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I'm not a diabetic; why did my doctor do an HBA1C test?

When your blood sugar level rises too high, sugar sticks to cells. Once on a cell, sugar cannot be removed and is converted to a poison called sorbitol that destroys the cell to damage arteries and cause heart attacks. HemoglobinA1C (HBA1C) measures how much sugar is attached to cell membranes. A study in the Archives of Internal Medicine (Volume 16, 2005) shows that an HBA1C level below 4.6 percent means you are at very low risk for a heart attack. However, each one-percent increase raises the risk for a heart attack nearly 2.5 times. So people who have HBA1Cs above 4.6 are at increased risk for heart attacks, even if they are not diabetic.

More than 40 percent of Americans die of heart attacks and other blood vessel damaging diseases and 35 percent ultimately become diabetic. That means that all people who have HBA1Cs above 5 should consider losing excess weight by eating less and exercising more, avoiding smoking, and going on a diet that limits refined carbohydrates (foods made from flour or with added sugars), saturated fats (meat and chicken) and partially hydrogenated oils. If your HBA1C is above 6, your doctor may prescribe diabetic medications, even if he or she does not call you as a diabetic. See my report on insulin resistance

June 15, 2006

May 19th, 2013
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About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
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