Converting Your HbA1c & Making Sense of Your A1c


Jump To HbA1c Conversion Calculator

What is Your HbA1c?

Do you want to get a bit more familiar with your HbA1c? It's a glycated haemoglobin test that measures the average blood glucose level over the past 2-3 months. Essentially, it gives you a snapshot of your blood glucose levels and how well you're managing your diabetes.


Why should you care about your HbA1c levels?

Now, you might be wondering, "Why should I care about my HbA1c levels?" Well, let me tell you, maintaining healthy levels can have some major benefits for your overall health and wellbeing. You'll reduce your risk of developing complications associated with diabetes, feel more energetic, and even improve your mood and mental health.


How can you maintain healthy HbA1c levels?

It's all about making lifestyle changes like eating a healthy and balanced diet, engaging in regular physical activity, monitoring your blood glucose levels, and taking medications as prescribed by your healthcare professional.


And guess what? 

You don't have to cut out all sugars, as some might have you believe. In fact, researchers have found that eating lots of fruits and vegetables can lead to lower HbA1c levels than a low carbohydrate diet!


Would it OK with you if I share a little with you about this here?


I eat a huge amount of high carbohydrate fruits and vegetables every day and my last HbA1c was 41 mmol/mol, or 5.9%. You are probably aware that I have been living with Type 1 Diabetes for more that 45 years but my lab report now says I have a low risk of developing Diabetes Mellitus! The best part is I use less insulin now than I did when I was following a low carbohydrate diet!


How is that even possible?

Well, it is all to do with how reducing the amount of fat that I eat has massively increased how effectively my insulin works. We have all been told that sugars or carbs are the bad guys.


The scientific evidence suggests that dietary fat causes insulin resistance in everybody, if they have diabetes or not, and the more dietary fat we eat the more insulin resistant we become.


The problem for you and me is that reducing or restricting our carbohydrates forces us to eat more fat, so that we get enough energy This is setting the stage for poorer HbA1c results, unless we eat a very low carbohydrate diet, and the evidence shows that in general peoople are not very good at doing this for very long.


After decades of following a low carbohydrate, high fat, diet I became very insulin resistant. I had to change almost all my beliefs about diet and Diabetes. It’s a journey that took me back to medical school where I earned a Masters Degree in Diabetes Practice.


The Royal College of Physicians accepted that insulin resistance is a part of Diabetes in 1936; that is decades before Type 2 Diabetes had been identified and given a label.

I was shocked to learn that is not new science, we have known that eating more fat causes insulin resisstance for more than 50 years! But, it helps to explain why drugs like Metformin, designed for managing the symptoms of insulin resistance in Type 2 Diabetes, is now being prescribed in Type 1 Diabetes.


This does not appear to be anything unique to me and my diabetes, instead it is just how our bodies process dietary fat. But, I digress, if you want to know more, I have other web pages on the topic.


How do you measure your HbA1c levels?

It's simple - just get a blood test done at your doctor's office or a laboratory. No special preparation is required, and the results are usually available within a few days.


Your results might be measured as a percentage or in mmol/mol, it can be a faff converting them into the measurement that makes the most sense to you.


That's why. I have built this free HbA1c conversion tool for you:

HbA1c Conversion Tools

Convert to %

Convert to Mmol/mol

Your HbA1c Might Not Be The Same As Mine

It's important for you to know that a many things can affect your HbA1c, for instance:

  • Pregnancy
  • Puberty
  • Menopause
  • Stress
  • Depression
  • Changes in lifestyle
  • Certain medications. like steroids
  • Illness

Certain medical conditions can also affect your HbA1c results, making them less accurate.

 One such condition is anemia, which occurs when your body doesn't have enough red blood cells to carry oxygen to your tissues. Anemia can cause a falsely low HbA1c result because the test measures the amount of glucose that has attached to your red blood cells. With fewer red blood cells, there are fewer opportunities for glucose to attach, which can lead to a lower reading.


On the other hand, if you have sickle cell disease, your HbA1c result may be falsely high. This is because the disease affects the shape of your red blood cells, making them more likely to break down and die off. As a result, your body produces new red blood cells more frequently, which can lead to a higher HbA1c reading.


Other conditions that can affect your HbA1c results include liver disease, kidney disease, and thyroid disorders. These conditions can all impact how your body processes glucose and can cause fluctuations in your blood sugar levels, leading to inaccurate HbA1c results


The Sweet Spot

And don't forget, the "sweet spot" for HbA1c levels,  some researchers think that having your HbA1c target too low is not a benefit to you. This varies depending on individual factors, so it's important to work closely with your healthcare team to develop an individualised diabetes management plan.