published Thursday, September 13th, 2012

Ask a doctor: I tried to donate blood, but my hemoglobin was too low. What does that mean?

Dr. Liz Culler

Readers: To submit a question for medical doctors, email it to Clint Cooper at See this space each week for answers.

Q: I tried to donate blood, but my hemoglobin was too low. What does that mean, and what should I do?

A: Hemoglobin is an indicator of how many red cells you have. Approximately 10 percent of potential blood donors are deferred from donation because their hemoglobin does not meet the 12.5 grams per deciliter (g/dL) hemoglobin requirement to donate.

A hemo-globin level of less than 12.0 g/dL in women and less than 13.0 g/dL in men indicates anemia, meaning the red cell count is low. It is important to rule out serious causes of anemia. The most common cause is iron deficiency. If iron deficiency is the cause of your anemia, then consume iron-rich foods such as meat, eggs, dairy products, dried beans, peas, iron-fortified cereals, dark green leafy vegetables, dried fruits, nuts and seeds. Consuming foods rich in vitamin C can help your body absorb the iron more effectively.

-- Dr. Liz Culler,

Blood Assurance;

member, Chattanooga-Hamilton County Medical Society

Other National Articles

videos »         

photos »         

e-edition »


Find a Business

400 East 11th St., Chattanooga, TN 37403
General Information (423) 756-6900
Copyright, Permissions, Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy, Ethics policy - Copyright ©2014, Chattanooga Publishing Company, Inc. All rights reserved.
This document may not be reprinted without the express written permission of Chattanooga Publishing Company, Inc.