Video:What Your Hemoglobin Count Meanswith Dr. Robert Lahita
A hemoglobin count can indicate a lot about your blood's health, but what does your hemoglobin count really mean? Find out about your hemoglobin count and whether it's normal in this health video from About.com.See Transcript
Transcript:What Your Hemoglobin Count Means
Hi I'm Dr. Bob Lahita, Chairman of Medicine at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center and Professor of Medicine at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. We're going to talk about what your hemoglobin count means.
What is a Hemoglobin Count?
Well actually there are 2 things: the hemoglobin and the hematocrit. Now your hemoglobin is normally in the range of say 12 to 15. And the 12 to 15 is very important. The 12 to 15 is then reflected in your hematocrit. The hematocrit is actually the number of red blood cells per cc, and that is a measure--it's usually 3 times the hemoglobin--of how many red blood cells you have in your body. And, as I say in another segment, you need these red blood cells to carry oxygen to your cells and tissues.
Anemia and Indices
Without a very normal hemoglobin or normal hematocrit we say that you have anemia. There are many, many causes of anemia - one of them is iron deficiency, some metabolic causes, there can be infectious causes of anemia and there can also be conditions where you lose blood such as a bleeding ulcer, or if your bone marrow stops making the red cells.
In all of those cases, the first thing to go is the hemoglobin level, which drops, and of course the hematocrit, which is simply another measure of the hemoglobin, but measured differently, also drops. These are very important indices, and while I'm talking about indices, your doctor can look at your red blood cells under the microscope and determine whether you are vitamin deficient, iron deficient, or have some other abnormalities, such as a hemolitic anemia, which is a big term - which means that the red cells just pop like balloons: and that can cause severe disease.
Symptoms of Low Hemoglobin Count
What are the symptoms of a low hemoglobin and low hematocrit? The symptoms of that are exhaustion, tiredness, breathlessness, listlessness, feeling that you have to sleep all the time, inability to lift packages or go up and down stairs.
This is the importance of your hemoglobin. For more information about this, go to About.com.