Some people learn that their hemoglobin is low when they try to donate blood. Being turned down for blood donation isn't necessarily a cause for concern. You can have a hemoglobin count that's fine for you but doesn't meet the standards blood donation centers set.
If your hemoglobin count is only a little under the required level, particularly if you've been accepted for blood donation in the past, you might just need to wait a couple of months and try again. If the problem continues, make an appointment with your doctor.
Make an appointment if you have signs and symptoms
If you have signs and symptoms of a low hemoglobin count, make an appointment with your doctor. Signs and symptoms can include:
- Pale skin and gums
- Shortness of breath
- A fast or irregular heartbeat
Your doctor might recommend a complete blood count test to determine whether you have a low hemoglobin count. If your test reveals that you have a low hemoglobin count, you'll likely need more testing to determine the cause.
May 30, 2020
- Hemoglobin. Lab Tests Online. https://labtestsonline.org/tests/hemoglobin. Accessed March 6, 2020.
- McPherson RA, et al. Erythrocytic disorders. In: Henry's Clinical Diagnosis and Management by Laboratory Methods. 23rd ed. Elsevier Inc.; 2017. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed March 6, 2020.
- Leung LLK. Approach to the adult with anemia. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed March 6, 2020.
- Low red blood cell counts (anemia). American Cancer Society. https://www.cancer.org/treatment/treatments-and-side-effects/physical-side-effects/low-blood-counts/anemia.html. Accessed March 6, 2020.
- Donors deferred for low hemoglobin. American Red Cross. https://www.redcrossblood.org/donate-blood/blood-donation-process/before-during-after/iron-blood-donation/donors-deferred-forlowhemoglobin.html. Accessed March 20, 2020.