Causes and How to Overcome Hemoglobin Deficiency

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Causes and How to Overcome Hemoglobin Deficiency
Causes and How to Overcome Hemoglobin Deficiency

Hemoglobin is a component in red blood cells that plays an important role in binding oxygen in the blood. When the body lacks hemoglobin, anemia will occur which can cause a number of complaints and he alth problems

Hemoglobin (Hb) is an iron-rich protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen throughout the body. This protein also functions to give blood its red color.

Causes and How to Overcome Hemoglobin Deficiency - Alodokter

Conditions that Cause the Body to Lack Hemoglobin

Lack of hemoglobin can be caused by a number of diseases that result in reduced levels of red blood cells in the body. This condition occurs because of three things, namely:

Hb production decreases

Hb production in the body decreases can be caused by iron deficiency anemia. Iron deficiency anemia is one of the most common types of anemia. This condition occurs because the body lacks iron which is an important component to produce hemoglobin.

In addition, some conditions or diseases that can cause the production of Hb in the body to decrease are:

  • Iron deficiency anemia
  • Aplastic anemia
  • Lack of nutrients needed to produce red blood cells, such as vitamin B12 or folic acid
  • Chronic kidney failure or severe liver damage
  • blood cancer
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Side effects of certain drugs, such as chemotherapy drugs and antiretroviral (ARV) drugs for HIV infection

In order to function properly, the hemoglobin level in the blood must be within the normal range. The normal Hb level for adult men is 13 g/dL (grams per deciliter), while the normal Hb level for adult women is 12 g/dL.

In infants, normal Hb levels are 11 g/dL, children aged 1–6 years are 11.5 g/dL, and children to adolescents aged 6–18 years are in the range of 12 g/dL. Meanwhile, the normal Hb level for pregnant women is 11 g/dL.

A person is said to have hemoglobin deficiency if his hemoglobin level is lower than the normal limit. A person's Hb level can be known through a complete blood test, which is an examination of a blood sample which is usually taken from a vein in the arm.

In some people, low Hb levels may not cause symptoms.However, if the Hb level is too low and accompanied by symptoms, such as easy fatigue, headaches, and shortness of breath, then the hemoglobin deficiency is likely to have progressed to anemia or lack of blood.

Hemoglobin disorders

Some disorders can destroy hemoglobin faster than the body's ability to make it. The condition of the disorder can be:

  • Porphyria
  • Splenomegaly or swelling of the spleen
  • Vasculitis or inflammation of the blood vessels
  • Hemolytic anemia
  • thalassemia
  • Sickle cell anemia

Body loses blood

Some conditions that can cause the body to lose blood, namely:

  • Bleeding due to injury or surgery
  • Bleeding in the gastrointestinal tract due to peptic ulcers, hemorrhoids, or colon cancer
  • Bleeding in the urinary tract
  • Menorraghia or heavy menstruation
  • Too often donate blood
  • Chronic infections, such as intestinal worms

Low hemoglobin levels are not always a sign of something serious. However, this condition should still be checked by a doctor because it could be a sign of certain diseases, especially if it has caused severe symptoms.

The symptoms that arise due to a lack of hemoglobin can be similar to the symptoms of anemia in general and are accompanied by certain symptoms according to the underlying disease.

How to Overcome Hemoglobin Deficiency

Hemoglobin deficiency can be overcome by increasing hemoglobin levels or treating diseases that cause hemoglobin levels to decrease. Because it can be caused by many things, a hemoglobin deficiency should be checked by a doctor further.

After the doctor finds out what causes the body to lack hemoglobin or anemia, there are several treatment steps that can be taken, such as:

1. Increase intake of iron, vitamin B12, and folate

Iron, vitamin B12, and folate are nutrients that play an important role in the production of hemoglobin-rich red blood cells. Therefore, if the body lacks hemoglobin, you need to increase your intake of foods rich in iron, vitamin B12, and folate, such as:

  • Beef liver or chicken liver
  • Meat
  • Seafood, such as fish, shrimp and shellfish
  • Green vegetables, such as spinach, broccoli, and kale
  • Beans, such as green beans, kidney beans, and soybeans
  • Cereals fortified with iron and folate

In addition to food, your doctor may give you supplements that contain iron, folate, and vitamin B12.The World He alth Organization (WHO) recommends iron supplements at a dose of 30–60 mg for adults to prevent anemia and increase hemoglobin count.

Although it is generally safe to consume, some people may experience some side effects, such as nausea, constipation, stomach pain, and black stools, when taking iron tablets. Therefore, make sure that the dosage of supplements you take is in accordance with the doctor's recommendations.

In addition to the intake above, you can also eat foods that contain vitamin C to help the body absorb more iron.

2. Erythropoietin therapy

Erythropoietin therapy is hormone therapy to stimulate the production of red blood cells. This treatment option is for anemia due to severe kidney disease that causes inadequate production of the hormone erythropoietin.

The use of this hormone can also be used to treat anemia due to chemotherapy side effects, bone marrow disorders, and anemia caused by cancer.

3. Blood transfusion

Blood transfusion is needed to increase Hb in conditions when the body is unable to make Hb normally, for example due to thalassemia and sickle cell anemia. Blood transfusions are also given for severe anemia when the Hb level has fallen below the normal limit.

People who regularly receive blood transfusions need iron chelation therapy to prevent excess iron levels due to transfusions.

4. Stem cell therapy

This therapy is one of the therapeutic options to treat hemoglobin diseases, such as thalassemia. Patients with thalassemia must regularly receive blood transfusions so that the need for Hb is fulfilled.

Stem cell therapy is carried out by means of graft surgery or bone marrow transplantation to support normal Hb production. However, this procedure has drawbacks, namely the risk of fatal complications and high operating costs.Therefore, it is necessary to have a good medical examination and consideration before undergoing this procedure.

The condition of hemoglobin deficiency is certainly not something that can be ignored. Therefore, it is important to recognize normal Hb levels and the causes and ways to deal with decreased Hb levels. To find out the Hb level in the blood, you can do a hemoglobin test at a hospital, clinic, or he alth center.

If you experience symptoms of hemoglobin deficiency (anemia) or have a he alth condition that puts you at risk for hemoglobin deficiency, please go to the doctor immediately to undergo an examination and receive adequate treatment.

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