Ask a GP

What’s the difference between a HbA1c and glucose test?

A HbA1c (glycated haemoglobin) test measures your average blood glucose (sugar) levels over the last 3 months. If your body can’t use sugar properly it stays in your blood and sticks to your red blood cells. As your red blood cells are active for about 3 months, measuring your HbA1c levels will tell you your blood sugar levels over this period. This test is useful for screening for insulin resistance and diabetes. Diabetics also use this test to see how they’ve been controlling their blood sugars over the last few months.

A blood glucose (sugar) test measures your blood sugar levels at one point in time. These levels can vary widely throughout the day, from things like eating and exercising. This test is commonly done by diabetics to monitor their blood sugar throughout the day.

Are there links between thyroid problems and high blood pressure?

There’s some evidence to suggest that hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid) and hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) can increase your blood pressure. Hyperthyroidism can also lead to a number of heart-related problems like an irregular heartbeat and heart failure. Some studies show that treating abnormal thyroid hormones can help improve blood pressure control. If you have a thyroid condition, it’s worth monitoring your blood pressure too.

Is it worth checking liver blood tests when you feel well?

Out of range liver test results are often found in people who feel well. In the UK, deaths from liver disease have increased 400% since 1970. In people under 65, deaths from liver disease are nearly five times higher than they were in 1970. Liver disease is also the third most common cause of premature death in the UK. Regular liver function tests could help prevent some of these cases so it’s definitely worth checking even if you’re feeling well. If you feel unwell, even with normal results, you should discuss this with your doctor.