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What Color Is Blood With No Oxygen

by Annabel Caldwell
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What Color Is Blood With No Oxygen

What Color Is Blood With No Oxygen

Blood is always red. Blood that has been oxygenated (mostly flowing through the arteries) is bright red and blood that has lost its oxygen (mostly flowing through the veins) is dark red. Anyone who has donated blood or had their blood drawn by a nurse can attest that deoxygenated blood is dark red and not blue

In this article, we are going to discuss what happens when you remove all of the oxygen from an amount of blood. We will also discuss why blood becomes darker in color when it is deprived of oxygen. The first step toward understanding this process is knowing exactly how much blood there is in your body at any given time. There are four different types of blood vessels in the human body. Two of those types have very unique functions — they supply the brain with oxygenated blood and they transport waste products out of the tissues so that these substances don’t accumulate within the tissues themselves. These two types of blood vessels are called arteries and arterioles. Arteries carry blood away from the heart while the smaller blood vessels are known as arterioles. Both of them carry blood away from the heart but only one carries it through capillaries. Capillaries are extremely small tubes that serve no other purpose than to allow wastes to be transported out of the tissue where they were created. Waste products that are produced by cells in our body’s tissues include carbon dioxide, water, alcohol, lactic acid, uric acid, etc. When waste products build up too high inside the tissues, they begin to cause problems for us. They interfere with normal function and they can even damage healthy tissues. To combat this problem, our bodies create another type of blood vessel that transports these waste products out of the tissues using a process known as diffusion. This new type of blood vessel is called a vein and they bring blood back towards the heart. Veins lack the tiny holes found in capillaries so waste products cannot pass out of them into surrounding tissues. Since veins do not have openings like capillaries, they must rely on a passive mechanism to move wastes out of the bloodstream. That mechanism is called osmosis. Osmosis works just like sweating does. Sweat moves sodium (a positively charged ion) across the skin barrier and creates an electrical potential gradient between the outside of the body and the inside of the body. An osmotic pressure gradient exists between the inside of the blood vessels and the surrounding fluid. If the osmotic pressure inside the blood vessel is less than osmotic pressure outside the blood vessel, then wastes will passively diffuse out of the blood stream. Conversely, if the osmotic pressure inside the blood vessel is greater than osmotic pressure outside the blood vessel, then wastes will passively diffuse into the blood stream. In order to make sure that the osmotic pressure difference is large enough to prevent waste product accumulation, the concentration of solutes within the blood should be kept low. As long as the concentrations of certain electrolytes (ions dissolved in fluids) remain constant, the osmotic pressure differences will stay constant. Therefore, a solution containing mostly water will become more concentrated in its content during the course of osmosis. This is because the volume ratio of the solution increases along with the volume ratio of the solvent. A similar thing happens with blood which contains plasma proteins. Plasma proteins contain negatively charged amino acids such as serine, threonine, cysteine, glutamine, and methionine. All of the charged atoms in each protein molecule attract positive ions in the blood. For example, try to imagine yourself standing next to someone that is drinking a glass of orange juice. You would notice that the juice becomes lighter and more acidic over time simply due to the fact that the total number of particles in the juice go down and the number of free hydrogen protons goes up. The same thing occurs with blood. Blood proteins lose electrons and therefore become negatively charged. Negative charges repel positive charges and thus the negative charge on proteins prevents them from diffusing out of the blood stream. Proteins are critical components of hemoglobin molecules. Hemoglobin is responsible for carrying oxygen throughout the body via the blood. Without oxygen, hemoglobin molecules fall apart into their component parts. Once oxygen is supplied to hemoglobin molecules, they reform into stable structures. The structure of hemoglobin changes again when it loses oxygen. It turns into methemoglobin. Methemoglobinemia causes hemoglobin molecules to bind together rather than releasing oxygen. One way to think about it is to picture blood without oxygen being like liquid concrete. Blood without oxygen looks sort of like cement. Cement hardens over time and eventually becomes rock solid. Blood without oxygen also seems to clot faster than blood with oxygen present. Clotting refers to the formation of fibrin strands. Fibrin strands form clots around foreign objects that have entered the bloodstream. This is good for stopping bleeding after surgery but it is bad for stopping flow through damaged blood vessels leading to stroke or heart attack. The presence of oxygen slows down the rate at which blood clots. Another important effect of having hemoglobin molecules that release oxygen instead of holding onto it is that they help clear harmful chemicals from the blood stream. Carbon monoxide binds tightly to hemoglobin molecules and blocks the uptake of oxygen. Carboxyhaemoglobin is a combination of bound-up oxygen and carboxyhemoglobin. Carboxyhaemoglobin is able to deliver fewer oxygen molecules per hemoglobin molecule compared to oxyhemoglobin. However, carboxyhaemoglobin is better at transporting out toxic gases like carbon monoxide than oxyhemoglobin. Another chemical that competes with oxygen for binding sites on hemoglobin is cyanmethemoglobin. Cyanmethemoglobin is formed when people take recreational drugs such as cocaine or heroin. Cyanmethemoglobin is actually considered to be worse than carboxyhemoglobin since it is unable to actively release oxygen.

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