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Education on Diabetes

HbA1c vs time in range

Every person living with diabetes knows what it feels like to wait for your HbA1c result. New research still supports the importance of HbA1c, however it is now advised to also look at time in range to analyse diabetes management.

What is HbA1c?

3 months - HbA1c

Haemoglobin A1c is a blood test that measures the amount of glucose attached to red blood cells.

Red blood cells have a lifespan of around 3 months. This means HbA1c readings show the average blood glucose over the past 3 months.

  • Normal – below 42mmol/mol
  • Pre-diabetes – 42-47mmol/mol
  • Diabetes – 48mmol/mol or above

Time in range

Time in range vs HbA1c

This is the percentage of time that your blood sugar is in target. The target range is decided by you and your healthcare team and differs across individuals.

Usually, the target range will be set from around 3.9mmol/mol to around 10mmol/mol.

FGM and CGM devices give people access to 24 hour blood sugar readings from your phone. All types of sensors show your levels on a graph, and record the time spent in range (the picture on the right is what the FreeStyle Libre looks like).

Using both together

The amount of time spend in range directly impacts how you feel on a daily basis.

Spending more time in range also helps to prevent complications seen with hyperglycaemia and hypoglycaemia.

It is important to realise that time in range is not replacing HbA1c. Using both is helping people living with diabetes to reach better control, decreased complication risk and increased life quality.

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If you liked this post, be sure to check out Diabetes technology 101! and 10 facts about Type 1 diabetes!