Your diabetes: Understanding your blood glucose test results. Information for patients Diabetes Service. HbA1c. Large Print. What is the HbA1c test?

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1 Your diabetes: Understanding your blood glucose test results This leaflet explains the different ways your diabetes blood glucose control is measured. Knowing the level of glucose in your blood is important when trying to control your diabetes both day to day and in the long term. Good diabetes control can make you generally feel better and reduces the risk of developing complications of diabetes. HbA1c Information for patients Diabetes Service What is the HbA1c test? At least twice a year, your doctor should check your long-term diabetes control by taking a blood sample from your arm. This is known as an HbA1c test. The HbA1c test measures the amount of glucose being carried by the red blood cells in the body. This gives you and your diabetes team an idea of your blood glucose levels from the previous 2 to 3 months. HbA1c test results are important as they are used to make decisions about your diabetes treatments, helping you to reach your target HbA1c level. A new HbA1c Since 2011 HbA1c tests have been measured in mmol/mol. This is different from how they were previously measured as percentages (%). This leaflet includes a chart to compare these two different units in case you are still getting use to this change. This is similar to looking at a chart to compare your weight in kilograms to stones and pounds. Large Print PD7462-PIL1763LP v4 Issue Date: February Review Date: February 2018

2 HbA1c ba1c (mmol/ mol/ mol) l) HbA1c as a measure of Diabetes Control Good diabetes control for: HbA1c (%) 4.9% Type 2 diet / metformin 5.8% % Most peolple % Vulnerable groups % 9.5% 10.4% 11.3% Estimated Average Glucose (mmol/l) % % % page 2 of 5

3 What HbA1c target should I aim for? Targets will vary between individuals, so please discuss your target with your Diabetes Team. My HbA1c target is... mmol/mol (...%) Any reduction in HbA1c will benefit your health. However it is recommended that you aim to bring your level down towards your target. Information from research shows that this can reduce the risk of diabetes affecting your nerves, eyes, kidneys and heart. As a general guide a target HbA1c is 48 to 58 mmol/mol (6.5 to 7.5%). However: Those with Type 2 Diabetes treated by diet/metformin have a low risk of hypos and so HbA1c targets can be safely lowered to 40 to 50mmol/mol (5.8 to 6.7%). For those where avoidance of hypoglycaemia is important such as the elderly, vulnerable and those with severe hypoglycaemia, the HbA1c target should be raised to above 60mmol/mol (above 7.6%). Estimated Average Glucose (eag) Another result you may see on your clinic test results is Estimated Average Glucose (eag). From your HbA1c result, it is possible to work out what your average blood glucose levels have been running at day to day. This is your eag. eag results are useful, as they are given in units that may be more familiar to you than mmol/l. This is the same as the results you get from your blood glucose meter, so can help to make your diabetes control results more meaningful. page 3 of 5

4 Blood glucose Your blood glucose test results are the actual amount of glucose you have in your blood at the time of the test. For people without diabetes, their blood glucose stays between 3.5 to 8.0 mmol/l all the time. Levels constantly change but in general they are lower before meals and higher after meals. Checking your own blood glucose levels at home, using a blood glucose meter is recommended for those taking insulin or certain tablets known as sulphonylureas such as gliclazide. The number of home tests recommended varies from several tests a week, to four tests every day. Learning, through diabetes education, what the test results mean, and when and how to act on them is an essential part of blood glucose testing. This will make doing the tests more worthwhile and enable you to manage your diabetes better. What blood glucose targets should I aim for? Targets will vary between individuals, so please discuss your target with your Diabetes Team. My Blood Glucose targets:... A general guide is : Before meals: 4 to 7 mmol/l 2 hours after meals: less than 9 mmol/l However, for those where avoidance of hypoglycaemia is important such as the elderly, vulnerable and those with severe hypoglycaemia, targets should be higher. page 4 of 5

5 For more information please speak with a member of your diabetes team. Diabetes Centre, Northern General Hospital Tel: Diabetes Centre, Royal Hallamshire Hospital Tel: Or contact Diabetes UK Diabetes UK Careline: Website: Produced with support from Sheffield Hospitals Charity working hard to fund improvements that make life better for patients and their families Please donate to help us do more Registered Charity No Alternative formats may be available on request. Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust 2016 Re-use of all or any part of this document is governed by copyright and the Re-use of Public Sector Information Regulations 2005 SI 2005 No Information on re-use can be obtained from the Information Governance Department, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals. PD7462-PIL1763LP v4 Issue Date: February Review Date: February 2018

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