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what is hemoglobin

By Anonymous October 6, 2011 - 5:25am
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Hi Anon,

Hemoglobin is the protein molecule in red blood cells that carries oxygen from the lungs to the body's tissues and returns carbon dioxide from the tissues to the lungs.

What does a low hemoglobin level mean?

A low hemoglobin is referred to as anemia. There are many reasons for anemia.

Some of the more common causes are:
loss of blood (traumatic injury, surgery, bleeding colon cancer or stomach ulcer),
nutritional deficiency (iron, vitamin B12, folate),
bone marrow problems (replacement of bone marrow by cancer,
suppression by chemotherapy drugs,
kidney failure), and
abnormal hemoglobin (sickle cell anemia).

Higher than normal hemoglobin levels can be seen in people living at high altitudes and in people who smoker. Dehydration produces a falsely high hemoglobin which disappears when proper fluid balance is restored.

Some other infrequent causes are:
advanced lung disease (for example, emphysema),
certain tumors,
a disorder of the bone marrow known as polycythemia rubra vera, and
abuse of the drug erythropoietin (Epogen) by athletes for blood doping purposes.

Sickle cell disease is a genetic condition in which the quality of hemoglobin is defective. This condition can cause abnormal hemoglobin which, in turn, can result in abnormally shaped (sickled) red blood cells. These abnormal red blood cells cannot easily pass through small blood vessels and, therefore, could deprive the body organs of adequate oxygen.

Thalassemia refers to a group of hereditary conditions with quantitative hemoglobin deficiency. The body's failure to make globulin molecules will lead to compensatory mechanism to make other less compatible globulin molecules. The severity of these conditions depend on the type of deficient globulin chain and the severity of the underproduction. Mild disease may be only present as mild anemia, whereas, severe deficiency may not be compatible with life.

These are all of the conditions associated with your hemoglobin.



October 6, 2011 - 6:15am
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