Low Hemoglobin Levels - Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment | Life Medical Centre

Low Hemoglobin Levels - Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

  Introduction: Haemoglobin and its Function 

Haemoglobin, a crucial protein in our blood, plays a pivotal role in maintaining our overall health. It is responsible for carrying oxygen from our lungs to various tissues and organs, ensuring their proper function. When the level of haemoglobin in our blood drops below the normal range, it can lead to various health issues. In this blog, we will delve into the causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment options, and prevention of low haemoglobin levels. 

Global Statistics: 

  • According to the World Health Organization (WHO), an estimated 1.62 billion people worldwide suffer from anemia, with the majority being women and children.
  • Iron deficiency anemia affects approximately 25% of the global population.
  • In developing countries, iron deficiency anemia contributes to 20% of maternal deaths.
  • Anemia is responsible for around 8% of all years lived with disability globally.
  • Pernicious anemia, caused by vitamin B12 deficiency, affects about 1-2% of people over the age of 60.
  • Sickle cell anemia is one of the most common genetic disorders globally, with millions of individuals affected, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa.

Causes of Low Haemoglobin Levels

There are several factors that can contribute to low haemoglobin levels in the blood. Understanding these causes is essential for effective management and treatment. Some common causes include:

  1. Iron Deficiency Anemia: This is the most prevalent cause of low haemoglobin levels worldwide. Inadequate intake of iron-rich foods, poor absorption of iron, and blood loss due to heavy menstruation or internal bleeding can lead to iron deficiency anemia.
  2. Vitamin B12 Deficiency (Pernicious Anemia): A lack of vitamin B12 in the diet or poor absorption due to certain medical conditions can result in pernicious anemia, where the body doesn't produce enough healthy red blood cells.
  3. Chronic Diseases: Conditions such as chronic kidney disease, cancer, and inflammatory disorders can interfere with the body's ability to produce sufficient red blood cells, leading to lower haemoglobin levels.
  4. Hemolysis: This refers to the accelerated breakdown of red blood cells, often due to genetic conditions, infections, or autoimmune disorders.
  5. Blood Loss: Any form of acute or chronic blood loss, whether from injuries, surgery, or gastrointestinal bleeding, can lead to a decrease in haemoglobin levels.
  6. Nutritional Deficiencies: Inadequate intake of nutrients such as iron, folate, and vitamin B12 can hinder the body's ability to produce healthy red blood cells.

Symptoms of Low Haemoglobin Levels

Low haemoglobin levels can give rise to various symptoms, which might vary in severity based on the underlying cause. Some common symptoms include:

  • Fatigue and Weakness: A lack of oxygen-carrying capacity can lead to feelings of constant tiredness and weakness.
  • Shortness of Breath: Reduced oxygen supply to tissues can cause shortness of breath even during minor physical exertion.
  • Pale Skin: The skin might appear paler than usual due to decreased oxygenation.
  • Dizziness and Lightheadedness: Inadequate oxygen reaching the brain can result in dizziness and lightheadedness.
  • Irregular Heartbeat: The heart might work harder to compensate for the decreased oxygen levels, leading to irregular heart rhythms.
  • Cold Hands and Feet: Poor circulation due to low haemoglobin levels can result in cold extremities.

Diagnosing Low Haemoglobin Levels

A complete blood count (CBC) blood test is the primary method used to diagnose low haemoglobin levels. This test provides information about the number and quality of red blood cells in the blood. A lower-than-normal haemoglobin count (usually less than 13.5 grams per deciliter for men and 12 grams per deciliter for women) indicates anemia.

Treatment Options for Low Haemoglobin Levels

The treatment approach for low haemoglobin levels depends on the underlying cause. Some common treatment options include:

  1. Iron Supplements: For cases of iron deficiency anemia, iron supplements are often prescribed to boost the body's iron levels.
  2. Vitamin B12 Injections: Individuals with pernicious anemia may require vitamin B12 injections to replenish their B12 levels.
  3. Treat Underlying Conditions: Addressing chronic diseases and managing infections can help improve haemoglobin levels.
  4. Blood Transfusions: In severe cases, blood transfusions might be necessary to quickly increase haemoglobin levels.
  5. Stem Cell Therapy: Emerging therapies involving stem cells hold promise for stimulating the production of healthy red blood cells.

Prevention of Low Haemoglobin Levels

Preventing low haemoglobin levels involves maintaining a healthy diet rich in iron, vitamin B12, and other essential nutrients. Regular exercise, stress management, and avoiding tobacco use also contribute to overall blood health. It's important to manage chronic conditions effectively and seek medical attention for any unusual symptoms.

When to Seek Medical Help

If you experience persistent fatigue, shortness of breath, pale skin, or any other symptoms associated with low haemoglobin levels, it's advisable to consult a medical professional. Early diagnosis and intervention can prevent further complications.


Maintaining optimal haemoglobin levels is crucial for overall well-being. From understanding the causes and symptoms to exploring treatment options and prevention strategies, we've covered the essential aspects of low haemoglobin levels in this blog. Don't hesitate to book an appointment today with our specialized doctors at Life Medical Centre to address any concerns regarding your haemoglobin levels. Our expert medical team is here to guide you towards a healthier, more vibrant life. Call 043 44 1122 at Life Medical Centre to schedule your appointment and take proactive steps towards better blood health. Remember, your health is our priority.