|Hemoglobin is the active,
oxygen-carrying component of red blood cells.
This protein, when fully oxygenated, is characteristically bright red.
Whenever it loses a significant amount of its' oxygen, it turns a dark
blue color. It takes about 6 grams of desaturated hemoglobin to cause a noticeable
change in color.
Increased in the Presence of:
- COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
- CHF (congestive heart failure)
Decreased in the Presence of:
- Chronic liver disease
- Transfusion reaction
- Drug/chemical reaction
- Mechanical disruption (artificial heart valves)
- Systemic Disease
- Carbon monoxide binds to the hemoglobin, rendering it incapable of
carrying oxygen, but clinically causes the victims' blood to be
- Smokers typically have elevated hemoglobin levels in response to
chronic, low-grade carbon monoxide poisoning and other mild
respiratory ailments. Because of the carbon monoxide binding, they may
still be functionally anemic, even though their hemoglobin levels look
- Adaptation to high altitudes includes moderate elevation of
- During the initial phases of an acute hemorrhage, the hemoglobin
levels generally doesn't change very much. Later, as extracellular
fluid is mobilized and IV fluids are incorporated, there is a
dilutional effect that will lead to a reduced hemoglobin level. This
fall in hemoglobin may take several hours to develop.
*These are general values taken from a variety of
sources. The actual normal values may vary from lab to lab and from one
type of testing protocol to another.
Operational Medicine 2001, Health
Care in Military Settings, NAVMED P-5139, May 1, 2001, Bureau
of Medicine and Surgery, Department of the Navy, 2300 E Street NW, Washington,