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Sickle Cell Trait Skews Common Diabetes Test

Medical Team Nurse Talking with Senior Patient

A red blood cell trait common in African Americans and Latinos can cause a basic blood sugar test to miss signs of diabetes, according to Brown University School of Public Health researchers. The standard HbA1c test detects sugar levels by measuring the amount of glucose that adheres to red blood cells. In people with sickle cell disease or a single trait, their blood cells don’t last as long as in people without the disease, so their blood cells don’t collect as much glucose. Consequently, fewer cases of diabetes are detected in patients with the sickle cell trait. Read more about this finding in the Reuters article.