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    The global prevalence of diabetes mellitus has been growing in recent decades and the complications of longstanding type 2 diabetes continue to place a burden on healthcare systems. The hemoglobin A1c (Hb A1c) content of the blood is used to assess an individual's degree of glycemic control averaged over 2 to 3 months. In the USA, diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death. Black, indigenous, people of color (BIPOC) are disproportionately affected by diabetes compared to non-Hispanic whites. There are many reports of interaction of Hb A1c and hematologic conditions that have a high prevalence in the Black population; some of these effects are contradictory and not easily explained. This review attempts to document and categorize these apparently disparate effects and to assess any clinical impact. Hb A1C can be determined by a variety of techniques including cation-exchange chromatography, electrophoresis, immunoassays, and affinity chromatography. The amount of Hb A1c present in a patient specimen depends not only on blood glucose but is strongly influenced by erythrocyte survival and by structural variations in the globin chains. Sickling hemoglobinopathies are well-represented in the USA in African Americans and the effects of these hemoglobin disorders as well as G6PD deficiency is examined. Hb A1c measurement should always be performed with a cautious approach. The laboratory scientist should be aware of possible pitfalls in unquestioningly determining Hb A1c without a consideration of hematologic factors, both inherited and acquired. This presents a challenge as often times, the laboratory is not aware of the patient's race. © American Association for Clinical Chemistry 2020. All rights reserved. For permissions, please email:


    Neil S Harris, Kaitlin D Weaver, Stacy G Beal, William E Winter. The Interaction between Hb A1C and Selected Genetic Factors in the African American Population in the USA. The journal of applied laboratory medicine. 2021 Jan 12;6(1):167-179

    PMID: 33367812

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