Diabetic Conversion Factors.

If you are in a hurry and want instant answers skip to the conversions at the bottom of this page. Otherwise stay with me for, hopefully, education and entertainment.

When I was given my first glucose meter I did notice the small mmol/L at the bottom of the screen but it was under a large number and I paid it scant notice. It was the number that had my full attention - I am sure all you diabetics out there will understand.

In time I nicknamed this 'Naughty Number' because it behaved like a over active child - it was never still! It could have been measured in carrot tops for all I cared, as long as it behaved itself.

Then I started to educate myself and things changed - confusion crept in - now isn't that a surprise folks? It seemed every book or website I read was giving blood glucose readings in mg/dl and the figures were so high.

Made mine look good but I knew that there was no way these people would still be alive with those figures so the conversion rate was obviously not 1-1, but what was it and why were there two different ways of measuring the same thing?

Now mmol/L were familiar to me. Way back when I had met up with them in biochemistry classes (and was not that enamoured with them then - must have had a premonition or something) but I knew mmol/L stood for millimoles per litre and I was aware that the mole bit had nothing to do with cute furry critters that made unsightly humps in lawns but was short for the molecular weight of a substance.

For the really technically inclined a mole is the number of atoms in exactly 12 g of carbon-12.

A millimole is a thousandth of a mole, and is 602,253,000,000,000,000,000 molecules of glucose - see, I did learn something in those classes after all.

mmol/L is the SI or Systeme International unit, the world standard for measuring blood glucose. It is normally expressed to one decimal place eg 6.7

So where did the mg/dL come in, what did it mean and why is it used? Turned out it stood for milligrams per decilitre (which is thousandth's of a gram per tenth of a litre).

So basically they are finding the weight of the glucose present in each decilitre of blood. mg/dL is normally expressed to the nearest whole number eg 120. This is the traditional way of measuring blood glucose in the US and in a number of other countries.

It is becoming less common in it's usage in scientific circle but will undoubtedly be with us for a long time as so many people are accustomed to it. The way to convert from one to another is really easy.

You just multiply the mmol/L by 18 to get mg/dL.
You just divide the mg/dL by 18 to get mmol/L.
(Remember, this conversion figure is for blood glucose only)

Confused about whether your country measures blood glucose in mg/dL or mmol/L? Check on the list here. If I missed the place where you live I am sorry, the world seems to be changing faster than I can keep up!

So that appeared to be that. I had worked out how to convert mmol/L to mg/dL and all was tiddly - or was it? It was until my first blood test results came back and I had a look at my cholesterol levels. These were also expressed as mmol/L.

Wanting to know how they looked in relation to normal figures I checked my handy books and websites for information on the normal ranges - needless to say they were in mg/dL.

At this time I am seriously beginning to wonder about the term 'world standard'! However this does not phase me, after all I know how to convert, just times or divide by 18. Yea right! You want to try this sometimes, it makes for interesting numbers, to say the least.

More head scratching and plenty of unladylike language before the penny drops - we are looking at molecular weights here and naturally the weight of a molecule of glucose is not going to be the same as the weight of a molecule of fat. The number we multiply by is going to have to be different. Okay, okay, I know I should have known this but those biochem. classes were a long way back!

A lot of searching later I found the multiplication factors and the results of my tests became blindingly clear. At that moment I did sort of wish that I could roll the clock back and live in blissful ignorance but it was to late - damn. I try to comfort myself with the thought that some of you out there will be grateful for the knowledge.

 

The conversion from SI to US units.

Please note that I have sometimes given two ways of doing these. Both come up with identical results. My mathematically orientated husband felt it was not necessary to give both versions as it was obvious that they were the same anyway.

I, to whom mathematics is a closed book, did not see the connection and felt that there might be others of you out there who felt the same and who may have seen one or other method used in another publication and wondered why mine was different - result, you get both and can take your pick which one you use.

I have given the conversions for the tests done on my blood here in the UK. If you have others you are wondering about please let us know and we will do our best to find the answers for you.

Understanding prefixes:-

In most calculations you will see abbreviations like g or gm for grams and mol for moles. Usually there will be another letter, or sometimes two, in front of these. Many of you may be familiar with the letters and know what they mean but for those of you who, like me, have trouble remembering what is what here is a brief reminder.

