The HbA1c test (also called glycosylated haemoglobin level) is a laboratory blood test which measures your average blood glucose over the previous weeks and gives an indication of your longer-term blood glucose control. Most diabetes specialists and GPs have a lot of confidence in this test and will use it to help show people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes how they are going with their blood glucose management.
When the body processes sugar, glucose in the bloodstream naturally attaches to haemoglobin.  The amount of glucose that combines with this protein is directly proportional to the total amount of sugar that is in your system at that time.
Because red blood cells in the human body survive for 8-12 weeks before renewal, measuring glycated haemoglobin (or HbA1c) can be used to reflect average blood glucose levels over that duration, providing a useful longer-term gauge of blood glucose control.  If your blood sugar levels have been high in recent weeks, your HbA1c will also be greater. A major study, the UK Prospective Diabetes (UKPDS) Study* published in 2000, managed to quantify many of the benefits of reducing a high HbA1c level by just 1%.


If you are pre-diabetic or diabetic, regular self-monitoring of blood glucose helps you understand how certain foods or food combinations effect your blood glucose level – for the better or worse. If you are struggling with pre-diabetes or diabetes and you would like information about how to manage your blood glucose and HbA1c levels within optimal range, make an appointment to see me and we can work together to start you on your journey to wellness with Real Food and healthy lifestyle choices.
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The test is used as a regular monitoring tool if you have been diagnosed with diabetes. It may also be used as one of several screening measures in the general population to look for elevated blood glucose levels, which are suggestive of diabetes.


Association of glycaemia with macrovascular and microvascular complications of type 2 diabetes (UKDPS 35): prospective observational study. Red blood cells have a lifespan of about six weeks and so the test gives a good indication of what your overall blood glucose levels have been throughout that time.



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