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Old 11-30-2007, 03:27 PM   #1
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Hb levels when donating blood -- when to be concerned

Every time I donate blood, I don't make the cutoff on the hemoglobin test the first time (11.5 this time, they said it needs to be 12.5). When they retest it (usually after rubbing and warming my hand), I just make it.

This alone would not concern me, but unfortunately after donating blood I am wiped out completely for three to four days. This fatigue interferes with my daily activities. I thought I was giving blood too often so I cut back to three times a year but that didn't help either. My doctor doesn't seem concerned, but since I was anemic as a child I wonder if there is any relationship.

Should I be concerned? Any opinions will be appreciated!

 
Old 11-30-2007, 08:37 PM   #2
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Re: Hb levels when donating blood -- when to be concerned

robin--I would get a CBC to see what my Hgb level really runs. I'm not sure that the tests they do at the blood banks are real accurate. If my Hgb was an 11-12 I would not be giving donations. Looks like you run a borderline Hgb, 12 is anemic. Optimal Hgb for a female is 14, normal range is 12-16 and you are on the low end of normal if I'm understanding your post correctly. You should listen to your body because it is telling you something. That is how I feel after having a period, not a good sign. Sounds like it's too much loss for you. Doctors are not too concerned because it doesn't effect them, sorry but true. I complained 2 years ago and didn't get any help other than BCP's offered that I refused to take. Now I'm ill thanks to that doctor not treating me.

I would try once a year donations if necessary and keep regular CBC's to make sure you are not becoming anemic. I would ask for a Ferritin test also to be sure that your stores are not being lowered by this donation process or anything else.

If you are still having periods you need to be extra careful if they become heavy, they don't even have to be heavy to make you anemic.

I can't say about anemia as a child because that is usually due to diet and growth spurts. May or may not be related to this. You are smart to be concerned. FLFLOWERGIRL

 
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Old 12-01-2007, 02:49 AM   #3
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Re: Hb levels when donating blood -- when to be concerned

If your hemoglobin is running that low, then you should not be giving blood only because it means that you *probably* have no iron stores left. Anemia (or low hemoglobin) is the "end stage" of iron depletion. Unfortunately, the Red Cross does not care about your iron storage levels and will take blood even if you are at the lower end.

I agree with getting a ferritin test done through your doctor's office. If you find that your ferritin is even at the low end of the "normal" range, you may want to give up all thoughts of donating blood for awhile--at least until you can build yourself back up.

 
Old 12-04-2007, 08:40 AM   #4
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Re: Hb levels when donating blood -- when to be concerned

Thank you so much for the help, FLFLOWERGIRL and ChristineVA. What you said makes a lot of sense to me. I am due for a physical soon and will try to get my doctor to test my ferritin.

One other question: Could donating blood deplete stores of B vitamins like it could iron? For various reasons, I had suspected I had a vitamin B12 deficiency for a while. After taking a sublingual liquid supplement for a while I felt more normal than I had in years (until I donated blood).

I was just wondering if I should have that looked into at the same time I get my ferritin levels checked.

Thanks!

 
Old 12-04-2007, 10:06 AM   #5
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Re: Hb levels when donating blood -- when to be concerned

Quote:
Originally Posted by robin280 View Post
One other question: Could donating blood deplete stores of B vitamins like it could iron? For various reasons, I had suspected I had a vitamin B12 deficiency for a while. After taking a sublingual liquid supplement for a while I felt more normal than I had in years (until I donated blood).

I was just wondering if I should have that looked into at the same time I get my ferritin levels checked.

Thanks!
Robin--I don't think that B-12 works that way. It takes years to deplete B-12which is stored in the organs same as the Ferritin stores. You can have (IDA) anemia and B-12 deficiency at the same time and when anemia is checked so should B-12 and folate. Some docs do not do this, unfortunately, you may need to ask for this also. The recommended B-12 sublingual is Methylcobalamin, this form is the best absorbed. FLFLOWERGIRL

 
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