The role of hemoglobin in human body is to transfer oxygen from the lungs into every cell in the body and to carry carbon dioxide to the lungs where the exchange of carbon dioxide and oxygen is performed. Lack of hemoglobin interferes in proper exchange and supply of all the cells with oxygen. Prolonged state of insufficient hemoglobin may have serious consequences. If the body suffers from low level of hemoglobin this condition is medically known as anemia. It requires proper treatment according to the underlying cause.
Low levels of hemoglobin may occur due to variety of reasons. However, since iron represents the basic component of hemoglobin it is clear that deficiency of iron is actually the cause of low level of hemoglobin. Iron deficiency may be caused either by inadequate intake of this chemical element or increased loss of blood and consequent loss of hemoglobin and iron.
Symptoms of Low Hemoglobin
Symptoms of low hemoglobin are basically symptoms of anemia.
If the levels of hemoglobin are very low, the patient complains about tiredness and extreme exhaustion. This is accompanied by headaches and occasional lightheadedness. The person also experiences problems with concentration and memory. In extreme cases one may suffer from shortness of breath. In order to supply the body with sufficient amount of blood the heart output drastically increases and eventually causes heart palpitations. People with low level of hemoglobin are noticeably pale. All the previous symptoms tend to worsen if the condition is left untreated.
Causes of Low Hemoglobin
Defects in hemoglobin can be classified as genetic and acquired. If the patients are suffering from anemia it can be confirmed by a simple blood test. The test will show low level of hemoglobin and drop in red blood cells. It is essential to establish the underlying cause of low hemoglobin. It can be a consequence of decreased intake of iron or increased destruction of red blood cells. In some people even improper absorption of iron may cause low level of hemoglobin and consequent anemia.
Low Hemoglobin Treatments
If the level of hemoglobin is not so low, it can be simply increased by proper diet rich in foods which contain iron. If this is not enough patients are given iron supplements. Only the doctor can decide whether the patient needs to take iron supplements, for how long and in what doses. During therapy patients need to have regular blood tests so that the doctor can have insight in whether there is improvement and whether the levels of hemoglobin are getting back to normal. Additionally the doctor needs to search for the underlying cause of iron deficiency and treat it as well.