People With Diabetes and Sickle Cell Trait Should Have Reliable A1C Test
December - 4 - 2007
The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive Kidney Diseases has announced that there is a necessity for more accurate A1C testing for individuals with diabetes that have the sickle cell trait (variant S) or other genetic hemoglobin variations. The A1C test detects an individual's average level of blood glucose control within a two to three month span. Though test is heavily relied upon for prescribed diabetes treatment by physicians, it is not a preferred method for evaluating diagnosis of diabetes. In individuals exhibiting extraordinarily high results from an A1C test, diagnosis of diabetes is confirmed by a fasting blood glucose test. While there are 20 separate methods of A1C assessment in the nation, six of the tests are unreliable for patients with the sickle cell trait, says Dr. Randie Little of the National Glycohemoglobin Standardization Program. Since sickle cell is asymptomatic, many patients are unaware of their condition. For individuals who are African, Mediterranean, or Southeast Asian, an A1C result of over 15 percent could indicate the presence of a hemoglobin variant. A1C results that are incommensurate with self-blood glucose monitoring or testing yielding a significantly different result compared to previous tests could also be indicative of a hemoglobin variation.
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HHS News Release (11/28/07)