13 February 2013

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Know Understand what is Hemoglobin Low Count High Count Hemoglobin refers to what

Know Understand what is Hemoglobin Low Count High Count Hemoglobin refers to what

What is hemoglobin?

The role of hemoglobin in the blood was elucidated by physiologist Claude Bernard.

The name hemoglobin is derived from the words heme and globin, reflecting the fact that each subunit of hemoglobin is a globular protein with an embedded heme group.

Hemoglobin is also spelled as haemoglobin and abbreviated as Hb or Hgb

The iron contained in hemoglobin is also responsible for the red color of blood.
The red is due to the porphyrin moiety of hemoglobin to which the iron is bound, not the iron itself

Hemoglobin maintains the shape of the red blood cells.
In their natural shape, red blood cells are round with narrow centers.
Like a donut without a hole in the middle.

When Hemoglobin becomes Abnormal, then structure or shape of red blood cells changes and impedes their function and flow through blood vessels.

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 back to the lungs.

Hemoglobin in the blood carries oxygen from the respiratory organs (lungs or gills) to the rest of the body (i.e. the tissues) where it releases the oxygen to burn nutrients to provide energy to power the functions of the organism, and collects the resultant carbon dioxide to bring it back to the respiratory organs to be dispensed from the organism.

Hemoglobin is made up of four protein molecules (globulin chains) that are connected together.

Each globulin chain contains an important central structure called the heme molecule.
Embedded within the heme molecule is iron that is vital in transporting oxygen and carbon dioxide in our blood.

The normal adult hemoglobin (Hbg) molecule contains two alpha-globulin chains and two beta-globulin chains.

In infants, beta chains are not common and the hemoglobin molecule is made up of two alpha chains and two gamma chains.

As the infant grows, the gamma chains are gradually replaced by beta chains, forming the adult hemoglobin structure.

When or Why Doctor will order you to go for a Hemoglobin Test?
Hemoglobin is routinely measured as part of a routine blood test termed complete blood count (CBC).

A complete blood count is one of the most common tests doctors order for a patient

A hemoglobin test measures the amount of hemoglobin in your blood.

Doctor may suggest a hemoglobin test if patient tells to doctor that he is feeling
3)shortness of breath

These above  signs and symptoms may point to anemia

Doctor may test your hemoglobin as part of a complete blood count during a routine medical examination to monitor  general health and to screen for a variety of disorders, such as anemia.

If your blood sample is being tested only for hemoglobin, you can eat and drink normally before the test.

If your blood sample will be used for additional tests, you may need to follow the requirement of that test like not eating before test etc.

Hemoglobin A1c Test

The hemoglobin A1c test is a measure of the approximate glucose level that occurred in a person usually a person with diabetes  over about a 3-month period by determining the person’s percent of hemoglobin A1c.
Hemoglobin A1c is also known as glycated hemoglobin

Normal amounts of hemoglobin A1c are about 4%–5.9%.

Hemoglobin A1c at 6% correlates to an average glucose level over 3 months of 135 mg/dl.

Often, the recommended goal for a person with diabetes is 6.5% hemoglobin A1c (representing a glucose level of 152.5 mg/dl on average).

How Hemoglobin is measured and what are normal values counts of hemoglobin?

Blood Sample is taken to measure the count of Hemoglobin.

For a hemoglobin test   nurse  takes a sample of blood by pricking your fingertip or inserting a needle into a vein in your arm.

For infants, the sample may be obtained by pricking the baby's heel.

The blood sample is sent to a lab for analysis. 

Now a day’s machine is used to count Hemoglobin.

Within the machine, the red blood cells are broken down to get the hemoglobin into a solution. The free hemoglobin is exposed to chemical containing cyanide which binds tightly with the hemoglobin molecule to form cyanomethemoglobin.

By shining a light through the solution and measuring how much light is absorbed (specifically at a wavelength of 540 nanometers), the amount of hemoglobin can be determined.

The hemoglobin level is expressed as the amount of hemoglobin
in grams (gm) per deciliter (dL) of whole blood, a deciliter being 100 milliliters.

The normal ranges for hemoglobin depend on the age and gender.

Following are the normal ranges of Hemoglobin

Newborns: 17 to 22 gm/dL

One (1) week of age: 15 to 20 gm/dL

One (1) month of age: 11 to 15gm/dL

Children: 11 to 13 gm/dL

Adult males: 14 to 18 gm/dL

Adult women: 12 to 16 gm/dL

Men after middle age: 12.4 to 14.9 gm/dL

Women after middle age: 11.7 to 13.8 gm/dL

What is the meaning of low Hemoglobin count in body?

A low hemoglobin level is referred to as anemia or low red blood count.

There are many reasons for anemia

Following are the few reasons for low count of Hemoglobin

1)    nutritional deficiency (iron, vitamin B12, folate)
2)    Cancer or chemotherapy drugs
3)    Stomach ulcer

Bur normal and common reason is nutritional deficiency.

Anemias are classified by the size of red blood cells, the cells that contain hemoglobin in vertebrates. The anemia is called "microcytic" if red cells are small, "macrocytic" if they are large, and "normocytic" otherwise.

What does mean high level of Hemoglobin count in body?

Low or High, both are not good for body.

Hemoglobin range should be normal as per above chart.

Few reasons for High Level of Hemoglobin in body?

Higher Hemoglobin count can be seen in people living at high altitudes

people who smoke


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.

Short Research History of Hemoglobin

In 1825, J.F. Engelhard  discovered that the ratio of iron to protein is identical in the hemoglobins of several species. From the known atomic mass of iron he calculated the molecular mass of hemoglobin to n × 16000 (n = number of irons per hemoglobin, now known to be 4),
the first determination of a protein's molecular mass.

Adair confirmed Engelhard's results in 1925 by measuring the osmotic pressure of hemoglobin solutions

The oxygen-carrying protein hemoglobin was discovered by Hünefeld in 1840.

In 1851,  Otto Funke published a series of articles in which he described growing hemoglobin crystals by successively diluting red blood cells with a solvent such as pure water, alcohol, or ether, followed by slow evaporation of the solvent from the resulting protein solution.

Hemoglobin's reversible oxygenation was described a few years later by Felix Hoppe-Seyler.

In 1959, Max Perutz determined the molecular structure of myoglobin(similar to hemoglobin) by X-ray crystallography.

This work resulted in his sharing with John Kendrew the 1962 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

Suggested Reading –

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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Tags – Hemoglobin Low Count High Count Reason


MEcoy February 13, 2013  

this is such a helpful post
i mean this is something we must know

Self Sagacity February 13, 2013  

This is great info on hemoglobin. I can't wait to read the other two posts. thanks!