How can we help my wife improve her hemoglobin and can low hemoglogin be a cause of a heart attack?

25 answers | Last updated: Apr 16, 2014
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Caring.com User - Jennifer Serafin, N.P.
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Jennifer Serafin, N.P. is a registered nurse and geriatric nurse practitioner at the Jewish Homes for the Aged in San Francisco.
29% helpful

This is a very tough problem. There are a couple of issues going on here that I will address.

1) Low Hemoglobin: A hemoglobin of 6.4 is critically low and See also:
What to Expect After a Heart Attack

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needs to be addressed immediately.  Your wife feels bad because she is severely anemic (she doesn't have enough blood)- this is why she is tired, cold, and has headaches. With a hemoglobin this low, we would usually do a blood transfusion, as your wife is in danger of dying, She could have a heart attack from the lack of blood. She needs to be hospitalized to find out why she is so anemic and to get the care that she needs.

2) Mood swings: Your wife really sounds like she is have some severe mood swings, which may be a sign of mental illness. She really needs to talk to a psychiatrist, as she may be suffering from a post traumatic stress disorder or severe depression.

Basically, your wife has several issues going on that need immediate attention. I think that you should take her to the hospital to get the help that she needs. I know that she is distrustful, but she is in danger of dying if she does not get help.

 

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20% helpful
mustangsally91 answered...

Yes, your wife needs to be in a hospital to find out why her hemoglobin is dangerously low. One thing that could be causing this, is kidney failure, it is what took my mother's life but no one found out in time. It could also be some kind of GI bleed but you won't know til your wife is in a hospital to be tested. Also, with your wife's age, she could be experiencing hormonal changes which need to be tested. I am so sorry that you and your son are having to deal with all these unknowns. Please get your wife some help and tell her that you love her and need her. My thoughts are with all of you.

 

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An anonymous caregiver answered...

This is information is very help I am a teen who has discovered that I have a very low Hemoglobin level my doctor has suggested that I take iron supplements. I have not spoken to my doctor however she has perscribed an iron supplement. I was suprised that many people are feeling the way I do. I do have mood swings, and I do become very tired after school. But I thought that was normal. At first I thought it was because some times I would forget to take my one aday vitamins. I would notice how sleepy I would get. I also noticed how I would be constipated and would have a feeing like I could not breathe. However this feeling in my heart was only tempoary.but the constipation is persisitent. I have not started the iron supplement just yet

 

29% helpful
ShimmerMe answered...

Oh my goodness. She MUST get to a hospital. Why would her doctors allow her to leave with a level of 6.4??????

I came across this looking up low hemoglobin. I recently had a blood transfusion (my hemoglobin reached 6.2). I had passed out, having flu like symtoms - was in the hospital at the time it was lowest and I don't even remember signing a waiver to get a blood transfusion. Eventually found out I had contracted an infectious strain of C. Diff - it's terrible and don't wish it on anyone. If you're wife is constipated it's safe to say that C. Diff is not her concern, but she is NOT getting enough oxygen to function.

The low hemoglobin would also explain mood swings. She likely has a hard time standing, carry things, focusing, or just living her life. She may be skeptical about doctors and there could be a reason she feels that way. However, if she is not able to find the source of the issue and her levels drop even lower, she WILL end up in the emergency room at some point - best case scenario. She's already in a critical state. When a person has low hemoglobin, your sense of judgement disappears - it's like being drunk. (DO NOT LET HER DRIVE!!!!). They released me from the hospital after 5 days b/c they didn't find out what was wrong in my scenario....my hemoglobin was at 8 something when I left and I got a speeding ticket on a street drove every day. I didn't even know where I was.

I'd offer a suggestion of letting her know that you care and want to do whatever you can to help see that she is healthy - immediately. Set up an appointment, fill out any forms ahead of time and bring her there. Take the weight off of her shoulders - she probably can't even deal with filling out paperwork b/c it seems too exhausting.

This is coming from a 31 yr old female who ran marathons until a few months ago ( I'll be able to do them again even by fall after being on the medications to heal :)). Experiencing what it's like to only have half of your oxygen supply, I understand that she is only half alive right now. I hope to see a post that that everything works itself out! :)

 

33% helpful
mac5 answered...

My hemoglobin dropped to 5. My doctors would'nt even wait for my blood type. The started type O and I had 4 units of blood to get it back up to 7..8.

