Keeping HbA1c levels below 7.6 per cent (60 mmol/mol) in people with type 1 diabetes has been found to prevent complications such as retinopathy and persistent macroalbuminuria.
HbA1c study
HbA1c refers to glycated haemoglobi, and is a commonly used term to measure an overall average of blood sugar levels over a period of weeks or months.
A study, published online in Diabetes Care, saw the Linköping University in Norrköping, Swede, conduct a longitudinal study of 451 type 1 diabetes patients diagnosed during 1983-1987 before the age of 35.
The authors measured HbA1c levels from patients’ diagnoses through 20-24 years of follow-up. Long-term mean HbA1c results were analysed, while complications in relation to these levels were then examined.
Incidences of proliferative retinopathy and persistent macroalbuminuria increased sharply and earlier with increasing long-term weighted mean HbA1c.
Persistent macroalbuminuria occurs during kidney disease, when high levels of albumi, a protein in human blood, leaks into the urine and prevents the kidneys’ ability to filter blood.
Patients with long-term weighted mean HbA1c below 7.6 per cent did not develop these complications, but 51 per cent whose HbA1c was above 9.5 per cent developed proliferative retinopathy and 23 per cent developed persistent macroalbuminuria.
“Keeping HbA1c below 7.6 percent (60 mmol/mol) as a treatment target seems to prevent proliferative retinopathy and persistent macroalbuminuria for up to 20 years,” the authors concluded.

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