The oxygen-carrying protein found in the red blood cells is known as haemoglobin. This protein provides the red colour to the blood. It carries oxygen from the lungs to the body tissues and transports carbon dioxide to the lungs from the tissues. The hemoglobin test measures the amount of this oxygen-carrying protein present in the blood.
What haemoglobin test reveals?
The Hb blood test (haemoglobin abbreviated as Hb) shows the result if your blood has lower haemoglobin than normal, then it means you have anaemia.The haemoglobin plays an important role in shaping up the red blood cells. The disruption in the haemoglobin normal value causes the change in the shape of the red blood cells.
The low haemoglobin level or anaemia has many symptoms and few are heart palpitations, fatigue, hair loss, shortness of breath, and feeling of wellness. The causes of anaemia include nutritional deficiency, bone marrow problems, kidney failure, chronic disease, and an excessive amount of blood loss.
The high haemoglobin level is basically seen in the people who are living in the high-altitude areas, those who smoke a lot, and it happens due to the dehydration. When the body receives the proper amount of fluid then the normal haemoglobin levels are restored. Some other causes of the high haemoglobin are advanced lung disease, certain types of tumours, polycythaemia (a disorder of the bone marrow), and due to drug abuse.
Why Haemoglobin Test is done?
Haemoglobin test can be done for several reasons such as:
- The haemoglobin level is to determine during the regular medical check-up to monitor the general health conditions. It is also used to diagnose various disorders.
- The doctor suggests the haemoglobin test if you have any symptoms of anaemia or polycythaemia such as dizziness, fatigue, weakness, and palpitations. It also helps to diagnose other medical issues.
- If one had any family history of genetic abnormalities such as thalassemia, sickle blood cells, or any other congenital disease then the doctor may prescribe you to take a haemoglobin test.
- During any surgical treatment, if there is any excessive blood loss then also doctor prescribes for the haemoglobin test. As blood loss causes anaemia.
How should one prepare for the test?
There is no special preparation required for the Hb blood test. If you are going for just haemoglobin test then you can eat and drink normally but if your doctor informed you about other blood tests too, then you may need to fast for several hours before the test. Consult the doctor and get the instructions.
What happens during the blood test?
Haemoglobin can be measured as a part of the Complete Blood Count (CBC) Test. The examiner or doctor will insert the needle in your veins and take a blood sample from your veins and collect the blood in a test tube. It will take a few minutes to collect the blood sample. The doctor will instruct you about the time of day you will get the test report.
What happens after the blood test report?
The test report can be in the range of three levels – normal haemoglobin level, high haemoglobin level, and low haemoglobin level. The haemoglobin level can be stated in gram (gm) per deciliter (dL) and a decilitre is a 100 millilitre.
The range of normal haemoglobin level ranges according to age and gender. In a newborn child, the HB level is from 17 to 22 gm/dL. In children, 11 to 13 gm/dL. In adult males, 14 to 18 gm/dL and in adult females it ranges from 12 to 14 gm/dL.
If the haemoglobin level is less or more than that then there is a reason for that. Low haemoglobin level generally means anaemia. There are many reasons for anaemia which includes stomach ulcer, colon cancer, iron and vitamin deficiency, kidney failure, thalassemia, and usage of drugs. There are several ways to increase the HB level in the body such as increasing the intake of iron-rich food (eggs, vegetables, nuts, cereals, spinach, beans, meat, and seafood), taking iron supplements, and by transfusing blood cells. Ask for advice from the doctor that by which way you can increase the Hb in your body.
High haemoglobin level is due to the polycythaemia, lung disorder, dehydration, heavy smoking, burns, extreme physical exercise, and it is usually found in people who live at high altitude areas. Polycythaemia is a disorder in which bone marrow produces more blood cells. There are few ways to reduce the HB level in the blood such as by reducing the intake of iron in your food, limit the intake of Vitamin C, and drink more water as dehydration is one of the common causes of elevated haemoglobin.