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Hemoglobin A1C is easily measured by a simple in-office test and is an effective indicator of long-term average blood sugar levels in pre-diabetic or diabetic patients.

A recent study shows that uncontrolled blood glucose levels over time, measured by Hemoglobin A1C, is associated with an increased incidence of depressive symptoms. The study conducted at Sheba Medical Center in Tel Hashomer, Israel included 837 participants and examined the relationship of characteristics of long-term type 2 diabetes with cognitive decline. The average age of patients was 72.74 years.

The study showed that variability in blood sugar control as measured by Hemoglobin A1C was associated with more depressive symptoms among elderly patients with type 2 diabetes. The researchers commented that good and steady glycemic control may be associated with prevention of depressive symptoms in elderly people with type 2 diabetes.

According to the researchers, depression and diabetes are both highly prevalent in the elderly and the risk for depression is doubled in the presence of diabetes. The variability or fluctuation, but not the average, of HbA1c measurements was significantly associated with the number of depressive symptoms reported. This shows that it is changing and uncontrolled blood sugar levels, and not the average level, low or high, that was associated with depression.

Finally, the more Hemoglobin A1C levels were found to fluctuate in these patients, the more depressive symptoms were reported. The statistics from this study also showed that it was that lack of blood sugar control that lead to the depressive symptoms, and not depression leading to the lack of blood sugar control.

If you are uncertain about how well your body controls blood sugar levels, or if you are pre-diabetic, your doctor may want to test your Hemoglobin A1C levels. For more information or to make an appointment, please call our office at 949-600-5100.

Allan Sosin, M.D.

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