Help someone with useful health advice.

Symptoms of Low Hemoglobin

The symptoms of low hemoglobin are often quite deceptive, and may go unnoticed at times. This article provides an overview of the various signs and symptoms of low hemoglobin count, which will give you a better understanding of this condition.
Bidisha Mukherjee
Last Updated: Mar 12, 2018
Hemoglobin is a form of conjugated protein present in the red blood cells. It is a pigment component that has rich iron content. Its main function is to bind the oxygen that we breathe in and transport it to various parts of the body.
The hemoglobin molecule undergoes oxygenation to form an unstable compound named oxyhemoglobin. When the oxyhemoglobin reaches those places where the oxygen concentration is low and carbon dioxide is higher, it releases the oxygen molecules to replace carbon dioxide.
Normal hemoglobin range in men is 13.5 to 16 grams per hundred millimeters of blood, whereas for women, it should be 12 to 16 grams. When hemoglobin count dips below these levels, it signifies low hemoglobin levels in the body.
People, irrespective of their age and sex, can suffer from this problem. A noteworthy fact is, that it is generally detected in infants, children, pregnant women, and athletes.
Symptoms of Low Hemoglobin Levels
General Symptoms
  • Feeling of tiredness
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Lack of concentration
  • Rapid/irregular heartbeat
  • Pale nail beds, skin, and gums
Low hemoglobin is the main cause of anemia. When the hemoglobin level is slightly below normal, it is possible that the symptoms remain unnoticed.
Further, low hemoglobin indicates low levels of oxygen in blood, which often causes shortness of breath. In order to compensate for the deficiency of oxygen in the blood, the body tries to enhance the output of the heart. This gives rise to symptoms like palpitations and chest pain. Low hemoglobin levels may also aggravate extant heart problems.
Rare Symptoms
  • Swelling in arms and legs
  • Persistent heartburn
  • Excessive perspiration
  • Vomiting
  • Bloody stool
Symptoms in Children
  • Poor neurological development
  • Disturbed behavior
  • Low levels of concentration
  • Paleness
  • Rapid heartbeat
What Causes Low Hemoglobin Levels?
» Iron deficiency is the main cause of this condition. Reason being, iron is responsible for the production of hemoglobin.
» A lack of iron-rich food in the diet can lead to low hemoglobin levels.
» When the body is incapable of absorbing certain vitamins, production of hemoglobin also gets affected.
» In some instances, specific types of genetic disorders such as thalassemia and sickle-cell disease are responsible for this condition.
» It is also found in people who have a medical history of alcoholism.
Doctors prescribe iron supplements and vitamin supplements to improve the level of hemoglobin. These supplements are available over-the-counter as well, but it is advisable to consult a physician before taking these medicines. They recommend correct dosage of iron supplements according to the health condition of the patient. If the hemoglobin count is extremely low, stronger doses of iron supplements are prescribed.
Improvement in the level of hemoglobin can be achieved with the intake of a diet that is rich in iron. It should include leafy vegetables, beetroots, dried peas, beans, cereals, dried apricots, and raisins. Also, red meat, shrimp, and oysters are good sources of iron.
Thus, proper diet and medication can help you get rid of the aforementioned symptoms. However, the level of hemoglobin cannot be expected to rise instantly. It takes several months before one can see signs of improvement. Therefore, those who are at a risk of developing this condition should include an adequate amount of food that is rich in iron as a preventive measure.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.