Albumin is the most common protein found in serum, making up about 80% of the circulating blood plasma. It is replaced in the body approximately every 20-25 days. As with other proteins in the body, it is subject to glycation by excess sugar. Glycated albumin measurement monitors diabetes complications by showing damage to proteins over the previous 2-3 weeks. A comparison with total albumin provides a simple, stable index of glycation over the test period, and closes the information gap that now exists between daily blood glucose testing and glycated hemoglobin testing.
The recent explosion of research on glycated albumin as a marker for diabetes control has opened a new and deeper level of understanding of how the interactions of this key molecule affect the onset and course of this debilitating disease. Glycated albumin has been increasingly linked to a wide range of diabetes complications, including chronic kidney disease, cardiovascular disease, neuropathy and other conditions traceable to restricted capillary flow. And new research is demonstrating that glycated albumin is seen as a causative agent, not just as a factor that can be monitored.
A monthly test for Glycated Albumin could have a powerful impact to improve patient outcome and control the costs of diabetes. Glycated albumin testing is a measurement of a marker directly linked to several of the most serious complications of diabetes. It has been shown to be a better reflection of the efficacy of treatment than other tests. It has recently been shown to be an effective marker to screen for diabetes at an early stage. If GA testing can be brought into widespread general use, it has the potential to bring about real and significant improvements in diabetes care. Patients will be better able to monitor their condition and take better charge of their life choices. Doctors will be able to better predict the status of many of the most debilitating complications of diabetes. Clinics and public health agencies will have a tool that can screen for undiagnosed diabetes and prediabetes, in time to enact measures for prevention and early intervention for the affected individuals.
What is Glycated Albumin (GA)?
Glycated albumin is albumin that has been glycated (bound to sugar). Albumin is the most common type of protein found in blood (~80% of circulating proteins) and is replaced in the body about every 20-25 days. Excessive glycation of albumin causes irreversible damage to organs and their vasculature.
Why is Glycated Albumin (GA) important?
Glycated albumin measurements help monitor diabetes by showing damage to proteins over the previous 2-3 weeks. The comparison of glycated albumin to total albumin allows for the calculation of a glycation index over a monthly test period. Therefore, there is potential for glycated albumin to be used as the basis of a novel, rapid diabetes monitoring test.
What Is The Difference Between Glycated Albumin (GA) and Glycosylated Hemoglobin (HbA1c)?
The primary difference between glycated albumin and glycosylated hemoglobin is the life span of the albumin and the hemoglobin respectively. Since red blood cells live for a period of three to four months, hemoglobin glycation can only be measured as frequently as that three to four month time period. As mentioned above, glycated albumin lives for 20-25 days, allowing its measurement every three weeks to one month.
Why Is A Glycated Albumin Blood Test Important?
Plasma glycated albumin is better correlated to fasting plasma glucose than HbA1c, and it is a more sensitive indicator of short-term variations of glycemic control than HbA1c is during treatment of diabetic patients. Analyzing the serum albumin levels which have been glycated allows for the accurate measurement of glycemia. Moreover, glycated albumin plays a dual role in diabetes complications. It acts as an indicator or marker of intermediate glycation and as a causative agent of the damage of diabetes complications. Glycated albumin has been specifically implicated as a casual factor in atherosclerosis and kidney damage. It is also linked to diabetic nephropathy, diabetic retinopathy, and the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.