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HbA1C variability among type 2 diabetic patients: a retrospective cohort study

Dikla Akselrod, Michael Friger,
Published: 18 September 2021

Abstract: Background Studies have found that HbA1C variability is an independent risk factor for diabetic complications in type 2 diabetic patients. This study aims to find factors contributing to higher HbA1C variability in the community. Methods The study was conducted in the southern district of Israel, in Clalit Health Services (CHS). The study population was type 2 diabetic individuals aged 40–70 years in 2005, with a follow-up period of 11 years, until 2015. The definition of HbA1C variability was done by the standard deviation from the average HbA1C value of the entire study period, which was calculated for each participant. The study population was divided into two groups, “variability group” with HbA1C SD > 1.2, and “comparison group” of participants with HbA1C SD ≤ 1.2. In the univariate analysis we used X2 or Fisher test for categorical variables and independent t-test for numeric continuous variables. In the multivariate analysis we used logistic regression as well as assessing for possible interactions. Statistical analysis was ascribed for p < 0.05. All the data was drawn from the computerized medical system used by all primary care physicians and nurses in CHS working in the community. Results The study population included 2866 participants, the average age was 58.6 years, 43.3% men and 56.7% women. Each participant had an average of 20.9 HbA1C measures in their computerized medical record during the 11 years of follow up. The mean HbA1C value was 7.8%. We found 632 patients (22%) with a high variability, whereas 2234 (78%) had a low variability of HbA1C. In the “variability group” there was a higher percentage of smokers, BMI ≥ 30 and a higher rate of visits to diabetic clinics compared to the “no variability” group. In the “variability group” we found a much higher use of insulin and ACE inhibitors. The highest frequency of variability was between HbA1c values of 8.1–8.5. The multivariate analysis showed that HbA1C variability was associated with insulin use (OR = 4.1, p < 0.001), with age (OR = 0.939, p < 0.001), and Ischemic heart disease (OR = 1.258, p = 0.03). BMI ≥ 30 was almost statistically significant (OR = 1.206, p = 0.063). Gender was statistically insignificant. Conclusions In conclusion, HbA1C variability might be used as an additional marker in Diabetes Mellitus type 2, reflecting the disease complexity characteristics and the patient’s lifestyle profile.
Keywords: Glycated hemoglobin A (HbA1C) / Diabetes Mellitus / Risk factors / Variability

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