Determination of Glucose-Independent Racial Disparity in HbA1c for Youth With Type 1 Diabetes in the Era of Continuous Glucose Monitoring

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Journal of Diabetes Science and Technology


Background: The magnitude and importance of higher HbA1c levels not due to mean blood glucose (MBG) in non-Hispanic black (B) versus non-Hispanic white (W) individuals is controversial. We sought to clarify the relationship of HbA1c with glucose data from continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) in a young biracial population. Methods: Glycemic data of 33 B and 85 W, healthy youth with type 1 diabetes (age 14.7 ± 4.8 years, M/F = 51/67, duration of diabetes 5.4 ± 4.7 years) from a factory-calibrated CGM was compared with HbA1c. Hemoglobin glycation index (HGI) = assayed HbA1c − glucose management index (GMI). Results: B patients had higher unadjusted levels of HbA1c, MBG, MBGSD, GMI, and HGI than W patients. Percent glucose time in range (TIR) and percent sensor use (PSU) were lower for B patients. Average HbA1c in B patients 8.3% was higher than 7.7% for W (P < .0001) after statistical adjustment for MBG, age, gender, insulin delivery method, and accounting for a race by PSU interaction effect. Higher HbA1c persisted in B patients when TIR was substituted for MBG. Predicted MBG was higher in B patients at any level of PSU. The 95th percentile for HGI was 0.47 in W patients, and 52% of B patients had HGI ≥ 0.5. Time below range was similar for both. Conclusions: Young B patients have clinically relevant higher average HbA1c at any given level of MBG or TIR than W patients, which may pose an additional risk for diabetes complications development. HGI ≥ 0.5 may be an easy way to identify high-risk patients.

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