# HbA1c units changing 1 Oct

Discussion in 'Diabetes Discussions' started by benedict, Sep 28, 2011.

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Hi all, on 1 October 2011, the units for measuring HbA1c numbers are set to change from the % value that a lot of us are used to to mmol/mol.

As an example - an HbA1c value of 6.5% is 48 mmol/mol in the new measurement.

The conversion is a bit complicated for most of us so we've got a calculator that will do the conversion work for you.

Use the conversion calculator here
http://www.diabetes.co.uk/hba1c-units-converter.html

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2. ### borofergie Type 2 · Legend

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Thank you Benedict.

Is there any chance you could increase the precision level of the calculator?

When coverting from mmol/mol to % (as many of us will have to when we get our HbA1c results) I get the following:
37 mmol/mol = 5%
38 mmol/mol = 6%
39 mmol/mol = 6%
40 mmol/mol = 6%
41 mmol/mol = 6%
42 mmol/mol = 6%
43 mmol/mol = 6%
44 mmol/mol = 6%
45 mmol/mol = 6%
46 mmol/mol = 6%
47 mmol/mol = 6%
48 mmol/mol = 7%

There is a big difference between 47 mmol/mol and 38 mmol/mol but according to this calculator they are all worth a 6% in old money.

I'm not being deliberately predantic, but since many of us fight for every 0.1% reduction in HbA1c, this makes a confusing change even more confusing.

#2

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Oh cripes, that's no good at all. Thanks borofergie.

Give us a day or two and this should be fixed.

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Hi guys - glad to say it's fixed - giving results to 4 decimal places.

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5. ### borofergie Type 2 · Legend

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I just noticed. Thanks Benedict! It's too accurate now :lol:

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6. ### johnny37 · Regular

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Dont know why anyone would want to know to one ten thousandth (4 decimal places)!

I noticed that each increase or decrease (0.1%) on the HBA1c scale is worth (with rounding) 1.1 points on the new scale.

6.0 = 42
6.1 = 43.1
6.2 = 44.2

and so on.

Yeah, I know that this theory is going to lose a decimal point somewhere eventually but it comes back again on the next number. hey ho!

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7. ### Anonymous · Guest

The question I would ask is this: why?

They've always got to fiddle around and tinker, haven't they. Managing the condition is hard enough without the medical profession making it more complicated. :thumbdown:

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8. ### Grazer · Legend

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Bet we all convert back to % and report on here in that number for ages to come!

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9. ### noblehead Type 1 · Moderator

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I'll always ask for it in %, after 30 years I'm not going to change

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10. ### PHARMANCO · Newbie

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Forget HbA1c value as a %
Accept the new mmol value.

Benefits: mmol will allow you to detect smaller ups and downs that would not show up in the % value.

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11. ### borofergie Type 2 · Legend

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Ummmmm. I doubt it. The accuracy of the tests is the same, no matter what units, you're probably just observing rounding errors.

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12. ### joppie230261 · Newbie

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I agree with Noblehead. A % figure is something you can visualise where a reading of mmol is basically meaningless at first glance. How many people remember how much a mole is from their chemistry at school?

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13. ### IanD Type 2 · Legend

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Welcome to the club no-one wants to join

I too agree. We can relate % directly to our finger-prick measurements (even though it is a different measurement), whereas the new figure is alien. I suspect it is an attempt to restrict info, rather than inform, so that we are increasingly in the hands of the health professionals.

Happily our hospital returns both units still. It's only an extra line on the computer that takes no effort on their part, but gives us useful info.

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14. ### finntasticemma · Newbie

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I am quite confused now. My diabetic nurse has always told me my HbA1c in mmols. She recently told me it as a percentage and I was very confused. I think that a consistent approach is needed!

