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What is Hemogloben
Dec 31, 2002

I want to know what hemgloben is my doctor said that my white blood cells were to high but i couldn't really understand the rest she was talking about if you can let me know what is in a little less technical terms i would very much appreciate it

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

OK, I'll try, but first off I must say white blood cells have nothing to do with hemoglobin.

Hemoglobin is contained in red blood cells and is a protein that enables our red blood cells to carry oxygen from our lungs to the rest of our body. Normal levels for men are 14-18 g/dL and 12-16 g/dL for women.

White blood cells help defend our bodies against certain types of infections. A healthy white blood cell count can range from 4,000 to 11,000 (per cubic milliliter of blood). A high WBC count may mean your body is fighting an infection. A low count might be due to a bone marrow problem, HIV, or the effect of HIV medications.

Since this is an HIV information website, I'll assume you are HIV-positive. I would strongly suggest you sit down with your doctor and have her thoroughly explain your laboratory tests, especially those that are abnormal. If you don't understand what she is saying, tell her so.

Many folks with HIV know and understand their CD4 cell count and viral load, but practically none of their other laboratory tests. Hemoglobin level is a particularly important test. Low hemoglobin means you are anemic. Anemia has been associated with decreased quality of life (fatigue, etc.), as well as decreased survival. Treatment and correction of anemia have been associated with improved energy levels, quality of life, and survival!

Hope that helps. Happy Holidays.

Dr. Bob


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