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Association between Hemoglobin and Hemoglobin A<sub>1c</sub>: A Data-Driven Analysis of Health Checkup Data in Japan

  • Takeuchi, Masato
    Department of Pharmacoepidemiology, Graduate School of Medicine and Public Health, Kyoto University
  • Kawakami, Koji
    Department of Pharmacoepidemiology, Graduate School of Medicine and Public Health, Kyoto University

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  • Association between Hemoglobin and Hemoglobin A1c: A Data-Driven Analysis of Health Checkup Data in Japan

Abstract

Background: Interpretation of hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) levels may be confounded by spurious results in anemic persons, but its degree is not well-established. Methods: We used an employer-based health insurance database, containing health checkup data and medical claims data; both were linked via a unique identifier of each beneficiary. This study included persons aged 18–75 years who participated in health checkups, with a confirmed or suspected diagnosis of diabetes. The relationship between hemoglobin (Hb) and HbA1c is shown in a spline curve using a machine learning technique accounting for patient factors and within-person correlations. Spline curves were also shown in several sub-populations. Results: Overall, a decreased Hb value was associated with a lower HbA1c value, but the extent differed among populations. In the whole cohort of the type-2 diabetes group (55, 420 persons), the curve was generally a plateau in the persons with a Hb value <120–130 g/L. Among the 18, 478 persons with HbA1c around 48 mmol/mol, we observed a liner trend. Among the current glucose-lowering medication users (6253 persons), we found a right upward curve. Conclusions: The relationship between Hb and HbA1c may not be straightforward, varying among populations of different clinical interest. Our results indicate that a simple formulation between the Hb and HbA1c values is unlikely.

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