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Low iron/hemoglobin levels?

I went to donate blood today, and they pricked my finger, which didn't flow very much, and when they got enough blood, my hemoglobin level was 9.9.

They pricked me on the other hand, just to see, and that was 11.6.

I've always been on the low range of the 12s, so just to be safe, so I've been taking (65mg) iron supplements for the past week.

I have spinach salads daily and try to get as much protein/etc as possible, but the college cafeteria diet isn't all that great.

Now that the backstory is there, should I be concerned? Or wait until I'm back home with more "real" food? Is the 11.6 too close to 12 to worry? The fact that there were two totally different numbers, should I have asked for a third prick "tie-breaker"?

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  • 5 years ago
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    Additional information is needed to determine factors that may be associated with the decrease in hemoglobin/hematocrit levels. Current FDA guidelines require all volunteer allogeneic blood donors to have a hemoglobin level of at least 12.5 g/dL prior to collection.

    If you are a female of child bearing age, the most likely cause of your decreased hemoglobin level is menstrual blood loss. If you are a male, it is essential to investigate the cause of iron deficiency, especially potential gastrointestinal loss of blood. Over time, regular loss of blood may lead to iron deficiency.

    Women who regularly donate whole blood may need to increase dietary intake of iron containing foods, or take iron supplementation, to maintain adequate iron stores. Both male and female frequent blood donors may benefit from a multivitamin with iron. You can expect your hemoglobin/hematocrit levels to increase within 4-6 weeks. However, It is important that you contact your personal physician before taking any iron supplementation.

    Source(s): Medical Director - regional blood center
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