My CGM (Libre) has me at between 105-110 average glucose over the past year.
Yet, when I compare my CGM readings 15 minutes after my blood glucose level at the time of blood draw, they are about 20% lower than the lab’s glucose levels.
Meanwhile, the past two A1c tests have returned results of 4.1 and 4.2.
I don’t have any of the common conditions that would lead to an exceedingly low A1c. I’ve done some research and there is supposedly a possibility that I have a weird type of hemoglobin that can screw up A1c results. The question is - by how much? And are there any other possible factors to consider?
Any info/insights greatly appreciated!
Jon, fantastic A1c and average glucose level, even if they are 10 or 20 points lower than your meter. As far as conditions, you could just have a normal but lower than average lifespan in your red blood cells. The test is predicated on everyone’s red blood cells lasting a similar length of time.
@JonDeutsch, your CGM typically skews your readings low. It seems to us that this has become more true in the past 2 years. I think the reason is clear: the CGM has some imprecision built in, and the manufacturer would like to skew the error off in the direction of the CGM being lower than reality, rather than the opposite. The Dexcom G5 uses several strategies to make this happen–we have not converted to the G6 yet by I am pretty sure that will be true with any CGM.
@Chris, kudos on the blood cell lifespan possibility: I had read about it a good bit, but it did not come to me at all when I was reading the question
Thanks. I specifically scanned my CGM at time of blood draw (105mg/dl), and 15 minutes after the blood draw (107mg/dl). Blood draw showed glucose at 130mg/dl.
I recognize they measure different things, which helps explain the delta a bit. But when the A1c comes back at 4.2… it makes you wonder which measure to trust the most!
I acknowledge that every measure has a margin of error of around 20% – including A1c, blood draws, and CGMs. If we extend 20% margins of errors over the worst possible spectrum, we get:
CGM: 107 + 20% = 128.4. Essentially the same as the blood draw.
Blood draw: 130 - 20% = 104. Essentially the same as the CGM scan (average BGL over 90 days on CGM is around 105).
A1c: 4.2 is “equiv” to BGL 74, which is 40% shy of the acceptable margin of error above, over 3 months, given my CGM reporting trends.
So… would any physiological issue create a 40% nosedive in A1c? Do we know how “off” these conditions can make A1c reports?
And, given all of this wonderful data at my disposal , I need to figure out who to believe.
The conservative side of me tends to believe that the blood draw numbers are more accurate than CGM scans, which would lead me to the conclusion that my CGM is reporting back 20% lower than reality. But, honestly, the moderate side of me doesn’t believe this at all. The moderate in me believes that my CGM, being the one that’s in-between the two extremes, is probably the most accurate. And the progressive in me sees the CGM as the most modern assessment device we have now (and is the one that’s tracking me consistently for over 18 months), and is actually the one to trust!
Interesting! I found out I was severely deficient in ferritin (literally so low it was below their measuring capability), and even though my RBC was normal, my MCV had dropped a little, my RCW was higher, and both my MCH and MHCH were a bit low. My A1c had also gone up, which I expected so didn’t think much of it at the time, but I’ve been supplementing with iron, and my ferritin is now in the a bit deficient but not as horrifically range and my CBC stats are all WNL if not all quite to my personal normal yet. I expected my A1c to be about the same, based on my Dexcom, but it went down significantly. However, presumably the current value is probably the better one? since my blood cells are heading more toward normal, but it is more discrepant with my Dex. Hmm.