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High Hemoglobin indicator of Blindness

Diabetics should monitor their CBC (complete blood count) to check for their hemoglobin level, as this may be a factor that can increase the risk of impaired vision.

This was after high level of hemoglobin (an oxygen-transport component in red blood cells) was discovered to be linked to proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR), an eye problem that afflicts people with diabetes and a cause for severe vision loss or even blindness.

The findings, based on a Pittsburgh Epidemiology of Diabetes Complications study, said that the blood flow-altering property of diabetes causes the retinopathy. The Pittsburgh study analyzed 426 participants between 2004 and 2007, all of which had no previous record of having PDR 18 years ago. After the evaluation, it was discovered that the growing incidence of PDR between the patients was 48 percent, regardless of gender.

The only gender difference lay in the curve of the link between hemoglobin and PDR incidence: men had a linear positive such that risk increases as hemoglobin level increases; while women had a U-shaped association during the study’s span of 18 years such that below 13.4 g/dL of hemoglobin, the risk also starts to increase. The study authors suggest that these differences are likely due to the fact that only five men had hemoglobin levels at or below 13.4 g/dL.

“Initially, it is conceivable that hemoglobin levels could help identify those most at risk, allowing initiation of general intensive prevention, like HbA1c and blood pressure control, ” said Dr. Trevor Orchard from the University of Pittsburgh.

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