Swedish researchers have identified a ‘sweet spot’ window of HbA1c that is associated with lower risks of complications for people with type 1 diabetes.

Research, carried out by a team from the universities of Gothenburg and Linköping, found that maintaining an HbA1c of between 48 and 52 mmol/mol (6.5% and 6.9%) was associated with reduced risks of developing diabetes complications.

The researchers used data from the Swedish Diabetes Registry which included over 10,000 adults and children with type 1 diabetes. The researchers grouped the participants into five categories depending on their HbA1c levels.

The lowest HbA1c category was for participants with HbA1c levels of below 48 mmol/mol (6.5%). The highest HbA1c category was for those with an HbA1c of greater than 71 mmol/mol (8.6%). The team reviewed risk of complications including retinopathy, nephropathy (kidney disease) and episodes of severe hypoglycemia.

The findings showed that retinopathy and nephropathy were more likely in people with an HbA1c of 53 mmol/mol (7%) and above. More severe forms of these complications, proliferative retinopathy and chronic kidney disease, were more likely in people with an HbA1c level above 71 mmol/mol (8.6%).

The study also found that people with an HbA1c of below 53 mmol/mol (6.5%) had an increased risk of experiencing severe hypoglycemia.

Diabetes.co.uk is aware that some people with type 1 diabetes are able to achieve HbA1c results below 53 mmol/mol (6.5%) without experiencing severe hypoglycemia or extended periods of time with low blood glucose levels.

Technology is one of the factors that is helping some people with type 1 diabetes to achieve excellent blood glucose control while keeping hypoglycemia to a minimum.

In the UK, HbA1c targets should be individualised with your health team. This can help to ensure you achieve safe and achievable targets that are in line with your personal circumstances and ability to achieve good control.

The study is published in the British Medical Journal.

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