Unlike a blood glucose screening, a HbA1c test provides a useful longer-term gauge of blood glucose levels, providing insight into average levels over the previous few months. For people with diabetes this is important as the higher the HbA1c, the greater the risk of developing diabetes-related complications.
Thrive Pharmacy offers HbA1c testing in a quick and easy finger-prick blood test. Results are provided in as little as five minutes and do not require fasting beforehand. No appointment required!
HbA1c (also known as haemoglobin A1c or simply A1c) is a blood test which measures the level of glycated haemoglobin. Haemoglobin is a protein within red blood cells that carries oxygen throughout your body. ‘Glycated’ refers to how much glucose is permanently bound to the haemoglobin. Glycation is irreversible and therefore the haemoglobin will remain glycated until the red blood cell dies and is replaced. Each red blood cell lives for around 90 days.
HbA1c targets should be individualised. An individualised HbA1c should take into account your ability to achieve the target based on your day-to-day life and whether you are at risk of having regular or severe hypoglycaemia (also known as low blood glucose or hypos). If you’re unsure of what your target HbA1c should be, you should talk to your doctor.
Two large-scale studies - the UK Prospective Diabetes Study (UKPDS) and the Diabetes Control and Complications Trial (DCCT) - demonstrated that improving HbA1c by 1% (or 11 mmol/mol) for people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes reduces the risk of microvascular complications by 25%.
Microvascular complications include:
Research has also shown that people with type 2 diabetes who reduce their HbA1c level by 1% are: