Hemoglobin and its importance
Oxygen is the most essential element required to sustain human life. If an adequate supply of oxygen is not circulated throughout the body to vital organs and tissues, brain damage, organ failure and death can result. Hemoglobin (Hb), the iron-containing respiratory protein in red blood cells, is responsible for transporting oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. Measured in grams per deciliter (g/dL), hemoglobin levels indicate the blood’s ability to carry oxygen and iron. Too little iron interferes with vital functions and leads to morbidity and mortality. The stakes are higher in women specially, those who are not particular about iron and other nutrients in their diet, as the drop in hemoglobin could be more than usual, leading to weakness and poor routine performance.
Normal hemoglobin levels differ between males and females, ranging from: * 12-16 g/dL for women and
* 13-18 g/dL for men
A low hemoglobin level is called anemia, which can indicate a variety of serious medical conditions that may require immediate treatment. * More than 2 billion people worldwide are anemic.
* Iron Deficiency Anemia (IDA) accounts for at least half of all anemia cases worldwide. * Causes almost 1 million deaths a year.
* Recognized as a top-ten contributing factor to the global burden of disease.
Types and Causes
Anemia can be chronic (consistently low hemoglobin levels) or acute (suddenly lower hemoglobin levels), resulting from: Dietary iron deficiency, known as Iron Deficiency Anemia (IDA) Blood loss (from internal or external bleeding) due to surgery or trauma Renal (kidney) failure
Drugs administered, such as in cancer therapy
Signs and Symptoms
Anemia often goes undetected as symptoms can be small and vague. Most commonly-reported symptoms, includes weakness or fatigue, general malaise (feeling unwell), poor concentration, pallor (pale skin, mucosal linings and nail beds), pica (consumption of ice,...
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