has developed into having glucose tests without fasting at all. Random plasma glucose or RPG is one such glucose test.

What is A1C?

A1c, besides hemoglobin A1c, is also referred to as glycosylated hemoglobin test and is a process of measuring the percentage of glucose in the blood that is collided with the hemoglobin in the red blood cells of the body. Typically, the A1c test shows or reflects the average blood sugar and its level over a small period, like 2-3 months. Though it is mentioned that the rising A1c doesn’t necessarily show diabetes always and rather shows a person’s excessive eating of sugar, starch content, or alcohol.

Usually, an A1c test is conducted for diagnosing pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes. This test doesn’t require overnight fasting or fasting of any kind and can be given at any point in time as an overall blood screening. Hemoglobin is a protein found in the red blood cells of the body. As per scientific facts, it is due to hemoglobin that our blood is red, and its main role is to carry oxygen to all parts of the body.

When there is sugar in the blood, it is called glucose. When glucose develops in the blood of a human being, it usually binds with the hemoglobin present in the red blood cells. This A1c measures the amount of glucose binding to the hemoglobin of the body. Some complications associated with a high level of A1c in the blood are heart diseases, nerve and kidney damage, and damage of many blood vessels of the body.

Main Differences Between Glucose and A1C

  1. A1c test is known to measure the percentage of sugar in the blood that is binding to the red blood cells, whereas the glucose test is known to measure the milligrams of glucose per deciliter of the blood of a person.
  2. Blood sugar meters or glucometers can’t check sugar for the A1c test, But they can do a glucose test.
  3. The normal glucose test requires overnight fasting before the test, whereas the hemoglobin A1c test doesn’t require fasting and can be done anytime.
  4. In terms of the A1c test, some blood from the body is sent to the main lab for assessing it, whereas, in the glucose test, a drop of blood is squeezed into a strip that is sent to the lab.
  5. A1c test measures in percentage (%), whereas the glucose test is measured in mg/dL.

Conclusion

Both the glucose test and the A1c test are performed by a doctor to diagnose the sugar content in the patient’s blood or simple diabetes. The A1c test measures the percentage of sugar bound to red blood cells in the blood, while the glucose test measures the concentration of glucose in the body in milligrams per deciliter of blood. Their differences make it easier to distinguish which to diagnose when as per the person’s serious health issues, even though they are both distinctly related to diabetes in the body. These tests require the necessary steps to be taken before any high risks, and the appropriate medications are taken immediately as an ongoing process. Diabetes cannot be overcome in a day or two, but it can be prevented with these tests.

References

  1. https://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/33/1/61.short
  2. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/193229680900300305
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