Hemoglobinopathies May Distort HbA1C

Natasha Patel, PharmD Candidate, LECOM College of Pharmacy

Measuring glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) gives us a patient’s long term average blood glucose levels.1

Since HbA1c measures the percentage of patients’ glycosolated hemoglobin, patients who possess variants of hemoglobin can exhibit false readings. Such variants, called hemoglobinopathies, can include inherited hemoglobin variants, elevated fetal hemoglobin, and hemoglobin S and E which are prevalent in people of Southeast Asia, Mediterranean, and African descent. 2 One variant of particular concern is the sickle cell trait. People with this trait have inherited biological differences affecting the formation of their hemoglobin and erythrocytes, which in turn affects their levels of glycated hemoglobin. 5

People who have the sickle cell trait have both normal hemoglobin A and hemoglobin S. In the U.S., African Americans are at a higher risk of having the sickle cell trait, and approximately 18.7 percent of African Americans who are 20 years and older have diabetes. 2 In people who have both the sickle cell trait and diabetes, about 1 million people in the U.S., using HbA1c to measure blood glucose levels can be prone to anomalies. People with these hemoglobin variants can have falsely low or high levels which can lead to improper treatment including: HbA1c readings that are different than expected; HbA1c levels that are extremely different from previous HbA1c readings; or low correlations between HbA1c and self-monitored glucose levels. 2

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Healthy alternatives to medicine

1. Exercise! – Studies have shown that regular exercise can be as effective or better than antidepressants or psychotherapy, says Dr. Mary Caracoglia.

2. Gardening! is known for its meditative and relaxing effects. Medical News Today reports UK scientists found a helpful bacteria in soil that affects the brain in nearly the same way anti depressants do – by increasing the release of serotonin.

3. Ingesting good fats! like omega 3 have been known to produce a positive affect on brain neurotransmitters and is critical for the functionality of the nervous system.

4. Meditation! BBC News reports that meditation reduces depression by over 50%. –
(we know! … not the best source – but we gather links from all over the web)

5. Natural Vitamins!. Studies show that vitamin B-12, Folic acid, vitamin D3 and Tyrosine are fantastic vitamins that naturally fight depression. You can find them in foods like: Fish, Oysters, Beans, Nuts, Whole Grains, and Leafy Vegetables.

6. GET MORE SUN! Light early in the morning is highly effective on altering your mood positively. Natural sunshine and using light therapy have shown they can have a positive effect as well.

7. BURN SOME INCENSE! A study (that can be found at The Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology) has shown that burning resin from the Boswellia plant activates ion channels in the brain that alleviate depression. Floracopeia provides high quality, organic frankincense available as incense and oil.

8. WATCH WHAT YOU EAT! Carbohydrates, alcohol – caffeine and dairy have been reported to cause your mood to plummet. Helpful Tip: Try keeping a food diary of the things you eat and the way you feel each day. (big help)

9. St. John’s Wort! the wild yellow flower has been used for medicinal purposes for thousands of years. St. John’s Wort is helpful in treating mild to moderate depression. According to two large studies, one sponsored by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

10. GET MORE SLEEP! Irritability and mood swings can often be due to lack of sleep. You need about eight hours a night but most people get less! Stay healthy naturally!



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