What is the normal HBA1C level in the UK?

HbA1C levels in the UK

The health authorities in the UK recommend a diabetic undergoes an HbA1C test at least once every six months. What is the HbA1C? What is a normal level, and how can it be helpful for blood glucose control? Let's explore these questions.

HbA1C- the measure of average blood glucose levels

HbA1C- the measure of average blood glucose levels

The sugar in your blood attaches to the haemoglobin (glycated haemoglobin- HbA1C). Haemoglobin is the oxygen-carrying protein present in your red blood cells. The HbA1C test measures the amount of this haemoglobin-bound glucose. It will give you an estimation of average blood sugar levels and will not consider the fasting and after-meal blood glucose level.

A blood sample is required for the test. What should be the normal values in the British population? Some facts about the values of this test are summarised for your help.

The percentage values

In contrast to the other glucose tests that give values in absolute values, its values are given in percentages. So, a 5% HbA1c means 5% of your glucose is RBC bound. This criterion is fixed by the diabetes control and complications trial (DCCT). According to CDC, The value for a normal person should fall between 4-5.7%. A value of 5.8-6.4 reflects a prediabetic state, while higher values are noted for diabetic people.

IFCC Values

Recently, a new standard has been established by the International Federation of clinical chemistry and laboratory medicine (IFCC). This system gives vales in millimoles/ mole (mmol/ mol).

For the sake of simplicity, 1% is roughly equivalent to 5-6 mmol/mol.

So, the corresponding normal value of HbA1c on the IFCC scale should be 22-40 mmol/mol. The values should be interpreted with caution if you have liver and kidney disease.

How to achieve normal values

adjust blood sugar levels with diet

Your lifestyle and dieting should be focused on achieving a normal HbA1c. The target values depend upon a number of factors, but you should aim for an HbA1c of 6.5% or 48 mmol/mol). However, given the complexity of the causes, it rests upon you and your physician to decide the best course to achieve this target. The obvious focus should be on;

  • Diet: Food with a low glycemic index
  • Exercises: Aerobic exercises to burn calories
  • Medications: Adjust the dose of insulin to match the target (your healthcare provider's job).

However, this level is not ideal. You should still target for less than this. This level, however, indicates diabetes. The level of 6-6.5% (42-47 mmol/ml), however, indicates that you are in the prediabetes phase and should gear up yourself to lower the high blood sugar levels.

Is it the best tool for self-monitoring?

No matter how charming it may look, the HbA1C blood test is not a substitute for regular monitoring of blood glucose which is still a better tool for regular self-monitoring and diagnosing diabetes. You will not know how much a regular meal, stress and a particular medication affect your blood sugar levels.

It will also not count day-to-day fluctuations. So, use routine blood tests for day-to-day monitoring of sugar levels and HbA1C levels to get an overall picture of the sugar status. The oral glucose tolerance test is also very helpful in blood sugar management.

Welzo offers an at-home HBA1C Blood Test that can be used to test for diabetes and monitor your blood health. See our test here

If you would like to learn more about diabetes and view our range of available medications, see our information page here

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