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15. ### phoenix Type 1 · Champion

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Britain is part of the world and it is the result of an International agreement. The changes are to reflect improvements in modern testing and to ensure international standardisation. New methods meant that the percentages given were not really accurate reflections .
http://www.ngsp.org/ifccngsp.asp
On top of that parts of the world including some parts of Scandanavia and Japan used methods that meant that their HbA1cs were not at all the same as those used elsewhere .(eg the Swedish Mono S HbA1c reads about 1% lower than the DCCT HbA1c formerly used in the UK and other parts of the world
Imagine the confusion that could cause when a person from Sweden moved to the UK
All HbA1c methods will now give the same result in the same units no matter where in the world the analysis is performed.

I cannot see why you think that there is an to restrict info anywhere; convertors are freely available in many places including the DUK website.
Here is a Swedish one, explaining the differences to that population. (note they have been using the new units for over 2 years now)
http://www.hba1c.nu/english.htm

There is also a proposal to also give estimated average glucose levels to patients . This hasn't been implemented in most countries (including the UK). There is some concern that these figures may not apply to all groups so countries like the UK are awaiting the results of further trials.

I think that the change may be beneficial in those countries such as the UK that use mmol/l There were people that did seem to equate their meter readings with their HbA1cs and of course they were not equivalent at all.
An HbA1c of say 5.7% is the equivalent of an estimated average glucose level of 6.5mmol/l (ie not an average in the 5s)
An HbA1c of 10% is the equivalent of an estimated average glucose of 13.4mmol/l (much more than an average of 10)

I live in a country where that type of confusion was never a possibility, my glucose is measured in mg/dl and the 5.7% reflects an average of 117mg/dl .

The new changes will affect all countries, some sooner than later.
It's just a new figure and eventually when they drop dual reporting people will get used to it, new people will never know the 'old' method.

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16. ### 32yearsliving · Newbie

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if the mmol is 37 supposedly good for a normal human being i am not the lower mmol is also dangerous . low blood sugar levels lets say 4 now lets be predictive in this ? is this a good level whats going too happen you get in a car or walk the street for what ever reason your sugar dramaticaly drops . you fall over hit the deck providing somone finds you and dont think your pissed you will go to sleep and not wake up you become dead ... the idiots that tell you too run your levels between 5 and 7 want too kill you or endanger other people if you drive . you cannot drive a car if your blood sugar level is 5 and under so run you levels at 10 to be on the safe side and why . i have been a diabetic for 32 years with no complications so far which is good . heres what they tell you . you will get heart desease ? thats also people that smoke . i dont smoke . you will die of heart attack ? thats every human being eventualy .. we as diabetics will face a death from age depending how you look after your self running too low you will go too sleep and die run too high and theres complications but you will live . keep it reasonably central like me , still have my legs kydneys eyesight and little high chloestral . changed them a few times simvastatin they will kill you got pins and needles in both arms i stopped them imediately they give you heart problems . rosuvastatin same problems pravastatin im good on at the moment . i dont take them every day .. every other day because i still think there are some issues with them but thats my experience ? have i been a saint with my ilness no . 32 years of diabetes . my dad was 49 when he died then he had by pass on the heart with pace maker . didnt kill him except his stupidity 40 tons of truck killed him he tried to stop it and got crushed , any way what im trying to say follow some rules keep it a little high then you dont get the risk of too low blood sugar levels then you stay awake and living test whith good reason especialy before you go to bed i go too bed with 10 and take my night time insulin get up most mornings around 6 or 7 eat and go to work so no hypos . i hope the next 32 years is also good lets hope no problems so far :clap: :thumbup:

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17. ### alisoningold · Regular

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Argh it's all so confusing!

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18. ### Sid Bonkers Type 2 · Legend

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I dont think anyone likes change Alison but until we all get used to the new system there is a useful converter here on the DCUK web site that you might want to bookmark for future use

http://www.diabetes.co.uk/hba1c-units-converter.html

It converts the old DCCT (%) into the new IFCC (meaningless number!)

Hope this helps you over the transition

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19. ### dave howard Type 1 · Regular

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DITTO !! :clap:

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20. ### Robinredbreast Type 1 · Champion

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I always say "can I have it in old money", and they always comply. If it ain't broke, don't fix it :mrgreen:

RRB

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