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Haemoglobin (Hb)

Haemoglobin (Hb)

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Haemoglobin (Hb) test overview

Haemoglobin is the main component of red blood cells and is responsible for their red hue. Its usual content in erythrocytes is 34%. Haemoglobin is a globular protein having chains of 141 and 146 amino acids, respectively. It exists as a tetramer, with each monomer possessing a heterocyclic porphyrin ring and iron constituting the heme.

Haemoglobin is a protein found in red blood cells that transports oxygen to organs and tissues and carbon dioxide from organs and tissues back to the lungs. If your haemoglobin level is lower than normal, it indicates that you have a low red blood cell count (anaemia). Anaemia can be caused by a variety of factors, including vitamin deficiencies, bleeding, and chronic disorders. If a haemoglobin test reveals a higher-than-normal level, there are various possible explanations, including the blood condition polycythaemia vera, high altitude living, smoking, and dehydration.

Haemoglobin is also vital in preserving the structure of red blood cells. Red blood cells are naturally spherical with narrow centres, resembling a doughnut without a hole in the middle. As a result, abnormal haemoglobin structure can distort the shape of red blood cells, impairing their function and passage through blood arteries.

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Test Details

Haemoglobin (Hb)

Frequently asked questions

A blood specimen is required for the test.

Children typically show a range of results, but in general:

  • 14 to 24 g/dL or 140 to 240 g/L for newborns
  • Infant: 95–130 g/L or 9.5–13 g/dL

The risk of having your blood drawn is negligible. But sometimes you may feel:

  • Too much bleeding
  • Fainting or experiencing dizziness
  • Many punctures to identify veins
  • Hematoma (blood accumulation under the skin) 
  • Minor infection 

Haemoglobin, Hb, test determines how much haemoglobin is in your blood. Anaemia, a condition in which your body has fewer red blood cells than normal, is frequently detected via a haemoglobin test.

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