Hemoglobin A1C: Reason for the Test and the Science Behind It

Chemistry, Health
[caption id="attachment_28695" align="alignright" width="480"] Red blood cells or erythrocytes.[/caption]The term HbA1C and its more common abbreviation A1C, is a familiar term to the diabetic or pre-diabetic patient. A1C refers to blood hemoglobin that has bonded to sugar molecules. It is easy to detect, and since it is stable over time, the A1C blood test is an excellent indicator of "blood sugar" level. Article Contents We here present artwork and a brief text, coupled with a most helpful Khan Academy video, so that, hopefully, the pre-diabetic or diabetic patient, who has a measure of technical background, can understand what the A1C test is all about. Hemoglobin Image Our second image illustrates hemoglobin's 3-D branch structure using red for its two alpha (α) chains and blue for its two beta (β) chains.…
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Carbon Monoxide is More Dangerous than Carbon Dioxide

[caption id="attachment_5355" align="alignright" width="440"] Carboxyhemoglobin - CCA SA 3.0 Unported by Rifleman 82[/caption] Human and animal life requires an exchange of oxygen (O2) and carbon dioxide (CO2). If the atmosphere contains more than a minimum of carbon monoxide (CO), life is at risk. Why? Consider the properties that distinguish carbon dioxide from the monoxide. Carbon Dioxide Carbon dioxide contains two atoms of oxygen bonded to one atom of carbon. The structure is written O=C=O. The length of its double bonds is 116.3 picometers. Bonding is covalent, not ionic. Water solubility at 250C is 1.45 g/l. Carbon Monoxide Carbon monoxide is written simply C≡O. The triple bond is 112.8 picometers. It consists of two polar covalent bonds plus a coordinate covalent bond. Its dissociation energy is 1072 kilojoules per mole. Water…
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Why Urine is Yellow

[caption id="attachment_3172" align="alignright" width="366"] A urine sample.[/caption] Admit it. You've always wondered why. Why is urine yellow? What chemical or chemicals are involved? Consider the primary red blood cell component, “heme.” Heme & Porphyrin Dorland’s Medical Dictionary for Health Consumers, 2007, informs us heme is “an iron compound of protoporphyrin which constitutes the pigment portion or protein-free part of the hemoglobin molecule.” Heme is the colorful portion (red) of our blood. Notice, in particular, the partial word in the definition, porphyrin. Recycling & Trash Red blood cells become old and need to be replaced. What happens to the old red blood cells? They are, first, consumed by macrophages in the blood. For the person who has his or her body intact, much of this occurs within the spleen. It also…
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