Haemoglobin is a protein rich in iron and it is found in red blood cells. A protein inside red blood cells that carries oxygen from the lungs to tissues and organs in the body and carries carbon dioxide back to the lungs. Testing for the amount of hemoglobin in the blood is usually part of a complete blood cell (CBC) test.
In many cases low hemoglobin count is only slightly lower than normal and does not affect how you feel. If it gets more severe and causes symptoms. Low hemoglobin count may indicate you have anemia.
The normal levels of haemoglobin in the human body include:
- 14-18g/dl for adult men
- 12-16g/dl for adult women
1. Increasing iron intake
A person with reduced levels of hemoglobin take benefit from eating more iron-rich foods. Iron works to increase the production of hemoglobin, which also helps to form more red blood cells.
Iron-rich foods include:
- meat and fish
- soy products, including tofu and edamame
- dried fruits, such as dates and figs
- green leafy vegetables, like kale and spinach
- green beans
- nuts and seeds
- peanut butter
2. Taking iron supplements
- A doctor may advise a person with extremely low levels of hemoglobin to take iron supplements. The dosage will depend on a person’s levels.
- It is important to note that too much iron can be dangerous. It may cause hemochromatosis, which can lead to liver disease and side effects such as constipation, nausea, and vomiting.
- Supplements will cause levels of iron to increase gradually over a few weeks. A doctor may recommend taking the supplements for several months, to increase the body’s iron stores.
3. Causes of low haemoglobin
A person with low hemoglobin may have anemia. Common causes of anemia include:being deficient in iron, vitamin B-12, or folate
- substantial blood loss
- cancers that affect the bone marrow, like leukemia
- kidney disease
- liver disease
- hypothyroidism, or a thyroid gland that does not produce enough hormones
- thalassemia, a hereditary disease that prevents hemoglobin from functioning properly
- sickle cell anemia, a genetic disorder that causes a reduction in red blood cells and haemoglobin
Low hemoglobin levels can also be caused by:
- lung disease
- excessive smoking
- extreme physical exercise
Symptoms of extremely low levels of hemoglobin include:
- a fast or irregular heartbeat
- pale skin and gums
- muscle weakness
- frequent or unexplained bruising
- reoccurring headaches