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New diabetes measurement starts roll-out

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From today the UK will start the process of changing the type of unit used to measure blood glucose levels in diabetes patients.

As of 1, clinicians and patients are to start measuring HbA1c in millimoles per mol as well as by percentage.

The move follows a call from the International Federation of Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine for all countries to adopt the same measurement to make it easier to compare HbA1c results between laboratories throughout the UK and worldwide.

Both the old and the new measurements will be given for the first two years of the change, until 31 May 2011 when people with diabetes will receive their HbA1c measurement only in millimoles per mol.

Dr Rowan Hillson, national clinical director for diabetes, said: ‘This necessary change in the way that HbA1c is reported is being introduced in a way that allows plenty of time for us all to get used to it.’

Simon O’Neill, director of care and policy at the charity Diabetes UK, added: ‘This will have the additional benefit of making comparing results from international laboratories and research trials easier, as the new system will be adopted worldwide.’

Diabetes UK has designed an online HbA1c converter tool for people with diabetes to help them through the transition.

 

HbA1c conversion table

 
Current HbA1c measure (%) New HbA1c measure (mmol/mol)
6.0                        42
6.5                        48
7.0                        53
7.559
8.0                        64
9.0                        75
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