I'm 49, premenopausal and severely anemic. I have really horrible periods (sorry guys if that's TMI) and that's the reason for my really low iron readings.
Anyhoo, I'm hoping this is going to end soon because I haven't had a period in about, oh a two, maybe three months and quite frankly I hope I NEVER see it again.
But in the mean time, I read something kinda disturbing and that's that iron deficient anemia can/may cause lower than normal A1c readings.
I called the ADA hotline, they pointed me to an article on this site. From what I can understand, current research inconclusive...but it seems to me they only tested this on non-diabetic people. I can't find it now, but I think this is it below, but I'm really unclear how this relates to me.
The major form of glycohemoglobin is hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c). The HbA1c fraction is abnormally elevated in chronic hyperglycemic diabetic patients and correlates positively with glycemic control. Previous studies suggest that iron deficiency anemia (IDA) affects the levels of HbA1c. The aim of this study was to determine the effect of IDA on HbA1c levels in nondiabetic patients. The population studied consisted of 50 patients (30 women, 20 men, mean age 35.7 � 11.9 years) with IDA and 50 healthy subjects that were matched for age and sex. Patients who had glucose tolerance abnormalities (impaired glucose tolerance or diabetes mellitus), hemoglobinopathies, hemolytic anemia, chronic alcohol ingestion and chronic renal failure were excluded from the study. Hematologic investigations, fasting and postprandial glucose and HbA1c levels were measured in all subjects before iron therapy. All patients with IDA were treated with iron 100 mg/day for 3 months. We repeated the laboratory investigation after iron therapy. Before iron treatment, the mean HbA1c (7.4 � 0.8%) level in patients with IDA was higher than in a healthy group (5.9% � 0.5) (p < 0.001). In patients with IDA, HbA1c decreased significantly after iron treatment from a mean of 7.4% � 0.8 to 6.2% � 0.6 (p < 0.001). Iron deficiency must be corrected before any diagnostic or therapeutic decision is made based on HbA1c.
This is a known factor affecting A1c, one that I have discussed with my doctor. There is more than one cause of anemia, however, and different kinds of anemia can affect A1c differently. Internal bleeding can cause a low red blood cell account, so it seems logical that heavy periods might do the same. In that case your condition might be on the verge of improvement. Low iron also can cause anemia, as implied in the phrase iron-deficient anemia. What I was told, and I cn;t remember the whole explanation, is that with different cause of anemia, A1c could be influenced in a higher or a lower direction, and so has to be considered in evaluating A1c...