Are Hemoglobin Levels Elevated in Type 1 Diabetes?

  1. Baqiyyah N Conway, PhD,
  2. Rachel G Miller, MS and
  3. Trevor J Orchard, MD (OrchardT{at}
  1. University of Pittsburgh


    Objective: While lower hemoglobin is generally associated with adverse events in diabetes, we have recently observed in type 1 diabetes that those with overt nephropathy had hemoglobin levels as high as 18.8 g/dL. We thus explored whether hemoglobin concentrations are generally higher in type 1 diabetes.

    Research Design and Methods: Baseline (1986-1988) hemoglobin levels from the Pittsburgh Epidemiology of Diabetes Complications (EDC) of type 1 diabetes study were compared to general population data from the NHANES III in the same age range as the EDC population (8-48 years).

    Results: Both male and female EDC study participants had significantly higher hemoglobin levels than their NHANES III counterparts (men: 16.0 vs 15.1 g/dL, p<0.0001; women: 14.1 vs 13.3 g/dL, p<0.0001). The difference between the two populations was greatest in adolescent females.

    Conclusions: Hemoglobin levels maybe higher in type 1 diabetes than in the general population which may have important clinical implications.


      • Received April 14, 2009.
      • Accepted November 2, 2009.