What do you know about HbA1C

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1 Did you know? Essential advice for people with diabetes from Accu-Chek HbA1C is a measure of your average blood glucose level over 3 months Your HbA1C target should be under 53mmol/mol It is important to keep doing your own blood glucose testing Lowering your HbA1C reduces your risk of long-term health problems What do you know about HbA1C For more about the range of free diabetes information booklets, call Accu-Chek Customer Careline: PM (UK) (ROI) or log on to ACCU-CHEK is a trademark of a Member of the Roche Group Roche Diagnostics Limited. Roche Diagnostics Limited, Charles Avenue, Burgess Hill, West Sussex RH15 9RY Company Registration Number:

2 What is the HbA1C test? Results from your HbA1C test are a good indicator of how well your diabetes is being controlled month after month. Gwen Hall, Diabetes Specialist Nurse The HbA1C test is a blood test for people with diabetes. It measures your average blood glucose level over 2 to 3 months and is an important part of how your diabetes is managed. The HbA1C test is done by your doctor or nurse and it helps to HbA1C show how well your blood glucose levels are being controlled month after month. This booklet explains HbA1C, and how you can use your test results to make sure you stay in control of your diabetes in the long-term.

3 What is HbA1C? The red blood cells in your blood contain a protein called haemoglobin. HbA1C means glycated haemoglobin, and is a measure of the amount of glucose in your bloodstream that is attached to your haemoglobin molecules. As blood glucose levels rise, more and more glucose becomes attached to your haemoglobin molecules. The glucose that binds to the haemoglobin in your blood stays there until the red blood cell dies, which is after about 120 days. The results from your HbA1C test give a good idea of whether your blood glucose levels have been close to normal, or too high over the last 3 months. Your doctor or nurse will tell you how often you need to have the test done, but most people are tested about twice a year. To perform the test, your doctor or diabetes nurse will take a small sample of blood from a vein. You will get the results after a few days.

4 Keep testing yourself The doctor does my HbA1C test every 6 months, but I m careful to make sure I never miss my daily blood glucose tests. Sam, 37 HbA1C is different to your finger-pricker test While the HbA1C test shows your average blood glucose level over several months, your finger-pricker test tells you how much glucose is in your blood right now. It is important to keep checking your blood glucose levels regularly to keep you feeling healthy, and to avoid hypos. Testing your own blood glucose level is a great way of keeping track of your diabetes on a day-to-day basis. By using the results from both home testing and your HbA1C test, you and your healthcare team will be able to make sure that your medicine, diet and exercise are all working hard to help you stay in control of your blood glucose levels day after day, and month after month.

5 Why HbA1C is important People who manage to keep their HbA1C low can delay or prevent some of the long-term health problems that diabetes can cause in the future. Lowering your HbA1C reduces your chance of having the following health problems that can be caused by poorly controlled blood glucose: Foot problems e.g. ulcers Heart and circulation problems Eye problems Kidney problems Nerve damage Infection Impotence

6 Know your goal Your results In the past, the results of HbA1c tests were measured as a percentage (%). You have probably agreed an HbA1c target level with your doctor or nurse. The unit of the HbA1c test result has been changed! The results will be given in a different way. This is done to create a standard measure that is the same around the world. For most people with diabetes, this is below 7.0%. However, your target may be different depending on your individual situation. The HbA1c will still measure the amount of glucose that is attached to your haemoglobin molecules. It will now be reported in millimoles per mole (mmol/mol) instead of percentage (%). My HbA1C result gives me a goal to work towards. I m very interested in seeing my next test results. Ian, 23

7 Conversion chart The following chart will allow you to convert between the old and the new HbA1c test results. Until you become comfortable with the new results, you should refer to this chart. The numbers in the new HbA1c test results will be larger than you are used to. This does not mean that your HbA1c is high. An HbA1c test result of 5.5% will now be reported as 37mmol/mol. Both results show that your blood glucose levels are well-controlled. If you have problems understanding your new HbA1c results, your doctor or nurse should be able to help you. Old New % HbA1c mmol/mol HbA1c Does your diabetes plan need to change? Above 108 mmol/mol Very high your doctor or nurse will help you change how your diabetes is managed mmol/mol High (as above) mmol/mol A little high 53 mmol/mol or under Great! Keep up the good work

8 HbA1C too high? There are lots of reasons why your HbA1C can be above 53 mmol/mol. Your treatment and lifestyle could play a part. Other common factors that can lead to high blood glucose levels: Being overweight or obese Not exercising enough Inadequate medication Infection or illness Stress The type of diabetes you have can also make a difference to your blood glucose control. Type 1 diabetes Your body needs insulin injections in order to keep your HbA1C level near 53 mmol/mol. The amount of insulin you need to do this may change over time. This doesn t mean your diabetes is getting worse. I got bored with going swimming, so I thought I d try a salsa class instead. Maria, 47 Type 2 diabetes Over time, your body may produce less insulin and become less able to keep your HbA1C level steady. Your doctor may adjust your medicine to help you control your blood glucose levels.

9 Set your sights on your target My HbA1C was nearly 75 mmol/mol last year, but I ve worked hard to get it down to 64 mmol/mol. I know I ve done something important for myself. Sheila, 64 Your doctor may recommend new medicine, or changes to your current medicine, to help you reach your HbA1C target. Lots of people have an HbA1C value over 53 mmol/mol, and getting your HbA1C under 53 mmol/mol is not easy, but it is important. Get your HbA1C to <53 mmol/mol Watch your weight Follow a recommended meal plan avoid overeating, and sugary meals Stick with, or refresh, your exercise and activity plan Keep taking any medicine your doctor has given you Don t forget to check your own blood glucose levels regularly

10 Where to get more help HbA1C test record YOUR DIABETES Test date Goal Result Comment Old New Always check your targets with your healthcare professional I see my diabetes nurse once a month and she s recommended easy things that can make a difference to my HbA1C. Jonathan, 43 Useful numbers Local GP surgery Local hospital clinic Diabetes UK Careline

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