G giga 10*9 = one billion
M mega 10*6 = one million
k kilo 10*3 = one thousand
h hecto 10*2 = one hundred
da deka 10 = one ten
d deci 10*-1 = one tenth
c centi 10*-2 = one hundredth
m milli 10*-3 = one thousandth
µ micro 10*-6 = one millionth
n nano 10*-9 = one billionth
p pico 10*-12 = one trillionth
f femto 10*-15 = one quadrillionth

In other word µmol (micromole) stands for one millionth of a mole and pg (picogram) stands for one trillionth of a gram. Get the idea?

Note:-
U/L stands for units per litre
mIU/1 stand for milli International Units/litre

Sometimes the conventional units are given in g/L instead of g/dl. If that is the case do the following conversion first.
Divide g/L by 10.0 to get g/dL
Multiply g/dL by 10.0 to get g/L.

The list below is in alphabetical order.

To convert Acetoacetic acid readings:-
Divide mmol/L by 0.098 to get mg/dL
Multiply mg/dL by 0.098 to get mmol/L

To convert Acetone readings:-
Divide mmol/L by 0.172 to get mg/dL
Multiply mg/dL by 0.172 to get mmol/L

To convert Albumin readings:-
Divide the g/L by 10 to get g/dL.
Multiply the g/dL by 10 to get g/L.

To convert Bilirubin readings:-
Divide the mol/L by 17.1 to get mg/dl.
Multiply the mg/dl by 17.1 to get mol/L.

Note -
in the red blood cell, white blood cell and platelet count, because of the different units being used, the two readings are identical and don’t actually need conversion. If you want to do the maths yourself (Multiply or devide by 1) the factors are as set out below.

To convert Red blood cell count readings:- (see note above)
Conventional units use ‘cells x 10*6/µL’
SI units use ‘cells x 10*12/L’
Divide ‘cells x 10*12/L’ by 1.0 to get ‘cells x 10*6/µL’
Multiply ‘cells x 10*6/µL’ by 1.0 to get ‘cells x 10*12/L’

To convert White blood cell count readings:- (see note above)
Conventional units use ‘cells x 10*3/µL’
SI units use ‘cells x 10*9/L’
Divide ‘cells x 10*9/L’ by 1.0 to get ‘cells x 10*3/µL’
Multiply ‘cells x 10*3/µL’ by 1.0 to get ‘cells x 10*9/L’

To convert Platelets (thrombocytes) readings:- (see note above)
Conventional units use ‘number of platelets x 10*3/µL’
SI units use ‘number of platelets x 10*9/L’
Divide ‘number of platelets x 10*9/L’ by 1.0 to get ‘number of platelets x 10*3/µL’
Multiply ‘number of platelets x 10*3/µL’ by 1.0 to get ‘number of platelets x 10*9/L’

To convert Blood Glucose readings:-
Divide the mg/dL by 18 to get mmol/L.
Multiply the mmol/L by 18 to get mg/dL.
OR
Divide the mmol/L by 0.0555 to get mg/dL
Multiply the mg/dL by 0.0555 to get mmol/L

To convert BUN readings:-
Divide the mmol/L by 0.357 to get mg/dL.
Multiply the mg/dL by 0.357 to mmol/L.

To convert Bromide readings:-
Divide mmol/L by 0.125 to get mg/dL
Multiply mg/dL by 0.125 to get mmol/L

To convert Calcium readings:-
Divide mmol/L by 0.25 to get mg/dL
Multiply mg/dL by 0.25 to get mmol/L
Divide mmol/L by 0.05 to get mEq/L
Multiply mEq/L by 0.05 to get mmol/L

To convert Total Cholesterol readings:-
Divide the mmol/L by 0.0259 to get mg/dL
Multiply the mg/dL by 0.0259 to get mmol/L

To convert HDL and LDL readings:-
Divide the mg/dL by 38.67 to get mmol/L.
Multiply the mmol/L by 38.67 to get mg/dL.
OR
Divide the mmol/L by 0.0259 to get mg/dL
Multiply the mg/dL by 0.0259 to get mmol/

To convert Copper readings:-
Divide µmol/L by 0.157 to get µg/dL
Multiply µg/dL by 0.157 to get µmol/L

To convert Cortisol readings:-
Divide nmol/L by 27.95 to get µg/dL
Multiply µg/dL by 27.95 to get nmol/L (nanomoles per litre)

To convert C-peptide readings:-
Divide the nmol/L by 0.333 to get ng/mL.
Multiply the ng/mL by 0.333 to get nmol/L

To convert Creatine readings:-
Divide mol/L by 76.26 to get mg/dL
Multiply mg/dL by 76.26 to get mol/L.

