written by: Leigh A. Zaykoski•edited by: Leigh A. Zaykoski•updated: 8/9/2010
The Hgb blood test is a useful lab test that helps doctors determine if a patient has anemia or other medical condition. Find out how this blood test helps doctors diagnose and treat their patients.
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The Hgb blood test is an important laboratory test that helps to determine if a patient is anemic or has other medical problems. This test is often done as a part of the complete blood count panel, which also measures the number of white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets. The complete blood count is a common medical test and is used for a number of reasons.
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This test measures the amount of hemoglobin in the blood. Hemoglobin is a protein that carries oxygen from the lungs to other tissues and organs of the body. Sometimes, this is ordered as a part of a complete blood count that is done for health screening purposes. Patients who have clotting disorders or known anemia may also have the test done on a regular basis. Those who are reporting symptoms of anemia, such as fatigue, can have the test to determine if they have anemia or require further testing.
When a doctor orders the test, it can measure how severe anemia is, monitor the body's response to treatment for anemia and help doctors decide how to treat anemia that has not been responding well to other treatments. One of the main uses for the test in people who are known to have anemia is to help determine if a patient needs a blood transfusion. In these cases, time is critical, so using the test can help doctors rule out other options quickly.
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The results of the Hgb blood test can help your doctor determine if further testing is needed, or help to make treatment decisions. High hemoglobin levels can be due to lung disease, dehydration, or excess red blood cell production. Low hemoglobin levels can be the result of a number of medical conditions including iron deficiency, sickle cell anemia, cirrhosis of the liver, kidney disease, and cancers that affect the body's bone marrow.
There are some things that can affect the results of the test. The time of the test can affect your result, as hemoglobin levels are at their highest in the morning. Smokers are also known to have higher levels of hemoglobin than those who do not smoke. Other factors that can affect the results of this test include age, gender, and altitude of where a patient lives.
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Lab Tests Online. "Hemoglobin: The Test." Retrieved January 31, 2009. Available: Lab Tests Online