Australian Prescriber: Glycated haemoglobin for the diagnosis of diabetes

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English: The blue circle is the global symbol for diabetes, introduced by the International Diabetes Federation with the aim of giving diabetes a common identity, supporting existing efforts to raise awareness of diabetes and placing the diabetes epidemic firmly in the public spotlight. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Michael d’Emden
Chairman HbA1c Committee
Australian Diabetes Society

Clinical associate professor
Department of Medicine
The University of Queensland

Department of Endocrinology and Diabetes
Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital


The development of specific diabetes complications correlates with glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c), the most accepted measure of chronic glycaemia.

An HbA1c of 48 mmol/mol (6.5%) or greater has now been recommended in Australia for diagnosis of type 2 diabetes.

The HbA1c test should greatly simplify the diagnostic pathway, negating the need for oral glucose tolerance tests in the majority of patients. However, improved performance and precision of the assay with its standardisation across Australia is required.

Many clinical situations can impact on the HbA1c assay and the clinician needs to be aware of these if it is to be used appropriately for diagnosis.

Key words: blood glucose, diabetic retinopathy, HbA1c, hyperglycaemia

Aust Prescr 2014;37:98-100