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Low Haemoglobin - what does it mean?

(19 Posts)
nellyjelly Wed 21-Mar-12 19:53:18

I had a blood test last week and GP tells me my haemoglobin levels are low (think it's Haemoglobin).. I have around 9.8 and he says the lowest in acceptable range is around 11. I have to have another blood test now.

Thing is my levels appear to have been around 9.8 for around 6 years! Every blood test I have had - around 5 since 2006 have given me the same indication. Doc said I could just be at the low end of the normal range but wants to have a further look. I can't imagine it's serious if I have been like this since 2006 and had no other symptoms. Well some tiredness etc which is explained I guess by the results of this test.

What will they be looking for? Should I be worried? I am a vegetarian, could this be significant?

corblimeymadam Wed 21-Mar-12 19:56:18

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

nellyjelly Wed 21-Mar-12 19:58:08

I think so but anaemia is only a symtom of something I believe isn't it? Does it just mean I don't eat enough iron? Am a bit confused tbh.

funkypigeon Wed 21-Mar-12 20:07:03

It means that the iron in your blood is low, which is also called anaemia. It doesn't sound too bad, you are usually prescribed iron tablets of it falls below ten, which your is, so I suspect a supplement will be necessary. It can cause dizziness and tiredness too. Hth

LadySybilDeChocolate Wed 21-Mar-12 20:19:46

You're anaemic. It could be that you don't have an iron rich diet or that your periods are heavy. I'm waiting for my levels to go up from 6.8. I felt rather crapola. If low it can cause palpitations, shortness of breath, weak nails, headache, fatigue and very pale skin.

funkypigeon Wed 21-Mar-12 20:28:12

6.8? I'm not surprised you felt crap!!

moggiek Wed 21-Mar-12 21:02:17

LadySybil - when my red cell count was discovered to be 6.8 I was rushed into hopsital for an emergency 4 unit transfusion!

mrsm22 Wed 21-Mar-12 21:02:54

Nellyjelly - Hi Nellyjelly, I just read your post and thought I might be able to help. I had a baby 12 weeks ago today and have had a really bad time (a traumatic labour), i lost a lot of blood and was put on 3 iron tablets a day (ferrous sulphate). I had to have a blood test, a full blood count a few weeks ago to see if my iron levels and haemaglobin levels were back up. When i had just had my baby, my iron level was 9 as i had a blood test in hospital the day after having my baby and i was badly anaemic. Main symptoms were being very tired/exhausted, but the main symptom when you're very anaemic is being faint, dizzy and light-headed, fast heart rate (i had all of these). I felt like this for ages so needed the iron tablets. I also looked very pale. Anyway, when i went and had a bloodtest at the doctors as i thought it would be time to come off the iron tablets, i was told my iron levels were back up to normal which should be between 11 and 12. But your haemoglobin level is different. It sounds odd but when they do a full blood count, they check the number of both red and white blood cells. Iron helps produce red blood cells. I was told at my last blood test that my iron levels were back up to 12, but my haemoglobin levels were 11% short, but the doctor said this was ok.

Basically you just need to make sure you eat a good diet with plenty of iron (weetabix, green vegetables, baked beans etc) and drink lots of water and your iron levels and haemoglobin levels will boost up. If wouldn't hurt to go on the tablets, and male sure your diet is iron rich as well (iron tablets do help but just bare in mind they make you constipated and turn your poo black). I don't think you have anything to worry about at all, I don't even think 9.8 sounds that low tbh, and if you feel ok then that might be a level that your body is used to and that your body manages with. If you are a vegetarian, that could be a good reason why you're a bit low in iron. Lots of green vegies, spinach, brocoli and sprouts, lentils are good too. Sorry for the long message, i know it can be worrying but a healthy good diet and some supplements usually works. Maybe even just buy a good multi vitamin with iron in it rather than taking a harsh form of iron from the doctors.

LadySybilDeChocolate Wed 21-Mar-12 21:11:28

I was called by the out of hours as they wanted to see if I was OK, I'd stopped bleeding (dodgy period) by then though so I was told to see my GP ASAP. GP gave me some iron tablets, had a blood test a week later and it had gone up to 7. I have to have another blood test tomorrow, gynae appointment next week. Lovely! (not).

moggiek Wed 21-Mar-12 21:15:22

Hope your level has gone up. I had no idea how awful anaemia could make you feel!

LadySybilDeChocolate Wed 21-Mar-12 21:18:07

I can't say that I'd noticed apart from the headache. blush I tend to feel like crap anyway. I've noticed the difference since taking the iron though. Wow! I think they starting to cause problems though as I feel really sick after taking them.

nellyjelly Wed 21-Mar-12 21:21:26

Thanks for responses. When I was pg I was given an iron supplement but GP didn't want to give me any until he investigates the low levels and the reason they have been low for so long.

I think my ferretin levels will be checked next - whatever that is!

There seem to be lots of different types of anaemia from my Googling so more confused than ever!

I feel Ok tbh - bit tired but I have 2 small children! I am naturally pale so that's not really an indicator for me either. Oh well - will know more soon enough.

mum2cjt Thu 22-Mar-12 00:07:07

Hi, if your haemoglobin level is low then you are anaemic.
But there are several causes of anaemia one of which is your iron level being low.
The ferretin level is a measure of your stored iron and will give an indication
of whether low iron is the cause of your anaemia.

nellyjelly Thu 22-Mar-12 07:42:22

Thanks that does help actually.

nellyjelly Thu 22-Mar-12 19:40:09

Had part of my blood results back - have B12 deficiency apparently. Not sure why, going in to see GP to discuss.

Bunbaker Thu 22-Mar-12 20:39:59

Some people don't process B12 properly regardless of how healthy their diet is. Perhaps you are one of these people. There is a treatment for it though so please don't worry.

nellyjelly Fri 23-Mar-12 19:26:59

Thanks. Low folate too apparently. Going to have iron and folic acid for 2 months to see if it helps.

Thanks all.

swacham Sun 20-Nov-16 15:29:34

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

booox Mon 21-Nov-16 15:15:50

Just an additional tip; I completely cut out milk as I had a transient lactose issue due to ibs (caused by iron tablets!) and had only coconut milk which was the only thing I liked.

My iron (ferritin) really rocketed in only one month and it's the only factor I can see really impacted it. I took no iron that month but had been struggling to get it up previously. (Or slowly despite high dose iron).

Ferritin = iron stores so reflects what is stored in your blood; heamaglobin is the protein made from iron that binds to oxygen to transfer it around your body. So ferritin is another way to measure iron status.

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