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patient education

Sickle cell trait and diabetes tests: What every healthcare provider should know

key information

source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), the hemoglobin A1C assay may be unreliable for diagnosing and monitoring diabetes and prediabetes in individuals with sickle cell trait (SCT) or other hemoglobinopathies. In order to provide the best possible care for your patients, it is important to determine their SCT status and know whether the A1C test you normally use should be replaced or supplemented with a different test.


Can the hemoglobin A1C test identify SCT?

No. The hemoglobin A1C test is not designed to look for SCT, but some test methods for hemoglobin A1C might detect“variant hemoglobin,” which could in some cases be sickle hemoglobin. However, this result should not be considered a diagnostic test for SCT. SCT should be diagnosed only by using a test approved for hemoglobin identification.


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