What do you understand by hemoglobin (HGB) Blood Test?

By  , Expert Content
Oct 04, 2011

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Your doctor may recommend hemoglobin test as a part of the complete blood count (CBC) , which may be done for various conditions and diseases or just as a part of general health screen.


Hemoglobin test may be repeated if you have a disease which affects the hemoglobin level like bleeding problems, chronic anemia, or polycythemia.


The test can help to evaluate;

  • the severity of anemia or polycythemia,
  • the response to treatment of anemia or polycythemia,
  • if blood transfusions is needed for anemia

The normal hemoglobin level differs with age and sex of the person.

  • Men: 13.8 to 17.2 gm/dL
  • Women: 12.1 to 15.1 gm/dL

Some cause of above-normal hemoglobin levels include;

  • Dehydration (loss of fluid from the body)
  • Increased production of red blood cells in the bone marrow,
  • Severe lung disease
  • Living at high altitude

Some cause of below-normal hemoglobin levels include;

  • Iron deficiency or
  • Deficiencies of vitamins such as B12 and folate,
  • Certain inherited hemoglobin defects (such as sickle cell anemia or thalassemias),
  • Chronic diseases of the liver and kidney
  • Excessive bleeding or blood loss
  • Diseases which result in excessive destruction of red blood cells,
  • Failure of bone marrow (aplastic anemia)

The normal test value can differ slightly from one laboratory to other. Consult your doctor to understand the meaning of your test result.


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