Hemoglobin

hemoglobin

Hemoglobin is a protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen to tissues in the body. When a person does not have enough red blood cells or the ones they do have are not working properly, the body is deprived of the oxygen it needs to function. This condition is called anemia.

What is Hemoglobin?

Hemoglobin is the protein molecule in red blood cells that carries oxygen from the lungs to the tissues of the body and sends carbon dioxide back from the tissues to the lungs.

Hemoglobin consists of four connected protein molecules. The normal adult hemoglobin molecule contains two alpha and two beta globulin chains. In fetuses and infants, beta chains are uncommon, and the hemoglobin molecule is made up of two alpha and two gamma chains. As the infant grows, the gamma chains are eventually replaced by beta chains, which form the structure of adult hemoglobin.

Each globulin chain contains an important iron-containing porphyrin compound known as heme. An iron atom is incorporated into the heme compound, which is vital for the transport of oxygen and carbon dioxide in our blood. The iron in hemoglobin is also responsible for the red color of the blood.

Hemoglobin also plays an important role in maintaining the shape of red blood cells. In their natural form, red blood cells are round with narrow, donut-like centers with no hole in the middle. An abnormal structure of hemoglobin can therefore disrupt the shape of red blood cells and interfere with their function and circulation in the blood vessels.

Hemoglobin Range or level:

Hemoglobin levels or range is

Normal Hemoglobin Level or range:

Adults:

In adults, the average hemoglobin level is slightly higher for men than for women. It is measured in grams per deciliter (g/dl) of blood.

The elderly also have lower hemoglobin levels. This may result from several factors, including:

  • low iron levels because of chronic inflammation or insufficient nutrition’s
  • side effects of drugs
  • high rates of chronic diseases, such as renal disease

Children:

Infants have a higher average of hemoglobin levels compared to adults. This is because they have higher oxygen levels in the womb and need more red blood cells to carry oxygen. But this level drops after several weeks.

Normal ranges of hemoglobin depend on the age and, from adolescence, on the sex of the person.

 

Age
Female range (g/dl)
Male range (g/dl)
0–30 days13.4–19.913.4–19.9
31–60 days10.7–17.110.7–17.1
Above 18 years12 or higher13 or higher
3–6 months9.5–14.19.5–14.1
6–12 months11.3–14.111.3–14.1
1–5 years10.9–15.010.9–15.0
5–11 years11.9–15.011.9–15.0
11–18 years11.9–15.012.7–17.7
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These values ​​may slightly differ from one to another laboratory. Pregnant women are advised to avoid both high and low hemoglobin levels to avoid the increased risks of miscarriages and premature birth or low birth weight babies.

Low Hemoglobin level:

These values ​​may slightly differ from one to another laboratory. Pregnant women are advised to avoid both high and low hemoglobin levels to avoid the increased risks of miscarriages and premature birth or low birth weight babies.

  • Iron deficiency anemia is the most common type. This form of anemia occurs when a person does not have enough iron in their body and cannot produce the hemoglobin they need. Anemia is usually caused by loss of blood, but can also be due to poor absorption of iron. This can happen, for example, when a person has had gastric bypass surgery.
  • Anemia associated with pregnancy is a type of iron-deficiency anemia that occurs because pregnancy and childbirth require a large quantity of iron.
  • Vitamin deficiency anemia occurs when the diet contains low levels of nutrients, such as vitamin B12 or folic acid (also called folic acid). These anemias change the shape of red blood cells, making them less effective.
  • Aplastic anemia is a disorder in which hematopoietic stem cells in the bone marrow are attacked by the immune system, resulting in a decrease in the number of red blood cells.
  • Hemolytic anemia can be the result of another condition, or it can be hereditary. It happens when red blood cells are broken down in the bloodstream or the spleen.
  • Sickle cell anemia is an inherited disease in which the hemoglobin protein is abnormal. This means that the red blood cells are rigid and sickle-shaped, which prevents them from circulating in the small blood vessels.

High Hemoglobin level:

These values ​​may slightly differ from one to another laboratory. Pregnant women are advised to avoid both high and low hemoglobin levels to avoid the increased risks of miscarriages and premature birth or low birth weight babies.

Hemoglobin Causes:

Low hemoglobin causes:

Other conditions can also cause anemia such as kidney disease and chemotherapy for cancer, which can also affect the body’s ability to make red blood cells.

Newborns have temporary anemia when they are 6-8 weeks old. This occurs when they run out of the red blood cells they are born with but their bodies have not made new red blood cells. This condition will not affect the baby adversely unless they are sick for some other reason.

