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Hello,

My boyfriend called me earlier today and told me he got the results from the blood test he took ealier in the week. He said the doctor pulled him aside (which freaked him out) and told him that he might be severely anemic and how did he not notice it before? The doctor told him his hemoglobin count was 9, whereas I guess a normal count is 15? My bf said three months ago he had a count and it was 15, but now it's 9. My question is: is that a really low count, and how low can that count go before it's considered 'dangerous' level? I don't know anything about how blood works, forgive my ignorance. The doctors told my bf to stop taking all his vitamins/supplements for now, as they are trying to identify the precise cause of his low hemoglobin? I know this is a crazy question, but with a count of 9 for hemoglobin, could you guys have any inkling what a common cause would be for that? Thanks for your help!!!!
A hemoglobin of 9 is much more alarming in a male than a female because men never have any other excuses for bleeding. So *any* drop in hemoglobin in a male should be investiged.

The doctor is correct in first trying to determine the type of anemia.

If it turns out to be iron deficiency, then your boyfriend would need an examination, pronto, of his GI tract (endoscopy and colonoscopy). Those are the two most common sources of bleeding.

He could also have a B12 deficiency and the blood tests will show that. I think the a B12 deficiency has much less "ominous" causes than iron deficiency.

Hang in there, I know the waiting is tough. He must feel AWFUL with a hemoglobin of 9.
let's just say, I've seen hemoglobin counts as low as 3.1 in a living person -- granted that person was hanging on ... but what makes a hemoglobin, or for that matter, a hematocrit dangerous is the velocity of change ... beyond the pure absolute number, the change in number makes a huge difference ...

patients/people who have rapid changes in H/H's are more likely to be symptomatic because the body has less time to adapt to a low H/H and decreased blood oxygen content, but surprisingly, if a patient/person's H/H drops very slowly the body learns to accomodate ... for every person, there is an absolute low H/H(and for that matter a velocity change in H/H) after which the patient cannot tolerate the blood counts and will manifest with symptoms, those numbers is completely dependent on a patient's underlying medical health(e.g those with heart disease/lung disease are more suspectible to anemia) -- this "dangerous" level has the same principles .. what's dangerous to some may be readily tolerable to others ... an older patient with severe heart disease may have a heart attack with a hemoglobin of 9, while a young 18 y/o male without any health issue may easily tolerate a hgb of 4 ...
the statistics of your boyfriends anemia will depend on his age .. but knowing that he had a n/l hgb approximately 3 months ago is relatively suggestive that either his bleeding from somewhere or that he's hemolyzing(breakin' open) red blood cells ...

while it's possible that your BF's hgb from 3 m/a could have been falsely elevated by dehyration, but shouldn't normalize it from a true low of 9 ..

and nutritional deficiencies, like iron deficiency and B12, are also unlikely to manifest so quickly, without any other abnormality noted on his 3 m/a CBC like small/large red blood cells(microcytosis/macrocytosis) or pale red blood cells(hypochromic)

so my best guess would be that you BF is going to need a DRE(digital rectal exam) to make sure he's not passing blood from below .. but he needs a more elaborate lab work up additionally

best of luck





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