Haemoglobin is the carrier of oxygen from the lungs to your whole body and carbon dioxide from the tissues to your lungs. It is an iron-containing protein in the red blood cells (RBC). Main function of haemoglobin is to help carry oxygen from lungs to the cells of organs. This provides the cell with energy to perform their functions optimally.
Normal haemoglobin count in a male is 13-15 g/ dl. In a healthy female it is 12 – 14 g/ dl. A value less than 12 g/ dl indicates anaemia, which could be due to deficiency of iron, vitamin B12 or folic acid. Other reasons could be excessive dieting, living an unhealthy lifestyle, some diseases and cancers. A low haemoglobin level can lead to extreme fatigue, bruising easily, fainting spells, swelling of legs, and in some cases lack of blood clotting. In sickle cell anaemia the quality of haemoglobin is defective due to structural abnormalities in the haemoglobin proteins. In thalassemia there is underproduction of normal globin proteins leading to compensatory production of abnormal haemoglobin. Elevated levels of haemoglobin may be seen in exposure to high altitudes congenital heart disease, advanced lung disease, disorder of the bone marrow, etc.