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Hemoglobin Level Test

Hemoglobin, An Important Part Of Your Blood, May Be Measured Via A Blood Test

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Updated April 06, 2014

Vacutainer blood collection tubes

Blood collection tubes with a purple top contain an anticoagulant, so that blood taken for testing does not clot.

Image © CDC/ Amanda Mills

The Hemoglobin Level Test

Hemoglobin is a protein contained in red blood cells (RBC) that carries oxygen to, and carbon dioxide away from, the body's cells. A hemoglobin test is typically ordered as part of a complete blood cell (CBC) count.

Why Measure Hemoglobin?

Higher than normal levels of hemoglobin may be caused by:

Low levels of hemoglobin may be a result of:

How A Hemoglobin Level Test Is Done

A blood sample will be taken, normally from the arm. If several tests are ordered, more than one vial of blood will be needed. If your hemoglobin has been low in the past, taking blood might seem counterproductive, but the CBC count can be a very useful tool to your physician in diagnosing and treating many health conditions.

What Is A Normal Hemoglobin Level Test?

Hemoglobin is measured in grams per deciliter of blood. The normal levels are:

  • Women: 12.1 to 15.1 gm/dl
  • Men: 13.8 to 17.2 gm/dl
  • Children: 11 to 16 g/dl
  • Pregnant women: 11 to 12 g/dl

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