To convert Creatinine readings:-
Divide the mol/L by 88.4 to get mg/dL.
Multiply the mg/dL by 88.4 to get mol/L.

To convert Creatinine clearance readings:-
Divide the ml/s by 0.0167 to get ml/min.
Multiply the ml/min L by 0.0167 to get ml/s.

To convert degrees C to degrees F
Take the degrees C, multiply by 9. Divide the answer by 5. Add 32. That will give you your degrees F.
Eg. 37 x 9 = 333.
333 / 5 = 66.6.
66.6 + 32 = 98.6 degrees F

(Therefore 37 deg C equals 98.6 deg F)

To convert degrees F to degrees C
Take the degrees F, minus 32, divide the answer by 9, multiply that answer by 5.That will give you your degrees C.
Eg. 98.6 - 32 = 66.6
66.6 / 9 = 7.4
7.4 x 5 = 37 degrees C

To convert Fluoride readings:-
Divide µmol/L by 52.6 to get µg/mL
Multiply µg/mL by 52.6 to get µmol/L

To convert Glycated haemoglobin (glycosylated hemoglobin A1, A1C)
Conventional units use term - % of total hemoglobin
SI units use term - proportion of total haemoglobin
Divide ‘proportion of total haemoglobin’ by 0.01 to get ‘% of total hemoglobin’.
Multiply ‘% of total hemoglobin’ by 0.01 to get ‘proportion of total haemoglobin’

To convert Haemoglobin readings:- (See Note below)
Divide mmol/L by 0.6206 to get g/dl
Multiply g/dl by 0.6206 to get mmol/L

Note -
Sometimes the conventional units are given in g/L instead of g/dl. If that is the case do the following conversion first.
Divide g/L by 10.0 to get g/dL
Multiply g/dL by 10.0 to get g/L.

To convert Hematocrit readings:-
Conventional units use %
SI units use ‘proportion of 1.0’
Divide ‘proportion of 1.0’ by 0.01 to get %
Multiply % by 0.01 to get ‘proportion of 1.0’

To convert Insulin readings:-
Divide pmol/L by 6.945 to get µIU/mL
Multiply µIU/mL by 6.945 to get pmol/L

To convert Iron (total ) readings:-
Divide µmol/L by 0.179 to get µg/dL
Multiply µg/dL by 0.179 to get µmol/L

To convert LDL and HDL readings:-
Divide the mg/dL by 38.67 to get mmol/L.
Multiply the mmol/L by 38.67 to get mg/dL.
OR
Divide the mmol/L by 0.0259 to get mg/dL
Multiply the mg/dL by 0.0259 to get mmol/

To convert Magnesium readings:-
Divide the µg/dl by 5.494 to get µmol/L
Multiply the µmol/L by 5.494 to get µg/dl

To convert Platelets (thrombocytes) readings:-
See Blood cells above.

To convert Potassium readings:-
Divide the mEq/l by 1 to get mmol/L.
Multiply the mmol/L by 1 to get mEq/l. This is therefore a 1-1 conversion. (The two are the same!)

To convert Protein (serum total) readings:-
Divide g/dl by 0.1000 to get g/L
Multiply g/L by 0.1000 to get g/dl
OR
Divide g/L by 10.0 to get g/dL
Multiply g/dL by 10.0 to get g/L

To convert Protein (urine/fluid total) readings:-
Divide mg/dl by 0.1000 to get mg/L
Multiply mg/L by 0.1000 to get mg/dl

To convert Red Blood cell count:-
(see note above under blood cells)
Because of the relationship of the different units being used the two readings are actually identical and don't need conversion.

