Low Hemoglobin Count: Causes, Risks and Treatment

what are low hemoglobin levels

A low hemoglobin count is a frequently seen blood test outcome. Hemoglobin (Hb or Hgb) is a protein in red cell that carries oxygen throughout the body.

In a lot of cases, a low hemoglobin count is just somewhat lower than typical and does not affect how you feel. If it gets more severe and causes symptoms, your low hemoglobin count might show you have anemia.

What are low hemoglobin levels?

A low hemoglobin count is typically specified as less than 13.5 grams of hemoglobin per deciliter (135 grams per liter) of blood for men and less than 12 grams per deciliter (120 grams per liter) for women. In children, the definition varies with age and sex. The threshold differs a little from one medical practice to another.

Causes of Low Hemoglobin Count

A slightly low hemoglobin count isn’t constantly a sign of illness– it might be regular for some individuals. Women who are pregnant typically have low hemoglobin counts.

Low hemoglobin counts associated with diseases and conditions

A low hemoglobin count can be connected with a disease or condition that causes your body to have too few red cell. This can occur if:

  • Your body produces fewer red cell than normal
  • Your body ruins red blood cells quicker than they can be produced
  • You experience blood loss

Illness and conditions that cause your body to produce less red blood cells than regular include:

  • Aplastic anemia
  • Cancer
  • Specific medications, such as anti-retroviral drugs for HIV infection and chemotherapy drugs for cancer and other conditions
  • Cirrhosis
  • Hodgkin’s lymphoma (Hodgkin’s disease).
  • Hypothyroidism.
  • Iron deficiency anemia.
  • Chronic kidney disease.
  • Lead poisoning.
  • Leukemia.
  • Numerous myeloma.
  • Myelodysplastic syndromes.
  • Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
  • Vitamin deficiency anemia.

Illness and conditions that cause your body to destroy red blood cells quicker than they can be made include:

  • Bigger spleen (splenomegaly).
  • Porphyria.
  • Sickle cell anemia.
  • Thalassemia.
  • Vasculitis.
  • Hemolysis.

A low hemoglobin count can likewise be because of blood loss, which can occur since of:

  • Bleeding from an injury.
  • Bleeding in your digestion tract, such as from ulcers, cancers or piles.
  • Bleeding in your urinary tract.
  • Regular blood contribution.
  • Heavy menstrual bleeding.

Treatment for low hemoglobin count

  • Blood test. A regular blood test will show if you have a low hemoglobin count. The underlying reason for anemia, if present, will be shown by doing a complete medical history, health examination and other lab blood tests.
  • Medications and supplements. Doctors normally recommend iron and vitamin supplements to improve the hemoglobin levels. Although these supplements may be gotten non-prescription, it is much better to consult a doctor who can suggest proper dosage and kind of supplement depending on the patient’s health condition. Other medications might be needed to deal with the underlying disease that is triggering one’s low hemoglobin count.
  • Diet. Proper diet, which includes foods that contain a high quantity of iron, is advised. Recommended food sources of iron consist of red meat, oysters, shrimp, leafy green vegetables, beans, peas, cereals, raisins, and dried apricots.

It may take numerous months of taking supplements and enhancing the diet before the level of hemoglobin boosts. For that reason, people who are at a risk of having low hemoglobin count need to take sufficient amounts of food that are high in iron food to prevent it.

Are low hemoglobin levels dangerous?

Yes, it could be dangerous. Hemoglobin (Hgb) is the major substance in red cell, and its level indicates the blood’s capability to bring oxygen throughout the body. Studies have shown that low hemoglobin, which might result in anemia, is more common among patients with heart failure than it is amongst home owner in the general population. As numerous as 25 percent to 60 percent of heart failure patients have anemia, specified as hemoglobin less than 12 grams/deciliter in women and 13g/dL in men.

Specialist says: “Studies have revealed that if you have anemia and heart failure, your threat of death and problems are enhanced considerably– with as much as 30 percent to 60 percent additional risk of death and hospitalization from heart failure.”

Can low hemoglobin levels cause death?

Scientists have no idea if anemia intensifies heart failure or if it is a marker of heart failure severity, or what effect raising hemoglobin will carry the heart’s function.

“It is necessary to pursue hemoglobin’s function in the risk of death and complications in heart failure patients,” Anand said.

“The lifetime danger for developing heart failure for men and women at age 40 is one in five. If 30 percent to 60 percent of these people are at higher risk for death and problems due to the fact that of low hemoglobin, we may have an opportunity to deal with these patients,” he stated. “Treatment for anemia is relatively easy, with iron supplements, multivitamins or drugs. Nevertheless, we do not yet understand if treatment is the best strategy and what the objectives of treatment need to be.”

When to see a doctor

Hemoglobin tests are provided for lots of reasons, such as to evaluate for or assist identify disease and to keep track of treatment reaction. Some individuals learn that their hemoglobin is low when they go to contribute blood. If you’re told that you cannot donate blood since of low hemoglobin, make a consultation with your doctor.

Make a consultation if you have symptoms and signs

If you experience signs and symptoms of a low hemoglobin count, make a visit with your doctor. Signs and symptoms may include:

  • Fatigue.
  • Weak point.
  • Pale skin and gums.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • A quick or irregular heart beat.

Your doctor may recommend a total blood count test to determine whether you have a low hemoglobin count or whether your symptoms and signs are caused by something else.

If your test reveals you have a low hemoglobin count, you will likely searching for more testing to figure out the cause. Then your doctor can describe what this means for you.

Last Update - September 23, 2017


The Author

Reyus Mammadli

As a healthy lifestyle advisor I try to guide individuals in becoming more aware of living well and healthy through a series of proactive and preventive measures, disease prevention steps, recovery after illness or medical procedures. Education: Bachelor Degree of Medical Equipment and Electronics.

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