Q. Can low hemoglobin cause shortness of breath?

Answered by
Dr. Prakash H Muddegowda
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
Published on Dec 24, 2016 and last reviewed on: Dec 29, 2018

Hello doctor,

I am 19 years old. For the past one year, I have been experiencing body weakness. I feel tired all the time. And for the past five months, I have been experiencing fast heartbeats and shortness of breath. I mostly experience the shortness of breath in dusty and stuffy environments, but at times even in the open air. I had a spirometry test done, but the results showed no abnormality. I got a chest x-ray done and it revealed that my chest was clear. Then, I had a CBC test done and the result showed that the RDW was high 16.3, low HCT 34.0, low hemoglobin 10.8, low MCH 23.9 and low MPV 7.9. The rest of the results were normal. The doctor told me to use an inhaler, but it is not helping. I would like to know what exactly is wrong with me. Previously, I was using Ventolin inhaler. Currently, I am using Ventolin inhaler and Montiget.

Dr. Prakash H Muddegowda

Geriatrics Hematology Pathology


Welcome to icliniq.com.

The hemoglobin levels and other abnormalities do not explain the severity of the symptoms that you are experiencing. Iron, Vitamin B12 and folic acid supplements along with dietary improvement to improve hemoglobin to 12 to 13 g% is necessary. However, after improvement, if the symptoms improve, then it could be a possibility.

Hope your thyroid tests are normal and these are not anxiety or panic attacks. Try some breathing exercises like pranayama and meditation for relaxation. Inhaler maybe useful if there is an allergic reaction or bronchospasm. In case of serious shortness of breath and even if it mildly helpful, better to use during the episodes.

For further information consult a hematologist online --> https://www.icliniq.com/ask-a-doctor-online/hematologist

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