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

Updated at: Jan 15, 2013
What do you understand by hemoglobin (HGB) Blood Test?

Hemoglobin Blood Test - Blood test to determine the concentration of hemoglobin in blood.

Dr Poonam Sachdev
DiabetesWritten by: Dr Poonam SachdevPublished at: Oct 04, 2011

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.


Dr Poonam Sachdeva, our in-house medical expert talks about the why what and how in diabetes.


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