A hemoglobin test measures the amount of hemoglobin in your blood.
Hemoglobin is a protein in your red blood cells that carries oxygen to your body's organs and tissues and transports carbon dioxide from your organs and tissues back to your lungs.
If a hemoglobin test reveals that your hemoglobin level is lower than normal, it means you have a low red blood cell count (anemia). Anemia can have many different causes, including vitamin deficiencies, bleeding and chronic diseases.
If a hemoglobin test shows a higher than normal level, there are several potential causes — the blood disorder polycythemia vera, living at a high altitude, smoking, dehydration, burns and excessive vomiting.
April 14, 2014
- Nicoll D, et al. Pocket Guide to Diagnostic Tests. 6th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2012. http://www.accessmedicine.com/content.aspx?aID=56999060&searchStr=hemoglobin. Accessed Dec. 6, 2013.
- Hemoglobin. Lab Tests Online. http://labtestsonline.org/understanding/analytes/hemoglobin/tab/sample/. Accessed Dec. 6, 2013.
- CBC with differential, blood. Mayo Medical Laboratories. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. http://www.mayomedicallaboratories.com/test-catalog/Clinical+and+Interpretive/9109. Accessed Dec. 5, 2013.