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November 20, 2006

A1c (Glycohemoglobin, HgbA1c), Complications

Question from Vermont, USA:

My daughters last A1c was 12.6. She is very uncontrolled and is also a smoker. Recently, I found out that she is also using drugs. What are the effects of the high A1c on her body? I'm extremely concerned about what kind damage this is doing to her body.

Answer:

Hyperglycemia does the same kind of damage that nicotine, hypertension, cholesterol does: damages the linings of the blood vessels. The small blood vessels damaged in the eyes (retinopathy) can lead to blindness, in the kidneys (nephropathy) to kidney failure, dialysis, transplantation need and hypertension, in the nervous system (neuropathy) and in the large blood vessels, heart attack and stroke as well as hypertension (macrovascular disease). Drug use and smoking would be addictive and very risky. You may want to talk to her physician and nurse to be sure that they are aware of these problems and perhaps also to see what you can do to assist if she is willing to consider changing and reducing these enormous risks.

SB