Haemoglobin, Iron and Anaemia
What is haemoglobin?
Haemoglobin is the red pigment of the blood. It contains iron and carries oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. The haemoglobin level varies from person to person and even from day to day. However young donors, pre-menopausal female donors, donors who donate very regularly and donors whose diets have a low iron content are at greater risk of developing iron deficiency as a result of blood donation. Men usually have higher levels than women.
What is iron?
Iron is an essential nutrient. It is a component of haemoglobin, in red blood cells, and of myoglobin, in muscle cells, which are responsible for transporting oxygen around the body and for storage of oxygen in muscles and tissues respectively. Iron is also a component of enzymes that are important for energy metabolism.
What is anaemia?
Anaemia occurs when the haemoglobin level is lower than normal. Although the human body is able to store some iron to replace any that is lost, low iron levels over a long period of time can lead to iron deficiency anaemia and result in individuals experiencing a variety of symptoms, including; lack of energy, shortness of breath, pale skin, headache, irritability, dizziness, palpitations and weight loss.