If your hemoglobin concentration drops below the normal range, you are suffering from iron deficiency. In general, the normal range for men and women is 12 to 15 grams per deciliter. This level can be higher in athletes and people living in high altitudes. The first symptom of anemia is a low level of energy. You may also experience increased fatigue and a decreased ability to tolerate exercise.
Iron deficiency can affect every part of your body. The production of hemoglobin is hampered and you will experience a drop in your physical performance. You may even experience fatigue and difficulty concentrating. Your energy efficiency is reduced as well, meaning it takes more energy to do the same work. Furthermore, anemia will make it harder for your blood to carry oxygen, making your cardiovascular system struggle to pump out blood.
The liver stores iron in a form known as ferritin. Ferritin is a soluble active storage fraction located in liver, bone marrow, and spleen macrophages. The level of ferritin in the blood parallels your body’s stores. Meanwhile, hemosiderin is a relatively insoluble form stored in the liver Kupffer cells and bone marrow macrophages.
Iron deficiency can also affect your reproductive system. A woman can develop iron deficiency anemia after a heavy period or a prolonged blood loss from endometriosis. A woman may also experience low hemoglobin levels due to frequent blood donations, which can deplete the body’s iron stores. If this is the case, eating more iron-rich foods could resolve the hemoglobin issue.