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Taking requisite diet and iron tablets to increase hemoglobin levels. Cause of low hemoglobin level?

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Practicing since : 2002
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My hemoglobin levels are low for quite some time (appx 11.5 levels compared to minimum of 12 in males). I am taking requisite diet and supplmentary iron tablets to improve but it is taking too long. I wanted to know why is the hemoglobin level low and how can i increase the production of heboglobin in my body.
Posted Wed, 6 Feb 2013 in Blood Disorders
Answered by Dr. Robert Galamaga 8 hours later
Hello and thank you for sending your question.

Your question is a very good one and I will work on providing you with some information and recommendations.

When the hemoglobin is low there are several different considerations that should be entertained. We want to make sure that there is no active blood loss going on. In addition we want to make sure that the bone marrow is functioning appropriately in creating new blood cells. Lastly we want to make sure that there is no possibility that somewhere in the body the red blood cells are being consumed such as in the spleen.

If your doctor has no other explanation for why your hemoglobin is low it is prudent for you to see a gastroenterologist for a comprehensive consultation. The gastroenterologist may consider doing a colonoscopy as well as a upper endoscopy to assess for any possible areas where there might be some leaking of blood.

If a good comprehensive gastroenterology consultation does not reveal any source of bleeding your doctor should consider other potential causes. There are some inherited disorders which causing mild degree of anemia. The best way to help examine this would be to obtain historical hemoglobin levels for you from many years ago. If they were normal years ago then this is much less likely.

Lastly it would be a good idea for your doctor to have a pathologist look at your blood under the microscope to see if there are any abnormalities which might help to narrow the diagnosis. Sometimes infections or autoimmune disorders or issues with kidney function can affect how the bone marrow generates blood cells. All of this should be considered until an actual cause of your mild anemia is determined.

Thanks again for sending your question. I hope you have found my conversation here to be helpful. If you have any additional specific concerns I would be happy to discuss those with you as well.


Dr. Robert
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