Hemoglobin's Importance in Women's Health: Anemia

Anemia affects more women than men, according to the Office for Women's Health at The Department of Health and Human Services.

Hemoglobin's Importance in Women's Health: Anemia

What exactly is hemoglobin?

Hemoglobin is an iron-containing protein found in red blood cells. Hemoglobin not only gives the blood its red hue, but it also allows red blood cells to transfer oxygen from the lungs throughout the body. It also facilitates the movement of carbon dioxide from the body to the lungs, where it is expelled. 

While normal hemoglobin levels can vary depending on labs or medical practices, the Mayo Clinic recommends the following as broad guidelines: 

  • Nonpregnant women: 12.0-15.5 g/dL
  • Men: 13.5-17.5 g/dL

Is Anemia more prevalent among women?

Anemia affects more women than men, according to the Office for Women's Health at The Department of Health and Human Services. Anemia is more common in pregnant women and women who have heavy menstrual periods. One in every six pregnant women has the disorder, and up to 5% of women of reproductive age become anemic due to heavy monthly flow. According to the Cleveland Clinic, uterine fibroids can induce anemia due to the high monthly flow associated with the illness.

Precautions to Avoid Anemia

Anemia develops when a person has inadequate red blood cells or a crucial blood component called hemoglobin.

This means that your blood may be carrying insufficient oxygen to all parts of your body.

According to the National Women's Health Information Center, some types of anemia are avoidable by taking these foods.

  • Tofu, green and leafy vegetables, lean red meat, lentils, beans, iron-fortified cereals, and pieces of bread are all good sources of iron. 
  • Consume vitamin C-rich foods and beverages.
  • Tea and coffee should not be consumed with meals since they can impair iron absorption.
  • Consume adequate vitamin B12 and folic acid.