Glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c) is currently the gold standard for glucose monitoring in patients with diabetes, and has been increasingly adopted as a criteria for diabetes diagnosis. However, conditions that determine alterations in haemoglobin metabolism can interfere with the reliability of HbA1c measurements.
Glycated albumin and fructosamine (total glycated serum proteins) are alternative markers of glycaemia, which have been recognised to provide additional information to HbA1c or to provide a reliable measure when HbA1c is observed not to be dependable. Additionally, while HbA1c monitors the exposure to circulating glycaemia in the previous 3 months, glycated albumin and fructosamine represent exposure for a shorter period, which may be beneficial to monitor rapid metabolic alterations or changes in diabetes treatment.
The present review further discusses the relative value of HbA1c, glycated albumin, and fructosamine, in prediabetes and diabetes diagnosis, evaluation of glucose variability, and complications risk prediction. Also, a novel molecular role for albumin is presented by which glycated albumin contributes to glucose intolerance development and thus to progression to diabetes, besides the role of glycated albumin as a pro-atherogenic factor.