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Children's Health

Hemoglobin

11/04/2010

Question:

What kind of diseases hemoglobin deficiency lead to?

 

Answer:

To answer your question, let us first look at what hemoglobin does for the body.

Most simply, hemoglobin is a component of red blood cells (RBCs) which attracts and carries oxygen through the body. There are diseases in which the RBC's are abnormal and this affects their ability to use hemoglobin. There are conditions where due to a lack of iron in the body the RBCs cannot make enough hemoglobin to effectively carry oxygen through the body (anemia, many types). You can have low hemoglobin levels due to bleeding rapidly from an injury or from a slow leak somewhere in your body. There are also more conditions. Therefore, the effects of low hemoglobin can be based upon the body's limited ability to get oxygen to cells only, or a combination of the underlying disease process and a limited ability of the body to get oxygen to the cells of the body.

Symptoms may include growth delay in children, higher heart rates, fatigue and mental changes. Long term effects may include kidney failure, heart failure and death. Learn more here from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute - What is Iron-Deficiency Anemia?

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Response by:

Sarah Sauntry, RN, MS, CPNP-PC
Assistant Professor of Clinical Nursing
College of Nursing
University of Cincinnati