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Guest tearose

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Guest tearose

I am trying to understand what the numbers mean and what effects them.

On occasion a long time ago, I have had this...I recently had bloodwork done and all my tests were fine except hemoglobin was at 11.4 and normal is suppose to be 12-16.

Is this a big deal?

I have gone through medical menopause so I wonder if this is just low blood volume looking like anemia.

I am of Mediterranean heritage and was under the impression from past studies that my slightly spherical red blood cells were just carrying less oxygen and would make me appear anemic but that the test was not really accurate because of the irregular cell shape.

I want to refresh my memory before calling my pcp back but I never considered what part POTS plays in these levels. I don't remember being thirsty or dehydrated but could these levels be effected by being slightly dehydrated?

Gosh, I thought I knew this stuff, what happened to my memory?

thanks, tearose

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The hemoglobin value you described tells you how many grams of hemoglobin you have per deciliter of blood. It doesn't tell you anything about the total amount of hemoglobin you have in your bloodstream.

After I had been taking Epogen for a while, I had a hemoglobin of 15 g/dL, which sounds pretty good for a woman who is still having periods. However, a blood volume determination showed that my plasma volume was extremely low, so I was really anemic, despite a respectable-sounding hemoglobin. It also explained why I looked and felt like a zombie.

If you dilute your blood by drinking huge amounts of saltwater or getting saline IVs right before the test, your hemoglobin level will be falsely low. If you are dehydrated or otherwise volume depleted, you may have a falsely high hemoglobin level.

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Hi Tea,

I was just printing out the "What Helps" page to bring to my dr this afternoon and noticed that it says that correcting anemia can help our symptoms. You probably already knew this, but just wanted to mention it. It makes sense because both anemia and POTS make it harder for oxygen to get to the brain.

My mom has been anemic for as long as I can remember, and hers is caused by her kidneys not producing enough erythropoietin (sp?). But there are probably many causes. Let us know what your dr thinks...


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If your total RBC and total WBC are low, then your blood may be more dilute or your bone marrow may be underfunctioning or you could have had a bleed somewhere. That would make less hemoglobin in the blood due to less RBCs to carry it.

If your MCV (cell size) is low, you may be too low in iron to complete the hemoglobin molecules -- which can be due to diet or digestion/absorption.

If your MCV is high, you may be low in B12 and/or folic acid and this will effect how well the bone marrow could make new cells.

If you have any sickling then perhaps the cells carry less hemoglobin (I think it is a different shaped hemoglobin molecule) and so this might affect the "normal" levels when compared to people without sickled cells.

Hemoglobin by itself doesn't paint enough of a picture to tell you why it is low unless you have other tests or problems you know about.

If everything else is normal except the hemoglobin, you may be low in protein or something and just not making enough.

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