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Why do I have low haemoglobin and high triglycerides?

Q: I have been diagnosed with low haemoglobin (10.4 g/dl) and raised triglycerides (237 mg/dl). Please brief me on what do these diagnostic tests mean and what should be the corrective steps?

A:Anaemia is a condition in which the number of red blood cells or the amount of haemoglobin is below normal for age and sex of the individual. It is defined as a decrease in red blood cell (RBC) mass and is usually discovered and quantified by measurement of the RBC count, haemoglobin (Hb) concentration, and haematocrit (Hct). Anaemia is suggested in males with Hb levels less than 13.0 g/dl and in females with Hb levels less than 12.0 g/dl (less than 11.5 g/dl in pregnant women). It may be due to decreased production of red blood cells, blood loss (haemorrhage) or red cell breakdown (haemolysis). Anaemia is a symptom of disease that requires investigation to determine the underlying cause. One of the commonest cause of anaemia in our country is nutritional deficiency - iron deficiency &/or folic acid/vitamin B12 deficiency. Blood loss (haemorrhage) is the commonest cause of excessive iron loss from the body with gastrointestinal bleeding sometimes being so insidious that it may be overlooked. Your triglycerides are high and you need to decrease the amount of saturated fat intake and take regular exercise (40 minutes a day). Please consult a physician who can examine you and find the cause of anaemia and advise you appropriately regarding the raised lipid profile.

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