To convert the Reticulocyte count readings:-
Conventional units use ‘% of RBCs’
SI units use ‘Proportion of 1.0’
Divide ‘Proportion of 1.0’ by 0.01 to get ‘% of RBCs’
Multiply ‘% of RBCs’ by 0.01 to get ‘Proportion of 1.0’

To convert Selenium readings:-
Divide the µg/dl by 7.896 to get µmol/L
Multiply the µmol/L by 7.896 to get µg/dl

To convert Serum Magnesium readings:-
Divide mmol/L by 0.411 to get mg/dl
Multiply mg/dL by 0.411 to get mmol/L
OR
Divide the mg/dl by 2,430 to get mmol/L
Multiply the mmol/L by 2.430 to get mg/dl
Or if your results are given in mEq/L then:-
Divide mmol/L by o.5o to get mEq/L
Multiply mEq/L by 0.50 to get mmol/L
OR
Divide mEq/L by 2.0 to get mmol/L
Multiply mmol/L by 2.0 to get mEq/L

To convert Serum Zinc readings:-
Divide the µg/dl by 6.541 to get µmol/L
Multiply the µmol/L by 6.541 to get µg/dl.
OR
Divide µmol/L by 0.153 to get µg/dL
Multiply the µg/dL by 0.153 to get µmol/L

To convert Sodium readings:-
Divide the mEq/l by 1 to get mmol/L.
Multiply the mmol/L by 1 to get mEq/l. This is therefore a 1-1 conversion. (The two are the same!)

To convert Thyroxine, free (T4) readings:-
Divide pmol/L by 12.87 to get ng/dL (nanograms per decilitre)
Multiply ng/dL by 12.87 to get pmol/L (picomoles per litre)

To convert Thyroxine, total (T4) readings:-
Divide nmol/L by 12.87 to get µg/dL
Multiply µg/dL by 12.87 to get nmol/L

To convert Total Cholesterol readings:-
Divide the mmol/L by 0.0259 to get mg/dL
Multiply the mg/dL by 0.0259 to get mmol/L

To convert Triiodothyronine free (T3) readings:-
Divide pmol/L by 0.0154 to get pg/dL
Multiply pg/dL by 0.0154 to get pmol/L

To convert Triiodothyronine total (T3) readings:-
Divide nmol/L by 0.0154 to get ng/dL
Multiply ng/dL by 0.0154 to get nmol/L

To convert Triglyceride readings:-
Divide the mg/dL by 88.57 to get mmol/L.
Multiply the mmol/L by 88.57 to get mg/dL.
OR
Divide mmol/L by 0.0113 to get mg/dL
Multiply mg/dL by 0.0113 to get mmol/L

To convert Urea Nitrogen (BUN) readings:-
Divide mmol/L by 0.357 to get mg/dL
Multiply mg/dL by 0.357 to get mmol/L

To convert Uric Acid readings:-
Divide µmol/L by 59.48 to get mg/dL
Multiply mg/dL by 59.48 to get µmol/L

To convert Vitamin A (retinol) readings:-
Divide µmol/L by 0.0349 to get µg/dL
Multiply µg/dL by 0.0349 to get µmol/L

To convert Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) readings:-
Divide nmol/L by 4.046 to get ng/mL
Multiply ng/mL by 4.046 to get nmol/L

To convert Vitamin B12 (cyanocobalamin) readings:-
Divide pmol/L by 0.738 to get pg/mL
Multiply pg/mL by 0.738 to get pmol/L

To convert Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) readings:-
Divide µmol/L by 56.78 to get mg/dL
Multiply mg/dL by 56.78 to get µmol/L

To convert Vitamin D readings:-
a)1,25-Dihydroxyvitamin D
Divide pmol/L by 2.6 to get pg/mL
Multiply pg/mL by 2.6 to get pmol/L
Or
b)25-Hydroxyvitamin D
readings:-
Divide nmol/L by 2.496 to get ng/mL
Multiply ng/mL by 2.496 to get nmol/L

To convert Vitamin E readings:-
Divide µmol/L by 23.22 to get mg/dL
Multiply mg/dL by 23.22 to get µmol/L

To convert Vitamin K readings:-
Divide nmol/L by 2.22 to get ng/mL
Multiply ng/mL by 2.22 to get nmol/L

To convert White Blood cell count:-
(see note above under blood cells)
Because of the relationship of the different units being used the two readings are actually identical and don't need conversion.

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