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What are the Normal Hemoglobin Levels and How are They Measured?

Normal Hemoglobin Levels
Everyone wants to know what the normal hemoglobin levels in blood are. This is because the hemoglobin serves a very important purpose in the body and hence, it is important to maintain the normal levels.
Arjun Kulkarni
Last Updated: Mar 19, 2018
People are always worried whether they have a sufficient hemoglobin count. Why? Because, the hemoglobin in the blood plays a very important role in the daily functioning of the body. It is a type of protein, which is present in the blood. We all know that the oxygen we breathe in, is carried to all the cells in the body by the blood. The actual work of carrying the oxygen to the rest of the body is done by hemoglobin.
Scientifically speaking, it is a metalloprotein in the red blood cells and contains iron. The iron is located inside the heme molecule, and it is this iron that absorbs the oxygen to be delivered to the body. Not only that, but it also absorbs the carbon dioxide from the tissues and delivers it to the lungs to be exhaled. Thus, it can be logically inferred that an iron deficiency will reduce the hemoglobin levels in the body and consequently, the total oxygen levels in the body.
The structure is different in adults and infants. The hemoglobin in a child is a simpler structure of 2 alpha-globulin chains and 2 gamma-globulin chains. It develops into the full-fledged molecule that contains 2 alpha-globulin chains and 2 beta-globulin chains.
Measuring Hemoglobin Levels
These days, several sophisticated machines are available in the market, in which you only need to insert a bit of your blood and they give the full blood report, including your white blood cell and red blood cell counts, your sugar level as well as your hemoglobin level. If you do not have this machine, you can go to a doctor who will be able to measure your hemoglobin count. It (Hb) is measured with a unit called gm/dl.
Age Group Hemoglobin Count (gm/dl)
Newborn Babies 17- 22
Children 11-13
Adults (Male) 14-18
Adults (Female) 12-16
Elderly (Male) 12.4-14.9
Elderly (Female) 11.7-13.8

Fatigue is one of the most common symptoms of low hemoglobin levels. If your hemoglobin level is low, your cells will not get enough oxygen to fuel their activities and you will feel very tired. When enough oxygen does not reach the cells in the body, the heart has to pump harder than usual, to ensure that adequate amount of oxygen reaches the cells. Hence, if you over-stress the heart for a long time, a person with a low hemoglobin count, risks the chances of heart disease. Other problems include shortness of breath, loss of skin color, anemia and fainting.
As discussed earlier, if you have low hemoglobin levels, then you may face the risk of several diseases. Normal hemoglobin levels will be maintained by consuming a balanced diet, which is rich in vitamin B12, folate and of course, iron. Consume foods that are rich in these nutrients, so that you will not will not suffer from a low hemoglobin level. But, if the problem still persists, you can get supplements, which your doctor can prescribe.
So, this was all about the hemoglobin levels in blood. The normal count varies with age group, so ensure that you keep the levels as mentioned in the chart above.