 

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An anonymous caregiver answered...

My sister was 47, her blood had dropped to a 5, many of the same symptoms your wife has. Extremely tired, having to fight to stay awake at work, She was diag. with phemonia, but after 3 months of taking antibiotics, going to doctors to see if she had verdigo, a flutter in her ears, digestive issues, rash on her neck, eyebrows fell out, she became jaundice, that's when her blood was finally tested and she was at a 5. She also had a warm antibody in her blood. She had to wait over a week for the blood transfusion hard to match with the antibody. We were exposed to black mold. My sister did not make it, she died at home. Look around your homes, make sure you read up on toxic mold, they present many of the same symptoms. My sister might still be here if she had gotten proper help from the start and if we had educated ourselves more. Please get your wife the transfusion and we wish you the best.

 

mustangsally91 answered...

Loosing my mind: Most any doctor can order the blood test so what is important is to get the test done as soon as possible. Once you get the results you can then ask the doctor who ordered the test if you need to see a specialist. It really depends on the cause of the low count. Here is a list of causes: Diseases and conditions that cause your body to produce fewer red blood cells than normal include:

Aplastic anemia Cancer Certain medications, such as anti-retroviral drugs for HIV infection and chemotherapy drugs for cancer and other conditions Cirrhosis Hodgkin's lymphoma (Hodgkin's disease) Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) Iron deficiency anemia Kidney disease Lead poisoning Leukemia Multiple myeloma Myelodysplastic syndromes Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma Vitamin deficiency anemia

Diseases and conditions that cause your body to destroy red blood cells faster than they can be made:

Enlarged spleen (splenomegaly) Porphyria Sickle cell anemia Thalassemia Vasculitis

A low hemoglobin count can also be due to blood loss, which can occur because of:

Bleeding from a wound Bleeding in your digestive or urinary tract Frequent blood donation Heavy menstrual periods Nosebleeds

So you can see, there are many causes and each one would need to be ruled out to find the true cause and then find what treatment is needed. I hope you can get the proper diagnosis and treatment. God bless.

 

mbrittney answered...

She needs to be in the hospital. With her levels being that low, she will stop producing blood. I'm 15, I'm severely anemic and I got sent to the hospital with a hemaglobin of 8.2 and it dropped to a 5 in a matter of 3 days. I had to get a blood transfusion, two actually. I was feeling fine until I got admitted in the hospital. I always had bad headaches and was tired but I thought that was normal for me but I found out it wasnt. As my levels kept dropping, I got weaker. I could barely walk at all, I was super dizzy, super weak. I literally felt like I was dying and technically I kind of was. I seriously suggest you taking her to the hospital before it gets that bad.

 

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An anonymous caregiver answered...

I am 41 years old and have all the symptoms you mentioned your wife has. I have been as low as 3.2 in my hemoglobin count and needed a transfusion, actually I have had 4 transfusions since 2003 til now. I was recently diagnosed with hypothyroid (sometimes people with thyroid have been wrongly diagnosed with depression due to almost same symptoms) and I am not able to take iron by mouth. I get very nauseous but thank God there is IV iron therapy for me. I get it every month since my bone marrow does not produce iron. Other than that, I am ok. I know what I have is nothing major even thou it sound like it. She will be ok with the right diagnose. I thought it was my husband writing this article when i was riding it. lol

 

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An anonymous caregiver answered...

Have your wife read "Could it be B12" - because a lot of this can stem from low B12. It helped me in SO many maladies, I was just amazed. The "establishment" cares not that you learn about B12.

 

33% helpful
Pushkar answered...

Please check her B12 for mood swings. My father had the same issue. Couple of B12 injections recovered it. Drink plenty of water and eat green vegetables to increase blood.

 

ShrinkNettie answered...

Back before I loss my leg. My blood level went WAY down. I mean I was at the level where, I should had all ready been dead. When, I got rushed into the ER- I was whiter than a bleached sheet and my lips were very purple. I mean- (I had no clue I looked this way; Not until the doctor had something) anyhow- the doctor said "I know what is wrong with her. And I do not even know how she is here right now; or at that matter even talking and making any scene" They got the levels back on my blood and it was believe it or not a 4.9 and I had to have 7 units given back to me. I was there for a day and half having blood put back into my body...

