From Hamilton, New Jersey, USA:
I am a Medical Technologist, and I have always read that the lifespan of a red blood cell is a 120 days. I was surprised to see it listed as approximately 90 days. Can you explain the discrepancy?
You are correct. Red blood cells last 120 days. However, if you are talking about interpreting hemoglobin A1c, you must take into account that glucose attaches to amino acids differentially (more to the younger cells than the older ones), and so there is not an equal attachment to any isolated red blood cell on any given day. So, the time weighted average glucose is not equal to 120 days of the RBC life span, but more closely represents what the RBC sees in the previous 30-60 days. So, some folks think that getting A1c determinations more often than 120 days provides additional information. The DCCT obtained A1c values monthly.
Original posting 20 Mar 2001
Posted to A1c, Glycohemoglobin, HgbA1c
Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:09:20
This Internet site provides information of a general nature and is designed for educational purposes only. If you have any concerns about your own health or the health of your child, you should always consult with a physician or other health care professional.
This site is published by T-1 Today, Inc. (d/b/a Children with Diabetes), a 501c3 not-for-profit organization, which is responsible for its contents. Our mission is to provide education and support to families living with type 1 diabetes.
© Children with Diabetes, Inc. 1995-2016. Comments and Feedback.