When blood glucose enters the erythrocytes it glycosylates the e-amino group of lysine residues and the amino terminals of hemoglobin. The fraction of hemoglobin glycosylated, normally about 5%, is proportionate to blood glucose concentration. Since the half-life of an erythrocyte is typically 60 days, the level of glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c) reflects the mean blood glucose concentration over the preceding 6-8 weeks. Measurement of HbA1c therefore provides valuable information for management of diabetes mellitus.
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