Type 2 diabetes is a disorder of blood sugar regulation and caused by several different risk factors. Approximately 90% of the diabetes cases in Canada are type 2.
Hemoglobin (Hb) is a protein in red blood cells (erythrocytes) and becomes glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) when it joins with glucose (sugar) in the blood. The amount of glucose that combines with this protein is directly proportional to the total amount of sugar that is in your system at that time. A higher proportion of blood sugar is an indicator of diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is routinely diagnosed by measuring the concentration of glycated hemoglobin and is expressed as a percentage of total hemoglobin. A cutoff of 6.5% and greater is used to diagnose and monitor diabetes.
This method of measurement however can have issues with both sensitivity and specificity and the potential to provide an inaccurate result and diagnosis. This research project aims to develop a first of its kind quantitative assay for measuring the HbA1c% in single erythrocytes to define the distribution of HbA1c%. It is hypothesized that measurement of HbA1c% from single erythrocytes will allow early detection of patients tipping toward type 2 diabetes and minimize false results.
According to BC guidelines for diabetes care over 29,000 British Columbians are diagnosed with diabetes per year and reducing misdiagnosis would minimize inadvertent negative health outcomes and overall health delivery costs associated with misdiagnoses.