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The Facts of Hemoglobin Tests

written by: AlyssaAst•edited by: Leigh A. Zaykoski•updated: 6/30/2009

Hemoglobin tests are usually conducted to test the blood for the amount of hemoglobin present in the blood. This blood test can be used to detect a number of health conditions that may be present.

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    Hemoglobin test are often given to test for underlying health conditions. This test measures the body’s blood levels of hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is needed in the body to carry oxygen through out the body. It is the protein portion of the blood. Besides carrying oxygen to the tissues and organs of the body, it also carries the carbon dioxide from the body back to the lungs. This portion of the blood is what gives the blood the red color.

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    What a Hemoglobin Test Detects

    Hemoglobin testing can reveal numerous aspects of the blood. Anemia can occur if the body’s hemoglobin levels are too low. This can cause many health complications for a person. When the hemoglobin levels in the blood are elevated, polycythemia vera can occur. This is a health condition that causes the marrow of bone to produce too much of the body’s red blood cells. Many environmental factors and poor health decisions can cause hemoglobin levels to rise.

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    Why is a Hemoglobin Test Used?

    Hemoglobin tests are done for three main reasons. One reason a test may be done to measure hemoglobin levels is to monitor previous medical conditions. It is often done to monitor conditions like polycthemia vera and anemia. The results of this test can allow a doctor to monitor the conditions and choose a correct path or treatment.

    Testing hemoglobin levels can also be used to view a persons overall health. It is often done during routine examinations to check a person’s health. Monitoring the bloods hemoglobin levels can help test for many medical disorders. The results of the test will give a doctor a good view of a persons overall health.

    In order to diagnose many medical conditions, a hemoglobin test is often conducted. Certain symptoms a person may experience may prompt a doctor to complete this test. Symptoms that may cause a doctor to perform the test often include fatigue, weakness, dizziness, and shortness of breath. These symptoms can be a result of an underlying health condition that has yet to be diagnosed.

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    Test Expectations

    The test for measuring hemoglobin levels is relatively simple. A doctor or lab technician will take a blood sample by either inserting a needle into a vein or a prick on the finger with a needle. The blood sample is then sent to the lab to be analyzed. This test poses no risks and can be very beneficial in finding many health conditions.

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    References:

    “Hemoglobin Tests" April 10, 2009 MayoClinic.com