Haemoglobin, that somewhat common word we hear during our annual check-ups, is often overlooked but plays a significant role in our overall health. If you’ve ever been told your haemoglobin levels are low, you might wonder what all the fuss is about.
You may even take low haemoglobin for granted until it becomes something way too serious. That’s the approach for most of us, isn’t it? We do not give much attention to health abnormalities as long as they do not interfere with our present. But this is where we go wrong. Health abnormalities can become serious, and affect not just us but our loved ones as well.
So, if your health reports indicate you have a low haemoglobin, seek medical advice immediately. Here are the health repercussions of low haemoglobin.
But before we do, let’s cover the basics, shall we?
What is haemoglobin?
Before we dive into the potential pitfalls of low haemoglobin, let’s understand the basics. Haemoglobin is responsible for transporting oxygen from your lungs to every nook and cranny in your body. So, if you have low haemoglobin, it can severely affect the functioning of your body.
Lifestyle-related health consequences
Dropped energy levels
Feeling more tired than usual, even after a good night’s sleep? One consequence of low haemoglobin is reduced energy levels. When you don’t have enough haemoglobin to transport oxygen, your cells don’t get the fuel they need, leaving you feeling like you’re running on empty. So, if you’re yawning your way through the day, consider consulting your doctor about the treatment options.
Pale skin: Not just a fashion statement
Our skin is the one thing we are all conscious about. So, if you have low haemoglobin, you may want to consider treatment options. Low haemoglobin levels can lead to paleness, often described as “pallor.”
Low haemoglobin levels can disrupt your digestive system, leading to chronic constipation, diarrhoea, and abdominal discomfort. It hampers the efficient functioning of your gastrointestinal tract, impacting overall well-being.
Hair loss: Not just a bad hair day
You can bear that one bad hair day, but not many. If hair fall is something you dread, you might want to consider low haemoglobin seriously. Inadequate oxygen supply to hair follicles due to low haemoglobin can contribute to hair loss.
Cognitive function and mental clarity
Insufficient oxygen to the brain due to low haemoglobin levels can lead to cognitive impairment. Memory issues, poor concentration, and mental fog are common in these cases. Such cognitive decline can significantly impact your quality of life and daily functionality.
Digestive woes: low haemoglobin’s influence
Low haemoglobin can also take a toll on your digestive system. Due to reduced oxygen supply, you can experience tummy troubles like constipation or diarrhoea.
Shortness of breath: When climbing stairs feels like climbing Everest
You don’t need to be an Olympic athlete to notice when climbing a flight of stairs feels like a major feat. Low haemoglobin can leave you gasping for breath even during light activities, which isn’t ideal when you just want to make it to the office without breaking a sweat.
Serious health consequences of low haemoglobin
Low levels of haemoglobin cannot only affect your daily lifestyle but can have some serious health consequences.
Feeling dizzy and lightheaded
Low haemoglobin can lead to dizziness and light-headedness. Your brain needs oxygen but when that oxygen supply dwindles, it can result in dizziness.
Pregnant women with low haemoglobin levels face higher risks. It can lead to complications during childbirth, including preterm birth and low birth weight, affecting both the mother and the newborn.
Anaemia: More than just feeling tired
Anaemia, a common outcome of low haemoglobin levels, is not merely about fatigue. It’s a recognized medical condition that can result in severe complications, including an increased risk of stroke, heart attacks, and cognitive decline. In advanced cases, it can even be life-threatening.
The heart, the body’s engine, bears the brunt of low haemoglobin levels. It works harder to compensate for reduced oxygen transport, leading to an increased risk of high blood pressure, irregular heart rhythms, and, in severe cases, heart failure. Low haemoglobin is closely associated with cardiovascular diseases.
Compromised immune system
Haemoglobin isn’t limited to oxygen transport; it also plays a role in supporting the immune system. Low haemoglobin weakens your body’s defences against infections, rendering you more susceptible to illnesses. Even common infections can take a severe turn when your immune system is compromised.
Increased risk for thrombosis
Low haemoglobin levels can result in thicker blood due to reduced oxygen-carrying capacity. This thickened blood is more prone to clotting, increasing the risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT), pulmonary embolism, and stroke.
Impaired wound healing
Low haemoglobin levels can slow down the body’s natural healing processes. Wounds take longer to heal, leaving them vulnerable to infections and complications.
Low haemoglobin levels aren’t a minor concern; they come with serious health consequences. From anaemia’s severe complications to cardiovascular risks, compromised immunity, cognitive decline, thrombosis, digestive disturbances, and impaired wound healing, the impact on your overall well-being can be profound. Recognising and addressing low haemoglobin levels is essential to mitigate these risks. If you suspect or have been diagnosed with low haemoglobin, consult with a healthcare professional for a thorough evaluation and appropriate treatment. Prioritising healthy haemoglobin levels is a crucial step towards safeguarding your health and preventing potentially life-threatening complications.