Low Hemoglobin Count: Causes, Symptoms And Treatment Options

Hemoglobin is the protein that is responsible for transporting oxygen across the body

Shubhangi Shah
Written by: Shubhangi ShahUpdated at: Sep 19, 2021 13:30 IST
Low Hemoglobin Count: Causes, Symptoms And Treatment Options

When you go for a blood test, one of the several markers of good health is the hemoglobin count. And why not? This protein, which is found in the red blood cells, is responsible for transporting oxygen across the body. At the same time, it carries carbon dioxide out of the cells, to the lungs, which then expels this gas out. As per a leading health website, the ideal hemoglobin count for men should be between 13.5 and 17 g/dL, and that for women, it should be 12 to 15.5 g/dL. To know the causes that can lead to a low hemoglobin count, its impact on the body, and treatment options, Onlymyhealth spoke to Dr Avinash Kumar Singh, HOD & Senior Consultant, Hematology, Paras HMRI Hospital, Patna

Low Hemoglobin Count: What Are The Causes

There can be several reasons for low hemoglobin count

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A low hemoglobin count can be because of the following reasons:

  • Iron deficiency
  • Deficiency of vitamin B12
  • Folate deficiency
  • Blood loss 
  • Worm infestation
  • Thalassemia
  • Acute leukemia
  • Lymphoma
  • Myelodysplastic syndrome

What Are The Symptoms For Low Hemoglobin Levels?

If you have one or some of the following symptoms, low hemoglobin level could be the reason:

  • Weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Palpitation
  • Breathlessness
  • Body swelling
  • Poor memory
  • Restlessness

How Does It Affect The Body?

As we know that hemoglobin is responsible for transporting the oxygen-rich blood across the body, its low level reduces the blood supply to the organs, which in turn, hampers their functioning. It also leads to a lack of energy and can cause anemia, Dr Singh explained.

What Are The Treatment Options?

Hemoglobin count can be boosted by blood transfusion

(Photo Credit: Freepik)

Treatment depends on the cause. Once that is figured out, treatment is started, which can be medical or through dietary supplements.

  • Dietary Options: A well-balanced diet rich in iron and folate boost hemoglobin levels. Iron not only boosts the production of this protein but also the red blood cells. When increasing your iron intake, make sure you also eat foods or take supplements that help your body absorb that iron, as per a leading health website. Also, folate, which is a type of vitamin B, plays a crucial part in hemoglobin production. Our body uses folate to produce heme, which carries oxygen across the body. Folate deficiency can cause anemia and low hemoglobin level.
  • Medical Option: When diet isn’t able to boost the hemoglobin count, go for blood transfusion. However, it needs to be done under an expert’s supervision, after consulting with a hematologist.

Foods To Boost Hemoglobin Count

If you have a low hemoglobin count, include the following foods in your diet:

  • Eggs
  • Meat and fish
  • Vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, sweet potato, and carrot
  • Fruits such as avocado, mango, as well as citrus fruits such as oranges
  • Dried fruits like dates and fig
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Beans
  • Poha
  • Rice

As we saw hemoglobin is extremely crucial for the optimal functioning of the organs in particular and the body in general. It’s unfathomable to think about the existence of life without oxygen. If you have any of the symptoms of a low hemoglobin count, it is essential to consult a doctor. Equally essential is to quickly start the treatment as recommended. 

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