This test measures the levels of hemoglobin in the blood. Hemoglobin is a complex protein found in red blood cells. It carries oxygen to the body's organs and tissues from the lungs. It also transports carbon dioxide from the body back to the lungs.
What is Hemoglobin/Haemoglobin?
A hemoglobin test is one amongst many tests that may be used to monitor or diagnose a condition called anemia. In anemia, the blood may either lack enough healthy red blood cells or enough quantity of hemoglobin. This test may also be used to monitor or diagnose a condition known as polycythemia, a rare type of blood cancer.
Why this test is performed?
This test may also be performed as part of a complete blood count test panel to monitor the overall health of an individual. Your doctor may advise you to undergo this test if you experience signs and symptoms such as weakness, fatigue, shortness of breath, headache, dizziness, pale skin, cold hands and feet, etc. These are some of the common signs and symptoms which may be associated with anemia or polycythemia.
You may be advised to undergo this test if you are pregnant, have a family history of anemia, are suffering from an infection, have had blood loss after surgery, are suffering from heavy and prolonged menstrual bleeding, etc.
If you have a family history of anemia, your doctor may ask you to perform this test on a 6-monthly basis or a yearly basis. Anemic patients should perform this test on a regular basis, as instructed by the doctor.
Inform your doctor if you are on any medications, have any allergies or underlying medical conditions before your Hb. Your doctor will give specific instructions depending on your condition on how to prepare for Hb.
No specific preparation is necessary for this test. However, if it is performed along with other blood tests, you may need to fast (not eat or drink) for several hours.
If the test result falls in the normal reference range, you have an adequate level of hemoglobin and hence, no medical intervention is necessary.
Low levels of hemoglobin in the blood may indicate different types of anemia such as iron deficiency anemia, sickle cell anemia, etc. Some medical conditions such as hypothyroidism, splenomegaly (an enlarged spleen), leukemia (a type of blood cancer), chronic kidney disease, internal bleeding due to a stomach ulcer, stomach or colon cancer, etc. may also cause low hemoglobin levels. Deficiency of iron, vitamin B-12, and folic acid; recent blood donations; heavy prolonged menstrual bleeding, etc. may also result in low levels of hemoglobin in the blood.
High levels of hemoglobin in the blood may indicate a condition called polycythemia, a type of cancer where the bone marrow produces too many red blood cells. Medical conditions such as heart or lung diseases, dehydration, etc. may result in higher levels of hemoglobin. Individuals staying at higher altitudes, undergoing strenuous exercise, or individuals who are heavy smokers may also have higher levels of hemoglobin.
If you have higher or lower than normal levels of hemoglobin, consult your doctor for further instructions. Based on the test results, your doctor may advise appropriate medical treatments, lifestyle modifications, or further diagnostic tests.
|MALE||All age groups||13.8-17.2 gm/dl|
|FEMALE||All age groups||12.5-15.1g/dl|