Sickle Cell Gene Variant Lowers A1C Readings

An analysis of two major public health studies involving more than 4,600 people indicated that HbA1c readings were substantially lower in people with sickle cell trait (SCT) than in those without SCT.

Affecting 8 to 10 percent of African Americans, SCT is a genetic hemoglobin variant found in individuals who carry one copy of the variant. Carrying two copies leads to sickle cell disease.

The HbA1c analysis suggests physicians relying on this test may miss opportunities to diagnose and treat some people with pre, or type 2 diabetes. “We found the HbA1c was systematically lower in African-Americans with sickle cell trait than those without sickle cell trait despite similar blood sugar measurements using other tests,” said lead study author Mary Lacy, a doctoral candidate at Brown University School of Public Health.

Using standard HbA1c cutoffs, the study team discovered 40 percent fewer potential pre-diabetes cases, and 48 percent fewer potential diabetes cases were identified in people with SCT. However, using fasting and two-hour blood glucose tests, no appreciable difference in the detection of potential diabetes was found between SCT, and non-SCT individuals.

“For patients with diabetes, HbA1c is often used as a marker of how well they are managing their diabetes, so having an underestimation of their blood sugars is problematic because they might have a false sense of security, thinking they are doing okay when they are not,” said study author and cardiologist Wen-Chih Wu, Providence Veterans Affairs Medical Center, and associate professor at Brown University.

The strength of the HbA1c analysis is its large sample size that involved two studies with diverse populations. The investigation was also statistically controlled for demographic and medical factors such as age, gender, BMI, and diagnostic history.

Though the analysis does not explain why HbA1c readings are low with SCT, researchers suggest the hemoglobin variant might give some red blood cells decreased lifespans, so the hemoglobin would accumulate less blood glucose and give a low HbA1c reading.

“Irrespective of the reason...the underestimation is very real, and clinicians should consider screening for sickle cell trait and account for the difference in HbA1c,” said Wu.

Source: Futurity

Get A Free 7 Day Diabetes Meal Plan

Get a free 7-Day Diabetes Meal Plan from Constance Brown-Riggs who is a Registered Dietitian-Certified Diabetes Educator and who is also a national spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association.

Just enter in your email below to download your free Diabetes Meal Plan.

By clicking Submit, you agree to send your info to InformationAboutDiabetes.com who may contact you with updates and information and we agree to use it according to our privacy policy.

More Articles

Chamomile tea has long been prized for its calming properties, but few people realize it’s also beneficial for glucose regulation. Traditionally,...

Matcha tea is a rich, creamy, full-bodied beverage with amazing nutritional properties that address several diabetes health concerns. The trace...

One way to ensure our body gets a variety of nutrients is eating nutrient-dense foods, and one of the most nutrient-dense foods on our planet is...

It would be interesting to know how many people with diabetes actually use blood glucose control solutions to regularly check the accuracy of...

A mood is an internal state or condition of feeling. It colors everything else we experience, much like colored sunglasses add a tint to...

More Articles

Matcha tea is a rich, creamy, full-bodied beverage with amazing nutritional properties that address several diabetes health concerns. The trace...

A mood is an internal state or condition of feeling. It colors everything else we experience, much like colored sunglasses add a tint to...

Oil pulling therapy derives from Ayurveda, a holistic healing system developed thousands of years ago in India. Ayurvedic medicine maintains that...

You may think beer, wine, and liquor would be categorized as food, but in reality, alcohol is a drug. Just like medications, alcohol has powerful...

Chamomile tea has long been prized for its calming properties, but few people realize it’s also beneficial for glucose regulation. Traditionally,...

When it comes to certain foods, there are always questions as to whether or not a diabetic can have them without...

Hot weather does not directly alter blood glucose levels. However, sweltering temperatures affect our metabolism and the release of hormones. Heat...

Those who have not yet been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes can greatly reduce their susceptibility by doing one key...

Although diabetes is common, many people who have been diagnosed do not completely understand how it develops or whether it is hereditary....

With such a marked increase in the number of new diabetes cases, more people are wondering if type 1 diabetes...

The different sugar content of fruits can be confusing when you are trying to manage your...

A diabetes meal plan is a guide indicating what types of foods, and how much of them, people should eat at meal and snack time. Following a meal...

There are many causes for both male and female hair loss, including heredity, diet and illness. Could taking prescription insulin be one more...

Not only is dry skin uncomfortable, but scratched or cracked skin is also susceptible to bacterial and fungal infections – common medical...

Because it is Peripheral Neuropathy Awareness Week (May 7-13), this article is about a device people with neuropathy may not be aware of—a device...