Babies can also have anemia from breaking down cells too quickly, which results in yellowing skin, a condition known as jaundice. This often occurs if the mother and baby have incompatible blood types.

High hemoglobin causes:

A high hemoglobin can also be caused by dehydration, smoking, or living at high altitudes, or it can be linked to other conditions, such as lung or heart disease.

When to see a Doctor?

Some cases of low hemoglobin cannot be solved with diet and supplementation alone. Contact your doctor if you have any of the following symptoms while trying to increase your hemoglobin level:

  • pale skin and gums
  • fatigue and muscle weakness
  • a fast or irregular heartbeat
  • frequent headaches
  • frequent or unexplained bruising

How to increase hemoglobin?

A person can increase their hemoglobin level by:

Take iron supplements:

A doctor may advise a person with extremely low hemoglobin levels to take iron supplements. The dose will depend on an individual’s level.

It is important to point out that an excessive quantity of iron can be dangerous. This can cause hemochromatosis, which can lead to liver disease and side effects such as constipation, nausea, and vomiting.

The supplements will gradually increase iron levels over a few weeks. A physician may recommend taking the supplements for several months to increase the body’s iron stores.

Hemoglobin Rich Foods:

Eat foods high in and folic acid:

Iron plays a major role in the production of hemoglobin. A protein called transferrin binds to iron and carries it throughout the body. This helps the body to produce red blood cells, which contain hemoglobin.

The first step to increasing your hemoglobin on your own is to start eating more iron. Foods rich in iron include:

  • liver and organ meats
  • seafood
  • beef
  • broccoli
  • kale
  • spinach
  • green beans
  • cabbage
  • beans and lentils
  • tofu
  • baked potatoes
  • fortified cereals and fortified bread

Folate is a B vitamin that your body uses to make heme, the part of your red blood cells that contains hemoglobin. Without enough folate, your red blood cells cannot mature. This can tend to vitamin B₉ and folacin deficiency anemia and low hemoglobin levels.

You can also add vitamin B₉ and folacin to the diet by eating more foods like:

  • beef
  • spinach
  • black eyed peas
  • lawyer
  • salad
  • rice
  • red beans
  • peanuts

Maximize iron absorption:

Whether you are increasing your iron intake through foods or supplements, it is also important to make sure that your body can easily process the extra iron you put in. Some things can increase or decrease the amount of iron your body absorbs.

Things that increase iron absorption:

Whether you are increasing your iron intake through foods or supplements, it is also important to make sure that your body can easily process the extra iron you put in. Some things can increase or decrease the amount of iron your body absorbs.

Foods rich in vitamin C include:

  • citrus
  • strawberries
  • dark leafy greens

Vitamin A and beta-carotene, which help your body make vitamin A, can also help your body absorb more iron. You can find vitamin A in animal food sources, like fish and liver. Beta-carotene is generally found in red, yellow, and orange fruits and vegetables, such as:

  • carrots
  • winter squash
  • sweet potatoes
  • mangoes

You can also take vitamin A supplements, but be sure to work closely with your doctor to determine a safe dose. Too much vitamin A can lead to a potentially serious condition known as hypervitaminosis A.

Things that decrease iron absorption:

It is harder for the body to absorb iron when calcium is taken from both supplements and food sources. However, it is important not to eliminate calcium as it is an essential nutrient. Simply avoid calcium supplements and try not to eat foods high in calcium right before or after taking an iron supplement.

Foods rich in calcium include

  • dairy
  • soy
  • seeds
  • fig

Phytic acid can also reduce your body’s absorption of iron, especially if you don’t eat meat. However, it only affects the absorption of iron during a single meal, not throughout the day. If you don’t eat meat, try to avoid eating foods high in phytic acid along with foods high in iron.

Foods high in phytic acid include:

  • nuts
  • Brazil nut
  • Sesame seeds

Keep in mind that, like calcium, phytic acid is an essential nutrient that should not be eliminated from your diet.

FAQ's

Low hemoglobin is normally defined as less than 135 grams per liter of blood for men and less than 120 grams per liter for women.

Diseases and conditions that cause your body to make fewer red blood cells than normal include aplastic anemia, cancer, certain drugs, like antiretroviral drugs for HIV infection, and chemotherapy drugs for cancer and other conditions.

Anemia is associated with lack of sleep in children, and clinically, anemia is associated with insomnia. However, the association between anemia and insomnia in the elderly is under-studied.

  1. Food one should avoid if hemoglobin is low are:
  • tea and coffee.
  • milk and some dairy products.
  • Whole grain cereals.
  • foods containing tannins, such as grapes, corn, and sorghum.
  • foods rich in gluten, such as pasta and other products made from wheat, barley, rye, or oats.

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