Doctors can measure how much sugar has bound to proteins over a three to four month period using a glycated hemoglobin test. This test measures the amount of sugar that is attached to hemoglobin — a protein in red blood cells. Hemoglobin circulates in the blood for about three months, so by looking at the amount of sugars that have attached to hemoglobin, doctors have a good indication of how much sugar has bound to other proteins. This is an indication of your overall blood sugar control for that period of time. If the hemoglobin carries a lot of glucose, then there's a good chance that proteins in blood vessels have suffered some damage as well. On the other hand, hemoglobin without much bound sugar means that you had good blood sugar control and have a lower risk of tissue damage. Individuals with diabetes should have their hemoglobin screened several times a year to make sure their treatment plan is working.
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