What Is Hemoglobin and How Can You Maintain Healthy Levels?

What Is Hemoglobin and How Can You Maintain Healthy Levels?

Apr 25, 2023Sanguina Inc

Hemoglobin is a protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. It is an incredibly important component of our bodies, and understanding its function can help us better understand how our body works and what happens when there are problems with our hemoglobin levels. Let's dive into the basics of hemoglobin and explore why it is so critical to our health.

What Is Hemoglobin and Its Importance in Our Body?

Hemoglobin is a protein that gives red blood cells their characteristic color. This protein binds to oxygen molecules and carries them around the body, delivering them where they are needed most. Without oxygen, nothing in our bodies would be able to function properly, making hemoglobin one of the most important proteins in our bodies.

How Do Red Blood Cells Help Transport Oxygen?

Red blood cells (RBCs) are responsible for carrying oxygen throughout your body. They contain millions of tiny hemoglobin molecules that bind to one molecule of oxygen each. The RBCs then travel through your bloodstream, delivering oxygen wherever it’s needed within your body. As long as enough healthy RBCs remain in circulation, you will have enough hemoglobin to transport oxygen efficiently throughout your body.


What Are Some Common Disorders That Affect Hemoglobin Levels?

The most common disorder affecting hemoglobin levels is anemia, which occurs when there is not enough healthy RBCs in circulation or the RBCs contain too little hemoglobin (or both). Without healthy levels of hemoglobin, you may experience fatigue, shortness of breath, or other symptoms associated with low-oxygen levels in your blood. Other disorders that affect hemoglobin levels include thalassemia and sickle cell anemia. These conditions occur due to genetic mutations that result in abnormal amounts of hemoglobin contained within each RBC. 

How Can I Check My Hemoglobin Levels? 

According to the Mayo Clinic, you can get a hemoglobin test by visiting your primary care physician and requesting a blood test. If you are scheduled for a hemoglobin test, there is no need to change your routine. You may eat and drink normally before the procedure as long as your blood sample will not be used for other tests. Otherwise, fasting may be necessary. In any case, make sure that you follow whichever specific instructions given by your doctor carefully. 

During the actual testing process, either a needle into a vein or just pricking of finger/heel (in infants) is usually conducted depending on which body part works best. This test does not have a down time, and you can go back to carrying out daily activities until results arrive from lab analysis.

What’s A Healthy Hemoglobin Range?

Hemoglobin levels that fall within a healthy range are critical for optimal health. Generally, men should aim to keep their levels between 13.2 and 16.6 grams per deciliter, while women should strive for 11.6 to 15 g/dL. Children's ranges may also differ based on age and gender, so it is best to consult with your healthcare provider about what’s right for you or your family member. 

If your hemoglobin test results are lower or higher than the normal range for your age and gender, there may be other underlying factors or health issues at play. Hemoglobin level changes can be caused by many things, so be sure to engage with your doctor or healthcare provider to talk about your levels and trends, any additional tests needed, or treatment plans. 

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