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Hemoglobin Levels (cont.)

What does low hemoglobin mean?

Low hemoglobin means that a person's hemoglobin level when measured, is below the lowest limits of normal for their age and sex (see above normal range of values). For example, a 19 year old male would have low hemoglobin if the detected blood value was below 13.6 g/dl. Another term frequently used in place of low hemoglobin is anemia, or the person is described as being anemic. Some of the more common causes of anemia are as follows:

  • Nutritional (iron, folic acid, or vitamin B 12 deficiency [pernicious anemia])
  • Gastrointestinal blood loss (ulcers, colon cancer)
  • Kidney problems
  • Blood loss (from trauma or surgery)
  • Red Blood cell synthesis problems (bone marrow disorders, genetic disorders such as sickle cell anemia)
  • Bone marrow suppression by chemotherapy or radiation exposure

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