UK Changes Measurement Of HBA1C For Diabetes Patients

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From 1 June 2009, HbA1c (long term blood glucose levels) in all people with diabetes will be measured in millimoles per mol as well as by percentage, the Department of Health said today.

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.

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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.

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

Simon O'Neill Director of Care and Policy at Diabetes UK said: "Diabetes UK welcomes this change to the way HbA1c results are reported and 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 2 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. In addition, Diabetes UK has designed a convenient online HbA1c converter tool for people with diabetes to help them through the transition."

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