Intended for healthcare professionals

Research Article

Glycosylated haemoglobin concentrations in newly diagnosed diabetics before and during treatment.

Br Med J 1979; 1 doi: (Published 14 April 1979) Cite this as: Br Med J 1979;1:979
  1. D M Fraser,
  2. A F Smith,
  3. R S Gray,
  4. D Q Borsey,
  5. M E Sinclair,
  6. B F Clarke,
  7. L J Duncan


    Concentrations of total glycosylated haemoglobins (Hb A1) were measured in 40 diabetics at diagnosis and at monthly intervals after treatment with chlorpropamide, insulin, or diet alone was begun. The mean Hb A1 concentration at presentation in 16 patients treated with chlorpropamide was significantly higher than that in 12 patients treated with insulin, and the duration of glycaemic symptoms was much longer in the chlorpropamide-treated group. In contrast, the mean plasma glucose concentration was similar in both groups. The mean concentrations of Hb A1 and plasma glucose at diagnosis in the 12 patients treated by diet alone were lower than those in the other two groups, and most of these patients were free of symptoms. Treatment quickly relieved symptoms and lowered plasma glucose in all patients. The Hb A1 concentration fell significantly with treatment such that after two months there was no significant difference between the three groups, although results remained above the normal range. These findings support the theory that the Hb A1 concentration reflects the blood glucose control over the previous one to two months and suggest that the duration of hyperglycaemia may be important in determining the Hb A1 concentration as well as the absolute blood glucose concentration.