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Understanding your HbA1c results

Te mārama ki ō hua whakamātaunga HbA1c

The HbA1c blood test is used to find out if you have diabetes or prediabetes. It's also used to check how well‑controlled your diabetes is if you have it.

The HbA1c blood test measures the amount of glucose (sugar) attached to your red blood cells. The more glucose in your blood, the higher the reading will be. A blood cell lasts for two to three months, so the HbA1c test shows the average of your blood glucose levels over this length of time.

Normal HbA1c

prediabetesA result of 40 or lower is normal for people without diabetes.

If you already have diabetes, the blood test will show how well you're controlling your blood glucose levels. You'll have a target to aim for, but your target will depend on your age, type of diabetes and other health problems. Ask your general practice team what your personal target is. For most people with diabetes, it will be between 50 and 55.

Diagnosing diabetes with the HbA1c test

If your result is between 41 and 49, you have prediabetes.

If your result is 50 or higher, you have diabetes.

If your result shows that you have prediabetes, you should make changes to have a healthier lifestyle. This means eating healthy food and keeping physically active. You'll have another test in six to 12 months to see if these changes have made a difference.

If your results shows that you have diabetes, you'll need to see your general practice team to talk about treatment options. This usually involves changing what you eat, other lifestyle changes and taking tablets to lower your blood glucose levels. It may also mean you have to start insulin treatment.

Monitoring diabetes using HbA1c

If you have diabetes, your general practice team or diabetes clinic team will use your HbA1c results to check how well controlled your blood glucose has been.

They will discuss a HbA1c target range for you to aim for.

If you need advice about eating well and lifestyle or if you want to know more about diabetes, you can check the diabetes section or talk to your general practice team.

Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed October 2022.


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