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USC - University of Southern California Cardiothoracic Surgery at University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine
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Glossary of Terms

A protein consisting of hematin and globin, which gives red blood cells, and therefore blood, its red color. Hemoglobin is the substance in the red blood cell that is responsible for transporting oxygen to the tissues of the body’s organs. Within the organs, the hemoglobin releases the oxygen to the tissues and takes on the carbon dioxide (CO2) from the organ’s tissues. Once the red blood cells with the CO2 is transported to the lungs, the hemoglobin allows the CO2 to exit and takes on a fresh load of oxygen. Different conditions can cause a deficit of hemoglobin, which is referred to as anemia. Part of the hemoglobin complex contains iron. Diets deficient of iron can result in insufficient hemoglobin, which is referred to as "iron deficiency anemia".


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