I will tell you this- you NEVER want to feel that type of pain. It hurts. I mean I really hurts. It feels just like death is sitting at the door step. It makes it where you are not able to move- and if you do; you're holding your chest, because it hurts so much, just to roll over. Just to even breath at that matter. So, you get her in. I mean NOW- this is a painful way to go and you do not want too lose her...

Why, I got so bad, was due to my doctor leaving my leg wide open for over a year and half. He, would keep telling me to come back next week- and it kept on and on. I mean it was even open to the bone; and he thought it would heal? How, dumb could he even be?

So, I loss the leg and had that removed; two days after having all that blood put in back in me... Also, once your wife has blood given back to her; she, will also have to be checked a few times- in case she needs some more. I ended up getting more; two times after I had mine done... Thank you, for sharing and I also hope this was helpful. I also want anybody else to know- if this is going on with you. GO IN- it is not way to die and no way to feel- it is painful and it is beyond hell.

 

David arenas answered...

My teenage daughter had hemoglobin of 3 last year and she needed to get 2 blood transfusions. I hope you have taken your wife to a doctor so she could get iron supplements. Best of luck to you and your family. My daughter could barely walk 2 steps up the stairs, anemia can be quite serious. She was very pale, her eyes white, her lips blue, her nails cracked. She could barely eat food. However it is very treatable so do not worry. Make sure your wife eats iron rich food like red meats and prunes and spinach.

 

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An anonymous caregiver answered...

My husband is in the hospital now for low hemoglobin. It went from 8 to 6.5 to 6 in 2 days. He had internal bleeding and we didn't even know it. The Dr said he needed a transfusion or else there is risk for heart attack, stroke and other things.

 

33% helpful
Acarrerow answered...

Last year in April my hemoglobin was 1.6. No that is not a typo. 1.6 was my low. I was originally admitted with ITP (platelet count was 2k) for which I received IVIG treatments for 8 days. Came back 2 days after being released for migraine and I was jaundice. I am the 3rd person to ever have that kind of reaction to IVIG. That started my 3 month stay in ICU. I developed hemolytic anemia. All of my organs started failing and my hemoglobin kept dropping. They could not figure out how I was surviving. In total I had 74 blood transfusions and 68 platelet transfusions. The night it dropped so low is when they told my family to come say goodbye. I would not be alive today if it weren't for the ICU nurses squeezing the blood into me from my IV because for them it wasn't moving fast enough and for my doctor who would not give up despite everyone telling her there was nothing they could do.

 

14% helpful
kristi5676 answered...

I just want to thank you for this thread. My level dropped to 5.3 in 2001(ulcer) and I was immediately admitted to the hospital for tests and transfusion. It's now 2013 and I'm at 7.2 and my new doc is worried. (Haven't seen a doc since just after last episode.) I'm 5'3", 116 pound, 51, female. Have to have more blood work and see a specialist for endoscopy and colonoscopy. I'm working 12 hour shifts and skid about 3 tons of cartons per day. Exhausted and in pain, you betcha, but I figured if I could do all that no way I could be anemic. Wrong.

 

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Healthy Living answered...

In most health concerns there is an autoimmune system problem. A problem with autoimmune system means the cellular communication is not well because the cells are not healthy. Our cells are in great need of glycol nutrients and we hardly get any from our food source now. A company in Coppell Texas called Mannatech is the only place I know that has food source and pure glycol nutrients products. A friend introduced me to these products 15 to 16 years ago when I was having many health issues due to an unhealthy autoimmune system. This took place in my late 20s and in my 30s I am now in my 50s and have been healthier in my 40s and now my 50s then I ever was in my 20s and my 30s. My doctors are amazed with my good health. Neither me or my husband are on prescription drugs. If you would like more information please contact me at brenda@brendawills.com

 

Tolbert answered...

I am a 38 year old female who was just hospitalized for a hemoglobin off 4.5! thank God I work at the hospital where I live and that's where I passed out... with 3 units of blood given Im doing well now, but could have easily went into cardiac arrest and died. please get ur wife to a hospital and have her seen immediately it can save her life. sincerely concerned.

 

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An anonymous caregiver answered...

I'm no expert but, my hemoglobin got low, finally down to 5.3, I had to have an IV every Friday afternoon with medicines to get it up to normal, I was losing weight got down to 80 pounds, The doctors said I was dying and could not figure out why, so accused me of being anorexic. I finally found out I am Celiac. Celiac can cause a lot of health problems,some dangerous ones, physical and mental. I had heart palpitations , could not sleep, low blood sugar, would get angry easy when did not eat, It does not affect everyone the same, but it is a serious thing and a person can die from the things that can happen to them, if it is not under control.

