I'm going to be a senior in high school (16 years old), and I recently got a blood test done. My hemoglobin level showed 9.8, which I know is very low (average/healthy supposed to be 12?). I've started taking iron supplements, but my question is does having low hemoglobin levels mean my iron levels are also very low (I didn't get an iron test done)? I know that low iron levels would keep you tired, unable to run well, etc. but I dropped a lot of time this season (5:47 to 5:14 in the 1600) and I'm running around 40-45 miles per week right now, hoping up to build that closer to 60. I've been feeling "faster" on my runs as well, as opposed to a few weeks ago. It seems like I've been improving, and I haven't really been feeling dead/extremely tired, so I'm not really sure how I dropped so much time etc when it turns out my hemoglobin level is so low. I was wondering if anyone knew the explanation to this, etc. Thanks a lot!
What does your Doctor suggest? I say this because he/she should be able to provide you with a better explanation then we can.
Although unlikely, you can have a high serum iron level and still have a low hemoglobin level if your marrow is not functioning properly. Or you're not getting enough sleep which is the time the Marrow is hard at work producing blood.
This is one of the reasons why they should follow up and give you a serum Iron level test in addition to your regular CBC.
If your serum levels are low then that could explain some things. Your body may have issues absorbing iron, or your not getting enough in your diet, etc.
Another thing to consider is that typically runners have unusually high serum levels which could throw that test off by sometimes more then 1 point. So you might be closer to 11. At that level it would explain why you don't feel run down and tired. But it still might be holding you back a little.
A couple of questions:
Are you a vegetarian?
Are you getting enough sleep?
What was your last test prior to this one and were you running at the time?
Unfortunately for women this is a common issue because of your monthly cycle.
If you are able to boost your levels then you might find your performances getting even better. But you should do this under a Doctor's care. If they can't tell you what is going on then you should ask to see a Hematologist.
Make sure you go this route before considering taking supplements. If your serum iron level is normal then there would be no need to supplement. There are some dangers with taking in too much iron with respect to liver damage. There are some here who would say that's not true but I knew someone who had that problem. Turned out his Marrow was not producing blood despite high blood iron levels and he ended up having trouble because of over supplementing. So again only supplement under a Doctor's care.