Defining the relationship between plasma glucose and HbA(1c): analysis of glucose profiles and HbA(1c) in the Diabetes Control and Complications Trial

Diabetes Care. 2002 Feb;25(2):275-8. doi: 10.2337/diacare.25.2.275.


Objective: To define the relationship between HbA(1c) and plasma glucose (PG) levels in patients with type 1 diabetes using data from the Diabetes Control and Complications Trial (DCCT).

Research design and methods: The DCCT was a multicenter, randomized clinical trial designed to compare intensive and conventional therapies and their relative effects on the development and progression of diabetic complications in patients with type 1 diabetes. Quarterly HbA(1c) and corresponding seven-point capillary blood glucose profiles (premeal, postmeal, and bedtime) obtained in the DCCT were analyzed to define the relationship between HbA(1c) and PG. Only data from complete profiles with corresponding HbA(1c) were used (n = 26,056). Of the 1,441 subjects who participated in the study, 2 were excluded due to missing data. Mean plasma glucose (MPG) was estimated by multiplying capillary blood glucose by 1.11. Linear regression analysis weighted by the number of observations per subject was used to correlate MPG and HbA(1c).

Results: Linear regression analysis, using MPG and HbA(1c) summarized by patient (n = 1,439), produced a relationship of MPG (mmol/l) = (1.98 . HbA(1c)) - 4.29 or MPG (mg/dl) = (35.6 . HbA(1c)) - 77.3, r = 0.82). Among individual time points, afternoon and evening PG (postlunch, predinner, postdinner, and bedtime) showed higher correlations with HbA(1c) than the morning time points (prebreakfast, postbreakfast, and prelunch).

Conclusions: We have defined the relationship between HbA(1c) and PG as assessed in the DCCT. Knowing this relationship can help patients with diabetes and their healthcare providers set day-to-day targets for PG to achieve specific HbA(1c) goals.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Blood Glucose / metabolism*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / complications
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / diagnosis
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / metabolism*
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Linear Models


  • Blood Glucose
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A