Change in measurement of HbA1c

Monday 01 June 2009

From today, HbA1c in all people with diabetes will be measured in millimoles per mol as well as by percentage.

The UK is responding to the International Federation of Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine (IFCC) call for all countries to adopt the same measurement to make it easier to compare HbA1c results between laboratories throughout the UK and worldwide.

Two-year transition period

Both the old and the new measurements will be given for the first two years of the change, until 31 May 2011, when people with diabetes will receive their HbA1c measurement only in millimoles per mol.

The change of reporting HbA1c from percentage (%) units to millimoles per mol (mmol/mol) on 1 June 2011, has been postponed until 1 October 2011.

Use our converter to work out your new value

To help people during this period of change, Diabetes UK has developed an easy-to-use online HbA1c converter.

You can use the converter, and find out more about the changes to HbA1c measurements, on our HbA1c page.

Important to control blood glucose levels

“It is really important that people with diabetes keep their blood glucose levels under good control," said Dr. Rowan Hillson MBE, National Clinical Director for Diabetes.

Plenty of time to get used to necessary changes

"Controlling the glucose in a way that is safe and appropriate for each person reduces the risk of diabetic tissue damage. People with diabetes need HbA1c blood tests to check their glucose is under good control. This necessary change in the way that HbA1c is reported is being introduced in a way that allows plenty of time for us all to get used to it.”

Diabetes UK welcomes this change

Simon O'Neill, Director of Care and Policy at Diabetes UK, said: "Diabetes UK welcomes this change to the way HbA1c results are reported. We believe that this will have the additional benefit of making comparing results from international laboratories and research trials easier, as the new system will be adopted worldwide.

“For a period of two years people with diabetes will get their results in both percentage and millimoles per mol, which will help them get used to the new system.

"Diabetes UK's convenient online HbA1c converter tool for people with diabetes will help them through the transition. To use the converter and for more general information on the changes and what they mean, visit www.diabetes.org.uk/HbA1c."

Our online HbA1c converter is kindly supported by Bristol-Myers Squibb and AstraZeneca.