How to Maintain Normal Hemoglobin Levels
Hemoglobin is a protein found in red blood cells. The main objective of hemoglobin in mammals is to transport oxygen to the organs and tissues in the body. Hemoglobin also serves to transmit carbon dioxide from the organs and tissues to the lungs. Due to the importance of its function, it is very important that hemoglobin levels remain stable. In order to control one’s hemoglobin levels, a blood test can be performed. This test is known as the hemoglobin A1C test. This test measures the percentage of hemoglobin in the blood.
This blood test can indicate if you have too much, too little or the perfect amount of hemoglobin in your blood. In this oneHOWTO article we will tell you how maintain normal hemoglobin levels.
Normal levels of hemoglobin in the blood
Hemoglobin (Hb) is responsible for the distribution of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the blood. This level can be determined by a blood count test, done at your doctors. This test can inform you the total hemoglobin of your body. This calculation is needed to workout your Mean Corpuscular Hemoglobin count, otherwise known as MCH. MCH is calculated by dividing the total hemoglobin count by the number of blood cells in your body. This test will determine your level of MCH.
Levels of hemoglobin in the body can often depend on a couple of things:
- Food intake and overall nutrition
- The amount of exercise done
- The gender of a person
The normal levels of hemoglobin in adult men ranges between 12,8 or 14 and 17.2 g / dL. In women, levels are usually lower and range between 12.1 and 15.1 g / dL. If a woman is pregnant this level changes, and should be above 11.0 g / dL.
According to the World Health Organisation, the normal hemoglobin level for children from 6 months to 12 years old is 11 g/ dL. From 12 to 15 years old the level changes to 12.0 g / dL. It is very important for children to have healthy hemoglobin levels, if the distribution of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the body is jeapordized, it can affect the developmental growth of the child.
What does it mean to have low hemoglobin levels
Do you feel tired, weak? Are suffering from headaches, pale skin and gums, shortness of breath and an irregular heartbeat? These can all be symptoms of low hemoglobin levels.
Low hemoglobin levels can cause anemia, otherwise known as a hemoglobin deficit disorder. In this case, one would suffer from iron deficiency anemia, due to the lack of iron produced by the body. This can often occur due to malabsorption of the body´s iron, poor nutrition or of a diet low in iron.
What does it mean to have high hemoglobin levels
Like that of low hemoglobin levels, high hemoglobin levels are also not good for the body and can cause serious damage to one’s health.
High hemoglobin levels can be caused by numerous things, including heart problems, emphysema and being born in high altitude places. It is also common to experience high hemoglobin levels if you often practice climbing or mountaineering. This happens as a result of a decrease in oxygen intake. Your body reacts by over-exerting the amount of hemoglobin released, in order to compensate for the lack of oxygen in the air.
How to maintain normal levels of hemoglobin in the blood
The first thing a person can do is look at their diet. A diet rich in iron can help improve the decrease in hemoglobin levels. If your body is lacking iron, it will find it from other sources, resulting in a decrease of hemoglobin. A diet rich in vitamin B-12  is also suggested. B-12 is needed to support the normal production of hemoglobin and erythrocytes.
Below is a list of foods rich in Iron or Vitamin B-12
- Legumes (lentils, chickpeas and beans)
- Vegetables (Especially those that have a dark green hue).
- Milk (B-12)
- Fortified Cereals (B-12)
- Iron Supplements (consult your doctor beforehand).
Exercise can also help maintain a good level of hemoglobin in the body. By exercising, your body produces an accurate amount of hemoglobin to parallel the amount of oxygen needed in the body. However, it is important to consult your doctor before you begin exercising. The need for exercise can depend on specific factors related to what type of deficiency you are experiencing.
Other factors that can effect hemoglobin levels
It is important to note that high or low hemoglobin levels can also be caused by other factors, including diseases, genetics, diet and exercise.
Low hemoglobin levels can also be caused by;
- Crohn’s disease
- Cirrhosis (scaring of the liver)
- lead poisoning
- Sickle cell Disease (a generic disease in which quality of hemoglobin is abnormal)
High hemoglobin levels can manifest as;
- polycythemia (the opposite of anemia)
- brain tumors
If you feel that you might be suffering from abnormal levels of hemoglobin in the blood, we recommend that you see your doctor as soon as possible.
This article is merely informative, oneHOWTO does not have the authority to prescribe any medical treatments or create a diagnosis. We invite you to visit your doctor if you have any type of condition or pain.
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