What is HbA1c?
HbA1c is a measurement that provides an indication of your average blood glucose level over the previous 10 weeks. Red blood cells contain haemoglobin (Hb), a protein that carries oxygen to our cells. Glucose attaches to Hb and “glycates” the Hb protein. Glycate Hb (as a percentage of Hb) is referred to as HbA1c. A blood test for HbA1c can be performed at any time in relation to food intake, i.e it does not require you to be fasted.
More recently, the units of HbA1c have changed from percent to mmol/mol (6.5% = 48 mmol/mol). The ideal hbA1c target varies for individual patients, but younger patients and those with a relatively recent history of diabetes (<5yrs) should aim to achieve HbA1c levels below 7% (or ideally <6.5%). Older patients and those with longer-duration diabetes may agree a target of HbA1c < 7.5%.