What Are Health Risks of Low Hemoglobin Levels


Hemoglobin (Hgb) is the protein in the red blood cells responsible for carrying oxygen to the body organs and tissues.  It also transports carbon dioxide from the organs and tissues back to the lungs.  If hemoglobin tests reveal that the level is lower than the natural, it means that the person has anemia (low count of red blood cells).

Four proteins, two alpha-globulins and a pair of beta-globulin chains make up haemoglobin.  Each of the two globulin chains contains heme an iron-containing porphyrin compound. Heme compound has an iron atom that red nursing essay topics helps the blood transport oxygen and carbon dioxide.  The iron compound gives hemoglobin its red color, and in turn, it maintains red blood cells in their regular shape.  Red blood cells can cause sickle cell anemia if they lose their natural appearance to turn into a sickle shape that makes them stick in blood vessels and block them.

 What makes Low Hemoglobin level

 A complete blood count (CBC) is the means that healthcare practitioners use to measure hemoglobin. The normal range should reach 13.5-17.5 grams per deciliter for men while women should record 12.0-15.5 grams/deciliter. The levels of hemoglobin can be slightly less especially among pregnant women and nursing assignment examples young toddlers, but it does not pose any danger.  However, a level that is far lower than 12.0 grams per deciliter requires medical attention to determine the cause and treatment.

   The most likely causes of low hemoglobin levels are:

  • Loss of much blood: Blood loss due to surgery, bleeding and a heavy menstrual period is some of the reasons why people lose much blood.
  • Breakdown of red blood cells
  • Lack of bone marrow production when bone marrow infiltrates the bone marrow or its failure.
  • Deficiency of iron, vitamin B12 or other essential nutrition.
  • Kidney failure

 Health effects of low hemoglobin levels

 Anemia starts slowly thus a patient might take long to notice the symptoms.  Severe tiredness due to inadequate oxygen levels that supports optimal functioning of the body organs and weakness is the usually the first effect to signal that something is wrong.

As the levels drop, these symptoms become prominent.

  • Chest pain
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Shortness of breath
  • Trouble in breathing when engaging in simple tasks like climbing stairs, walking or even talking
  • Dizziness
  • Paleness on the skin, mouth, gums and nail beds
  • Swelling of the hands and feet
  • Fatigue

Low hemoglobin levels cause a severe effect on patients suffering from cancer and heart conditions.  Anemia due to low Hgb can negatively affect the quality of life and shorten the survival of cancer patients.   Oncologists may have to reduce the treatment dose or postpone cancer treatment if they notice that the Hgb level is too low. Anemia can also affect and stop the efficient functioning of some medications.

Anemia can worsen a heart problem when it prevents the cells in various body organs from receiving enough oxygen.  It strains the heart to work harder to pump more blood to compensate low oxygen supply.  In some cases, little oxygen can cause life-threatening complications.

Symptoms of low hemoglobin do not occur suddenly.  When they happen, it shows that condition has in place for a period e hence it is essential to seek quick medical intervention.