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Hb (Hemoglobin)

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Understanding Hb (Hemoglobin)

What is Hb (Hemoglobin)?

An Hb (Hemoglobin) test measures the hemoglobin (Hb) level in the blood. Hemoglobin (Hb) is an iron-rich protein and an essential constituent of red blood cells (RBCs). This test is a crucial indicator of anemia (a deficiency of red blood cells). It is often done as part of a complete blood count (CBC) test.

Hemoglobin (Hb) is an iron-rich protein and an essential constituent of red blood cells (RBCs). It is responsible for the unique red color of RBCs. It plays a crucial role in carrying oxygen from the lungs to the body's tissues and transporting carbon dioxide back to the lungs. A Hb test helps assess overall health and detect various medical conditions, such as anemia, polycythemia, and other blood disorders.

Your doctor may suggest an Hb (Hemoglobin) test when you show symptoms of abnormal Hb levels, such as fatigue, weakness, pale skin, shortness of breath, dizziness, and rapid heartbeat. It also detects other health conditions like long-term infections, blood cell disorders, malnutrition, etc. Individuals with a history of anemia, blood disorders, or chronic medical conditions may undergo the Hb test as part of ongoing monitoring and management.

No special preparation is needed before this test; eat or drink as per your daily routine. Abnormal hemoglobin levels can indicate anemia (low Hb), polycythemia (high Hb), or other conditions affecting red blood cell production or function. Several factors like age, gender, pregnancy, and diurnal variations are to be considered while interpreting the test results.

Test result ranges are approximate and may differ slightly between labs depending on the methodology and laboratory guidelines. Talk to your doctor about your specific test results. The results will help them determine your medical condition, make recommendations for lifestyle modifications such as diet and exercise, decide whether or not medication will be required to manage your condition, and formulate your overall treatment plan.

What is Hb (Hemoglobin) used for?

An Hb (Hemoglobin) test can be done:

  • As part of routine health checkups to monitor your overall health.

  • As part of a complete blood count test.

  • If you have symptoms such as weakness, fatigue, pale skin, etc.

  • To identify different types of anemia and other red blood cell disorders, such as polycythemia vera.

  • To identify hemoglobin levels before and after blood transfusion.

  • To monitor your health if you have a family history of thalassemia, sickle cell anemia, or other genetic blood disorders.

  • In case of excessive blood loss due to an injury or a surgical procedure.

What does Hb (Hemoglobin) measure?

An Hb (Hemoglobin) test measures the concentration of hemoglobin protein in your blood. Hemoglobin is made up of iron and globulin proteins. It is an essential part of RBCs and is critical for oxygen transfer from the lungs to all body tissues. Most blood cells, including RBCs, are produced regularly in your bone marrow. The Hb test is a fundamental part of a complete blood count (CBC) and is used to monitor blood health, diagnose various blood disorders, and assess your response to treatments if needed.

Interpreting Hb (Hemoglobin) results


Low hemoglobin levels may be seen in:

  • Different types of anemia

  • Thalassemia

  • Iron deficiency

  • Liver disease

  • Cancer and other diseases

High hemoglobin levels may be seen in:

  • Lung disease

  • Heart disease

  • Polycythemia vera is a disorder in which your body makes too many red blood cells. It can cause headaches, fatigue, and shortness of breath

  • People living in high-altitude areas

Answers to Patient Concerns & Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Hb (Hemoglobin)

Frequently Asked Questions about Hb (Hemoglobin)

Q. Why is an Hb (Hemoglobin) test performed?

An Hb (Hemoglobin) test is performed to measure the amount of hemoglobin protein (an iron-rich protein and an essential constituent of red blood cells) in the blood when you show symptoms such as weakness, fatigue, and pale skin. It is also used to detect a range of other health conditions like anemia, long-term infections, blood cell disorders, malnutrition, etc.

Q. Is an Hb test done on an empty stomach?

No, an Hb test does not need to be done on an empty stomach because the Hb levels do not change before or after meals to any meaningful degree.

Q. What is the difference between an Hb (Hemoglobin) test and HbA1c test?

An Hb test helps detect hemoglobin levels in your body. In contrast, an HbA1c test, known as the glycosylated hemoglobin test, detects the average blood sugar level over the last three months.

Q. How is an Hb (Hemoglobin) test performed?

A phlebotomist (a trained professional to perform blood draws) will clean your skin using an antiseptic alcohol cotton swab and draw blood from your vein using a needle. The blood sample will be stored safely and transported to the laboratory for analysis.

Q. Is there any risk associated with an Hb (Hemoglobin) test?

There is usually no risk associated with this test. However, some people may feel a slight sting while the needle is pricked and may experience some normal bleeding that is usually not bothersome. Rarely some people may experience slight swelling or bruising at the site of the needle prick. Applying ice 3-4 times daily for about a week may help reduce swelling and bruising. If it does not get better, consult your doctor.

Q. What factors can affect the results of an Hb test?

Factors that can affect the results of a Hb blood test include diet, activity level, menstrual period, living in high altitudes, medications like angiotensin‐converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors or angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs), and sample collection techniques (like venous or arterial).

Q. Can my hemoglobin be falsely raised?

High WBC count, high concentrations of lipids or plasma proteins, and increased turbidity may cause a factitiously elevated estimate of Hb.

Q. Can a healthy diet help in keeping my hemoglobin levels near normal?

A well-balanced diet can help keep the hemoglobin levels normal since iron, vitamin B12, and folic acid are required for normal red cell production.

Q. What are the symptoms of anemia?

Many people having anemia are unaware of it, and symptoms can be minor. The symptoms can be related to an underlying cause or the anemia itself. The symptoms of anemia usually include pale skin, weakness, shortness of breath, fainting, palpitations, chest pain, and restless legs syndrome. On examination, the signs that were experienced indicated pallor (pale skin, lining mucosa, conjunctiva, and nail beds), but this is not a reliable sign.

Q. What are the causes of anemia?

Anemia can be caused by impaired red blood cell (RBC) production, increased RBC destruction (hemolytic anemias), blood loss, and fluid overload (hypervolemia).

Q. What is iron-deficiency anemia?

Iron-deficiency anemia is the most common type of anemia. It may occur due to insufficient dietary intake or inadequate iron absorption to meet the body's needs. Infants, toddlers, and pregnant women have higher iron requirements than others. The increased iron requirement may also occur due to blood losses, frequent blood donations, or heavy menstrual periods. Worldwide, the most common cause of iron deficiency anemia is a parasitic worm infestation.

Q. What are the additional tests that may be advised in case of an abnormal test result?

Your doctor may order the following tests in case of abnormal results: transferrin, complete blood count, iron studies, serum transferrin, serum iron, total iron binding capacity, protein total, and serum ferritin.
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Hb (Hemoglobin) test price for other cities

Price inBangaloreRs. 149
Price inKolkataRs. 149
Price inGurgaonRs. 149
Price inPuneRs. 149
Price inHyderabadRs. 149
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