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Diabetes

Giving blood and lab results

02/11/2010

Question:

I have had type I diabetes for many years and have had trouble keeping good control. My A1C has been in the 8.0-8.4 range. I recently started on an insulin pump. After 2 months on the pump, my A1C was 7.3 But ... I had given blood 3 days before my lab work and my dr. was concerned that this the A1C wasn`t accurate because my blood count was low. How much would giving blood affect my lab results?

Answer:

in the very short-term(meaning within 3-5 days), giving blood probably would not have a significant effect on the A1c.  Over a "longer" time period (unfortunately I can't put a number on that), there may be some effect of giving blood to stimulate the formation of new blood cells which would in turn reduce the average age of the red blood cells present in the circulation and thereby reduce the HbA1c (again at this point I can't put a number on how much it would reduce the value).  Best answer is to do additional measurements over time and see whether the effect persists or not.

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Response by:

Robert M Cohen, MD Robert M Cohen, MD
Professor of Clinical Medicine
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati