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What are the symptoms of low hemoglobin?

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Quick Answer

Symptoms of low hemoglobin levels, a contributing factor of anemia and blood count-related illnesses, include fatigue; shortness of breath; weakness; or a fast or irregular heartbeat, according to Mayo Clinic. Some patients may also experience pale skin and gums.

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Full Answer

Individuals experiencing signs of low hemoglobin levels should consult with a physician to diagnose and treat the cause, recommends Mayo Clinic. Physicians typically complete a blood count test to measure hemoglobin counts and rule out any lifestyle or medical factors that could be contributing to the low levels. People often find out they have low counts when they go to donate blood.

A slightly lowered hemoglobin count does not necessarily indicate an illness, explains Mayo Clinic. In fact, some pregnant women commonly experience low hemoglobin counts. Low hemoglobin levels can be associated with certain conditions or diseases such as anemia, iron deficiencies, leukemia, certain types of cancer and cirrhosis. Low hemoglobin counts can also indicate chronic kidney disease, lead poisoning, multiple myeloma, hypothyroidism and vitamin deficiency anemia.

Low hemoglobin counts occur when individuals experience blood loss or when the body does not produce enough red blood cells, states Mayo Clinic. When the body destroys red blood cells faster than the cells can be produced, hemoglobin counts can decrease as well.

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