Type 1 diabetes indicator is different in African-American and Caucasian children

A recent study conducted at the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center in New Orleans has reported that the hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) response to blood glucose is different in African-American and Caucasian children with type 1 diabetes.

HbA1c is the diagnostic test that is used to monitor the disease and to guide decisions on appropriate treatment.

"The HbA1c can be deceptive in African-American children with diabetes, misleading their doctors into believing that glucose levels are higher than they really are," said lead investigator Stuart A. Chalew, who serves as head of the division of endocrinology at the New Orleans School of Medicine. "If doctors don't take both HbA1c and self-monitored blood sugar levels into account, they are likely to unintentionally provoke increased episodes of life-threatening hypoglycemia in [these] patients."

The team followed 276 young patients at the Children's Hospital of New Orleans. They obtained HbA1c levels and mean blood glucose levels, and observed significant differences in hemoglobin glycation index (HGI) - which assesses biological variation in HbA1c - between children of these two ethnicities.

They concluded that there is a need for alternate therapies to reduce type 1 diabetes complications, aside from insulin and other agents that are involved in lowering glucose.
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