 

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An anonymous caregiver answered...

I was hospitalized right before Christmas with a level of 4.8. The drs couldn't believe I walked in and looked as good as I did. Four transfusions later..a colonoscopy and a capsule endoscopy to rule out internal bleeding, and lots of bloodwork, they have diagnosed me with celiac disease. Read up on It and see if that's the symptoms your wife has. In the mean time get her to a hospital. God bless

 

fritscher answered...

i just got home from hospital..i had been feeling week, very unable to even walk a distance without having to sit down, and felt hard pulse in forhead..i had gone to doc as thought it was my heart..when blood tests came back week later (took a while for some reason) my doctor called me on the weekend and told me to go asap to er as my blood was dangerouls low..it was 8 on monday and when I got to er it ws 5. mine came from gi bleed of stomach ulcer. i got 6 pts of blood. my blood levels now are back up to 12.8 after week home..they said i could have died

 

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An anonymous caregiver answered...

This was me! I thought BINGO when she said constipation, I was bleeding when I went potty and it is embarrassing to address. If she is, she is constantly bleeding and losing her iron and hemoglobin,.I had to get iron for 5 hrs each week...but it just dropped again until I confessed the constipation caused the bleeding - I went to hemoroidal surgery and have been normal ever since. My mood has improved and Im not always cold and tired. No one considered this - not my drs or anyone until I talked to two surgeon friends and they were like oh yes, it's probably this - elderly people get it too.l They were right. I am 45 and could have dies with a hemoglobin of 6.

 

Angelicstar74 answered...

I went through this as well. I have been having very heavy menstrual bleeding for quite some time now, accompanied by very large clots and the clotting comes every 5- 10 minutes, sometimes sooner. I had been to doctors but never found a problem. So this time I didnt really want to go to a doctor as my husbands company had a huge lay off and laid off 55 people, him included so our health insurance went out the window. I started staying very tired and pale and just chalked all the bleeding up to stress exacerbating a rough period. I started getting short of breath during the simplest of tasks, well him and I had both just quit smoking so I thought maybe that's what that was about. I wrote all my symptoms off until one night the bleeding was just awful and I followed my old school mom's advice about soaking in the tub, When I got out I couldnt breath, I was seeing flashes of light and knew I was going to pass out, My husband took me to the ER. I told the lady at the check in desk that if she made me wait I would pass out, so they took me to triage and then straight back and put me on a heart monitor because my BP was 78/45 and my heart rate was 158. After blood work, my hemoglobin came back as 5.0. So they admitted me and gave me blood transfusions . I ended up over the next day or so getting 6 bags of blood. After the first 4 my count was at 6.5, and I was still losing more, so they came in the next day and gave me 2 more. They gave me IV premarin to stop the bleeding, which it didnt, but it significantly slowed it. checked my blood count again 4 hours later and it was finally at 8.6. So they decided to send me home with it at 8.6. The odd thing was this... I had 2 nurses come in and tell me that the doctor diagnosed me with Fibroid tumors and would be in to discuss my options tomorrow. Well the doctor I had been seeing while in there was off the next day so another doc who hadnt even looked at my films, discharged me and on my papers clearly stated "Normal uterus, no signs of Fibroids" Well anyway.. he sent me home, that was 13 days ago. The bleeding never stopped it got worse, and I'm starting to be able to hear my own heartbeat again in my head and having dizziness. I truly believe they could have done more, but because of my lack of insurance, they wouldnt

 

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An anonymous caregiver answered...

My friend recently had a very prolonged period (at least 4 weeks). She also had 2 swollen legs and heart palpitations that forced her to stop half blocks so she could stop and rest. Her EKG and BP came back fine when she saw the doctor, but when the blood results came back (about 10 hours later), her hemoglobin was an ASTONISHING 1.8!!!!!!!!!!!!! NO ONE believed she was still alive and alert!!!! We FORCED her to the hospital and after ONLY 3 pints of blood (and a hemoglobin of 6) she signed out of the hospital AGAINST MEDICAL ADVICE!!!!!!!!!!! She followed up with a blood specialist a few days later and he cleared her to take an 18 hour flight!!!!!!!!! I don't know if she is lying about that or if the doctor is giving really bad advice.

 

 
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