What do you understand by hemoglobin (HGB) Blood Test

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Your doctor might suggest a hemoglobin test as part of a complete blood count (CBC), which can be conducted for a variety of reasons, including diagnosing certain conditions or as a routine health screening.

If you have a medical condition that affects hemoglobin levels, such as bleeding disorders, chronic anemia, or polycythemia, your doctor may repeat the hemoglobin test to monitor changes over time.

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)