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Blood Glucose is sugar in your blood. 

HbA1c is something in your blood that helps to control the amount of sugar.

This page tells you how we use tests for Blood Glucose and HbA1c to help manage the disease.

What we do

HbA1c tests

HbA1c tests are used by your clinic or family doctor (GP) to give a picture of your blood glucose for the previous two or three months.

Everyone should have their HbA1c tested at least once per year, and many have the test twice a year. As the HbA1c test gives a gauge of your control over the past 2 – 3 months there is no point testing it more often than this.

HbA1c targets

Different groups of people with diabetes will have different target levels. Reaching target HbA1c can be difficult for some people. For help with reducing your HbA1c contact your Practice Nurse or Diabetes Specialist Nurse.

For most people with diabetes, the HbA1c target is below 6.5 per cent, since evidence shows that this can reduce the risk of developing diabetic complications, such as nerve damage, eye disease, kidney disease and heart disease.

Individuals at risk of severe hypoglycaemia should aim for an HbA1c of less than 7.5 per cent. However, any reduction in HbA1c levels (and therefore, any improvement in control), is still considered to have beneficial effects on the onset and progression of complications.

HbA1c results

HbA1c results are currently given as a percentage. However, the way in which HbA1c results are reported in the UK is changing. From 31 May 2011, HbA1c will be given in millimoles per mol (mmol/mol) instead of as a percentage (%).

This new way of reporting results will just be a different way of expressing the same thing. For example, the equivalent of the HbA1c target of 6.5 per cent will be 48 mmol/mol. The fact that the number is higher does not mean there is more glucose in your blood.

Generally the following targets are accepted as good control but your targets may be different to this and should be agreed with your diabetes team. Your targets may also change over time.

Good control May need improvement Needs improvement
6.5% 6.6 -7.5% Over 7.5%
48mmol/mol 49 -59 mmol/mol Over 60 mmol/mol

Contact us

Diabetes Centre
Royal Liverpool University Hospital
Prescot Street
Liverpool
L7 8XP

0151 706 2829