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Haemoglobin Test

Haemoglobin Test

Haemoglobin (Hb) is a protein contained in red blood cells which carries oxygen. A low Haemoglobin or “blood count” is known as anaemia.

How the Test is Performed

Haemoglobin (Hb) may be performed as a simple bedside test on a fingerprick sample of blood using a hand-held colour-comparison device.
It may also be performed as a laboratory blood test, usually as part of a Full Blood Count (FBC), on a few millilitres of blood from a vein.

Medical Conditions and Symptoms

Haemoglobin (Hb) may be requested to diagnose or exclude anaemia (low blood count) – which causes tiredness, shortness of breath on exertion and possibly postural light-headedness.
An increased Haemoglobin may be present in smokers or those with chronic lung disease, and causes a plethoric or “ruddy” complexion.

Test Results Explained

A LOW Haemoglobin (Hb) is called anaemia, and has a variety of causes, including chronic (over a long time) blood loss, destruction of red cells, decreased blood cell formation in the bone marrow, defective production of haemoglobin, or chronic illness.

A HIGH Haemoglobin (Hb) is called polycythaemia and may be caused by smoking, chronic lung disease or a blood condition called polycythaemia rubra vera (PRV).

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Also Known As


* Anemia – American spelling of Anaemia.

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