Unusually high or low haemoglobin can cause symptoms like dizziness, exhaustion, or breathlessness. Your doctor may recommend a Haemoglobin (Hgb/Hb) test if you’re facing any of these symptoms. You might have an underlying condition that needs immediate attention and diagnosis.
Haemoglobin is a protein produced by bone marrow and stored in red blood cells of the human blood. The main function of haemoglobin is to carry oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body through blood and to return carbon dioxide from the body tissues back to the lungs. It also maintains the structure and shape of the red blood cells. The iron contained in haemoglobin is responsible for the red colour of the blood.
Causes of Low Haemoglobin
When an adult human has a lower than normal number of red blood cells it means that this adult has low haemoglobin. This condition of having low haemoglobin is referred to as anaemia.
Reasons for low haemoglobin
- Nutritional deficiency (vitamin B12, iron, folate)
- Loss of excessive blood (accident, surgery, traumatic injury, stomach ulcer)
- Kidney failure
- Problems related to the bone marrow
- Abnormal shape and structure of the red blood cells, and
- Chemotherapy drugs leading to suppression of red blood cells.
Causes of Low Haemoglobin
When an adult human has a high number of red blood cell count as compared to the normal red blood cell number, this condition is called having high haemoglobin level. Smoking and high altitude can cause high levels of haemoglobin. When a body is dehydrated, it produces a false high haemoglobin measurement that disappears once the proper fluid balance in the body is restored.
Reasons for high Haemoglobin level
- Tumours in the body.
- Lung disease in an advanced stage.
- Abuse of erythropoietin drug by athletes for blood doping (this increases the oxygen level in the blood by chemically raising the number of red blood cells)
- Bone marrow disorder known as polycythaemia rubra vera
To keep your haemoglobin levels in check, you would need instruments like haemoglobin analysers that provide you with quantitative and lab quality results within 25 seconds.
What to eat to keep your Haemoglobin levels normal?
- Consume lots of iron
Iron is a vital element required for blood production in your body. About 70% of your body’s iron is found in hemoglobin and some in muscle cells called myoglobin. For a proper flow of oxygen from the lungs to all the tissues, hemoglobin is very essential. The haemoglobin works normally if the iron content in it is adequate. Iron works to boost the haemoglobin health and helps to form more number of red blood cells.
Following are some of the foods that you can include in your diet for enough iron:
- Spinach or any green leafy vegetables are high in iron content
- Nuts, raisins and seeds
- Tofu or any other soy products
- Fish and meat
- Peanut butter, dates and apples
Avoid calcium in excess as it can hinder in iron absorption by your body.
- Consume food rich in Folate
Folate is a form of vitamin B that plays a very important part in Haemoglobin production. A human body uses folate to produce heme in good quantity. If there is not enough folate in the body, the red blood cells will not be able to mature.
Let’s take a look at the foods rich in folate
- Kidney beans
- Brussels Sprout
You can control your haemoglobin levels through dietary changes and supplements. There is nothing that is impossible. If your red blood cells are acting kind of wonky, take the help of foods mentioned in this article and consult a doctor who can give you the best advice depending upon the underlying cause of your disturbed haemoglobin levels.