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Haemoglobin (glycated) – HbA1C

If you are at risk of diabetes or have diabetes, your healthcare professional will likely recommend the glycated haemoglobin (HbA1C) test.

What is an HbA1C test?

The HbA1C test measures the average blood sugar level within the last 2 – 3 months. Haemoglobin is a blood protein that transports oxygen to the tissues in the body. When the sugar level in the blood is high, glucose binds with haemoglobin to form glycated haemoglobin. The high the blood sugar level, the higher the glycated haemoglobin in the blood.

Why is an HbA1C blood test necessary?

HbA1C blood test checks the blood sugar level over time and helps monitor diabetes. It also assesses how well you are responding to diabetes medication. This test can also be a screening tool because it measures the average blood sugar within a long period rather than the blood sugar level at one time.  

Controlling HbA1C can reduce the risk of complications resulting from diabetes.

Normal HbA1C levels

The HbA1C result can be in percentage or mmol/mol, but mmol/mol is the most common unit for expressing the HbA1C result.

Depending on your situation, your healthcare provider will discuss your target level. Generally, if you have diabetes, the deal level is below 48mmol/mol (6.5%), but this target may be unrealistic for certain people.

Your target HbA1C level may change over time depending on your blood sugar control and present complications.

The following are HbA1C ranges.

HbA1C mmol/mol %
Normal Below 42 Below 6
Pre-diabetes 42 – 47 6 – 6.4
Diabetes Above 47 Above 6.4

Does HbA1C confirm diabetes?

An HbA1C level of 48mmol/mol (6.5%) is the threshold for diagnosing diabetes. However, having a lesser value doesn’t automatically exclude diabetes diagnosis, and an elevated HbA1C level doesn’t always indicate diabetes. Your healthcare professional may recommend a fasting plasma glucose concentration to confirm your diabetes diagnosis.

Your HbA1C may give a falsely lowered value if the following conditions occur.

A falsely raised HbA1C may be reported in the following conditions.

Diabetes also causes these symptoms. However, if diabetes isn’t the cause repeating the test is necessary.

Limitations of the HbA1C test

The HbA1C test isn’t appropriate for diagnosing diabetes in

If you think you have diabetes, ensure you consult your doctor to investigate your symptoms and recommend the right tests.

How often should I check HbA1C?

If you have diabetes, healthcare professionals recommend an HbA1C test at least once in six months. More frequent testing is necessary in the following cases.

If you do not have diabetes or other health conditions and are between ages 40 – 74, you will get the HbA1C test during your routine check. If you have pre-diabetes or are at risk of diabetes, your doctor will likely advise you to have more frequent HbA1C tests.

What if the HbA1C level is high?

If your HbA1C level is high, your blood sugar levels may have been consistently high over the last few months. A higher HbA1C increases your risk of diabetes complications such as

You can reduce your risks of these conditions by maintaining a good sugar level through weight loss, exercise and a healthy diet.

Can HbA1C return to the normal range?

A successful reversal of type 2 diabetes is known as going into remission. You can achieve this by bringing your blood sugar level to a normal level below the diabetes range. People with diabetes can go into remission by losing substantial weight if they are overweight.

Evidence to prove that remission is permanent is insufficient, and it isn’t possible to bring type 1 diabetes into remission, but research is ongoing to make this possible in the future.

Ways to reduce HbA1C

You can take several steps to help maintain your HbA1C in the normal range. Usually, a combination of techniques gives faster results than one.

Common options include;

Private Blood Tests London offers glycated haemoglobin tests in the UK. You can visit our clinic today at Suite E, 117a Harley St, Marylebone, London W1G 6AT or call 02071830244 for your HbA1C test.