Symptoms of Low Hemoglobin Levels In Blood
What is hemoglobin?
Hemoglobin is a protein molecule present in the red blood cells in blood. It consists of two parts, “heme”, the iron content, and “globin”, the globulin (protein) molecules. Its main function is to carry oxygen to the various cells of the body from the lungs and to carry carbon dioxide from the cells to the lungs.
This process usually takes place by attaching the iron in its molecules to the oxygen molecules and releasing them on reaching the cells and the same process goes on with the carbon dioxide molecules as well. They combine with oxygen in the lungs to form an unstable compound that is known as oxyhemoglobin. This compound breaks down on reaching cells and releases the oxygen molecules.
Disturbances in hemoglobin levels, therefore, affect the red blood cells by changing their shape and making their passage through blood vessels difficult. Hemoglobin is highly essential to the body for proper functioning of all the parts. This is because it performs all important function of supplying oxygen to the billions of cells throughout the body. Other than this, it also helps the red blood cells retain their shape.
Normal Hemoglobin Levels in Blood
Hemoglobin tests are usually part of a complete blood cell (CBC) count, but may sometimes be done separately too. Lower or higher levels of hemoglobin have their effects on bodily functions. It is, therefore, advisable to get it checked if the levels are outside the normal range.
Hemoglobin levels in blood are measured in grams/deciliter of blood (gm/dl). Below stated are its normal levels in blood.
- Men: 13.8 to 17.2 gm/dl
- Women: 12.1 to 15.1 gm/dl
- Pregnant women: 11 to 12 g/dl
- Children: 11 to 16 g/dl
Symptoms of Low Hemoglobin Levels in Blood
People may suffer from low hemoglobin due to several reasons. However, this condition is more commonly seen in pregnant women, infants and athletes. Physical symptoms of this condition include the following.
- Pale skin
- Pale gums
- Bruising of the skin
The most common problem that occurs due to low hemoglobin is anemia. People suffer from this condition due to lack of adequate iron in the body. This eventually leads to a decrease in the red blood cell count and it may lead to the following symptoms.
- Poor concentration
Lack of adequate hemoglobin in blood would also mean lesser amounts of oxygen supplied to the body. To make up for this loss, breathing may become faster eventually leading to shortness of breath. Heart of the person suffering from this may start pumping the blood faster so that the increased blood flow makes up for the decreased supply of oxygen.
This may lead to palpitations and chest pain, and may worsen existing heart conditions too. In extreme cases, it can cause heart enlargement and failure. The following are a few less commonly observed symptoms.
- Swelling of hands
- Swelling of feet
- Blood with stools
Hemoglobin levels in blood are tested by a separate blood test or as a part of a complete blood cell (CBC) test. Read on to know about tips that will help in improving hemoglobin count.
Tips to Improve Hemoglobin Levels in Blood
A person suffering from a drop in this protein levels should know how to raise hemoglobin levels in order to avoid further health complications.
- Iron-Rich Meals: Make sure you include foods that are rich in iron in your daily diet. You can have iron-fortified cereals or whole-egg omelets for your breakfast. For lunch you can include meats such as liver, lean beef; legumes like lentils, beans; green leafy vegetables such as artichoke and spinach. For dinner you can have sea foods such as oysters and clams. Make sure you eat foods that are rich in iron for every meal.
- Iron- Rich Snacks: Snacking with products rich in iron is also equally important as this helps in maintaining healthy hemoglobin levels in blood. Include various dry fruits for snacking such as raisins, almonds, apricots and prunes as they are the rich source of iron.
- Vitamin C: If you are worried on how to raise hemoglobin easily, then include foods that are rich in vitamin C as they help in absorbing the iron very easily. You can take vitamin C supplements or foods such as red peppers, tomato and broccoli with every meal as they help in boosting your hemoglobin levels quickly.
- Healthy Herbs: See that you take herbs in your regular diet as they play a major role in boosting the hemoglobin levels. Certain herbs such as sage, thyme and basil are rich in iron. You can add these herbs to the foods such as sauces, cheese spreads and pastas as well daily.
- Other Supplements: You can even take vitamin B12, folate and iron supplements every day or once in a while depending on the drop in hemoglobin levels. You can even take an iron supplement every day and your body requires vitamin B12 and folate to absorb the iron.
These are the various ways in which a person can increase his/her hemoglobin levels easily and quickly. This is all about the symptoms and how to raise hemoglobin naturally.