Skip to main content

What is HbA1c?

Your Hba1c shows what your Diabetes Healthcare Team what your blood glucose levels have been over a period of weeks or months. They measure this with a blood test and review the results with you.
Content last reviewed and updated: 15.08.2023

An hba1c test

What is HbA1c?

HbA1c stands for glycated haemoglobin. Haemoglobin is a protein that carries oxygen around your body. When it meets the glucose in your blood it becomes glycated. This lets your clinic see what your blood glucose levels have been over a period of weeks and months. Because of this, it’s different from the glucose checks you do every day.

How do they measure HbA1c?

Your Diabetes Healthcare Team will arrange for you to have a blood test around the time of your regular check-up to measure your HbA1c.

How often should you have your HbA1c levels checked?

Your Diabetes Healthcare Team should test your HbA1c levels every three to six months.

What should your HbA1c levels be?

HbA1c is measured in mmol/mol. Your Diabetes Healthcare Team will set your target HbA1c level based on your own personal needs, but in general the recommended target is 6.5% (48mmol/mol).

What does it mean if your HbA1c is too high?

If your HbA1c is too high, it can increase the risk of developing type 1 diabetes complications. This is why it’s regularly checked, so you can address any issues and work on lowering your HbA1c.

How to lower HbA1c

If your HbA1c levels are higher than the target set by you and your Diabetes Healthcare Team, there are things you can do:

  • Regularly check your glucose levels to see what might be pushing your levels out of range
  • Be aware of hidden carbohydrates – counting carbs can help you spot hidden carbohydrates in things like restaurant meals and alcohol
  • Find ways to relax and reduce stress, such as mindfulness
  • Exercise – love it or hate it, even a little bit of exercise can have a positive impact on your glucose levels
  • Get a good night’s sleep – being well rested will help with all of the above
  • Reach out for help and support – there are lots of online and in-person communities you can join

What should your HbA1c be if you’re pregnant?

If you’re pregnant or planning a pregnancy, maintaining an Hba1C below 6.5% (48mmol/mol) is recommended. Find out more about type 1 diabetes and pregnancy.

You may also be interested in

Read more

Type 1 and pregnancy

Get information and support on managing type 1 if you’re pregnant or planning a pregnancy.

Read more
A boy wearing a continuous glucose monitor while drawing with felt tips

Type 1 technology

Learn about what technology is available to manage type 1 and how to access it.

Read more
A woman with retinopathy, being supported by two friends while using a white cane to aid her walking


Find out more about complications and what you can do to help reduce your risk.