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Hemoglobin Levels: Chart and Information on Body Iron Level

  • Synopsis: Published: 2015-07-20 (Revised/Updated 2017-02-07) - Information regarding high and low blood Hemoglobin levels including chart and list of food with high iron levels. For further information pertaining to this article contact: Ian Langtree at Disabled World.

Hemoglobin (also spelled haemoglobin - Abbreviated Hb or Hgb), is the iron-containing oxygen-transport metalloprotein in the red blood cells of all vertebrates (with the exception of the fish family Channichthyidae) as well as the tissues of some invertebrates. Hemoglobin in the blood carries oxygen from the respiratory organs (lungs or gills) to the rest of the body (i.e. the tissues). There it releases the oxygen to permit aerobic respiration to provide energy to power the functions of the organism in the process called metabolism.

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Quote: "Low iron levels can cause you to feel tired, and extremely low iron levels may cause damage to organs."

Hemoglobin (Hb or Hgb) - Defined as the protein molecule in red blood cells that carries oxygen from the lungs to the body's tissues and returns carbon dioxide from the tissues back to the lungs.

Iron - An essential element for blood production. About 70 percent of the body's iron is found in the red blood cells of blood called hemoglobin and in muscle cells called myoglobin.

Anemia - A term that means less than normal levels of red blood cells or hemoglobin in the blood. The term is derived from the Greek term anaimia, meaning lack of blood.

Symptoms of anemia often include:

Hemoglobin Level Chart:

Normal Hemoglobin Count Ranges Widely Accepted by Physicians
Birth:13.5 to 24.0 g/dl (mean 16.5 g/dl)
<1 mth:10.0 to 20.0 g/dl (mean 13.9 g/dl)
1-2 mths:10.0 to 18.0 g/dl (mean 11.2 g/dl)
2-6 mths:9.5 to 14.0 g/dl (mean 12.6 g/dl)
0.5 to 2 yrs:10.5 to 13.5 g/dl (mean 12.0 g/dl)
2 to 6 yrs:11.5 to 13.5 g/dl (mean 12.5 g/dl)
6-12 yrs:11.5 to 15.5 g/dl (mean 13.5)
Age 12-18 yrs:12.0 to 16.0 g/dl (mean 14.0 g/dl)
Age >18 rs:12.1 to 15.1 g/dl (mean 14.0 g/dl)
12-18 yrs:13.0 to 16.0 g/dl (mean 14.5 g/dl)
>18 yrs:13.6 to 17.7 g/dl (mean 15.5 g/dl)

Low Hemoglobin Count:

A slightly low hemoglobin count isn't always a sign of illness, it may be normal for some people. Women who are pregnant commonly have low hemoglobin counts. A low hemoglobin level count is generally defined as less than 13.5 grams of hemoglobin per deciliter (135 grams per liter) of blood for men and less than 12 grams per deciliter (120 grams per liter) for women. In children, the definition varies with age and sex.

Diseases and conditions that cause your body to produce fewer red blood cells include:

Iron Levels:

Iron is a mineral that's essential for making healthy red blood cells and hemoglobin. Low iron levels can cause you to feel tired, and extremely low iron levels may cause damage to organs. A low blood count can be caused by not eating enough iron-rich foods, donating blood too frequently, chronic illness, or other invisible causes. The daily requirement of iron can often be achieved by taking iron supplements. Ferrous sulfate 325 mg, taken orally once a day, and by eating foods high in iron. Foods high in vitamin C also are recommended because vitamin C helps your body absorb iron. Food with high iron levels include:

  • Bean Sprouts
  • Beets
  • Broccoli
  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Chicken
  • Corn
  • Fish
  • Green Beans
  • Greens, all kinds
  • Kale
  • Lamb
  • Lean beef
  • Lima Beans
  • Liver
  • Mussels
  • Pork
  • Potatoes
  • Shellfish
  • Sweet
  • Peas
  • Tofu
  • Tomatoes
  • Turkey
  • Veal

High Hemoglobin Level:

High hemoglobin level is mainly due to low oxygen levels in the blood (hypoxia), present over a long period of time. Reasons for a high hemoglobin level include:

  • Burns
  • Dehydration
  • Severe COPD
  • Heavy smoking
  • Polycythemia vera
  • Excessive vomiting
  • Living at a high altitude
  • Extreme physical exercise
  • Failure of the right side of the heart
  • Birth defects of the heart, present at birth.
  • Scarring or thickening of the lungs (pulmonary fibrosis) and other severe lung disorders
  • Rare bone marrow diseases that lead to an abnormal increase in the number of blood cells (polycythemia vera)

Hemoglobin A1c Test:

The hemoglobin A1c test, also called HbA1c, glycated hemoglobin test, or glycohemoglobin, is an important blood test that shows how well your diabetes is being controlled. Hemoglobin A1c provides an average of your blood sugar control over the past 2 to 3 months and is used along with home blood sugar monitoring to make adjustments in your diabetes medicines.

  • For people without diabetes, the normal range for the hemoglobin A1c test is between 4% and 5.6%.
  • Hemoglobin A1c levels between 5.7% and 6.4% indicate increased risk of diabetes.
  • Levels of 6.5% or higher indicate diabetes.

The goal for people with diabetes is a hemoglobin A1c less than 7%. The higher the hemoglobin A1c, the higher the risks of developing complications related to diabetes.

Related Information:

  1. Pediatricians Issue New Iron Guidelines - American Academy of Pediatrics - (2010-10-05)
  2. Color of Fingernails and Toenails Can be a Health Indicator - Ian Langtree - (2009-02-28)
  3. Eating Nuts Improves Diabetes Control Without Weight Gain - The Peanut Institute - (2011-08-19)

Information from our Calculators & Charts: Health Weights & Measures section - (Full List).

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