The clinical utility of diabetes biomarkers can be considered in terms of diagnosis, management and prediction of long-term vascular complications. Glucose satisfies all of these requirements. Thresholds of hyperglycemia diagnostic of diabetes reflect inflections that confer a risk of developing long-term microvascular complications. Degrees of hyperglycemia (impaired fasting glucose, impaired glucose tolerance) that lie below the diagnostic threshold for diabetes identify individuals at risk of progression to diabetes and/or development of atherothrombotic cardiovascular disease. Self-measured glucose levels usefully complement hemoglobin A1c levels to guide daily management decisions. Continuous glucose monitoring provides detailed real-time data that is of value in clinical decision making, assessing response to new diabetes drugs and the development of closed-loop artificial pancreas technology.