What is HGB in Blood Tests?
HGB refers to hemoglobin and it is the protein molecule present in red blood cells. This protein molecule carries oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body tissues and carbon dioxide from the tissues back to the lungs. Inside the hemoglobin molecule is iron, which is actually the main substance responsible for carrying oxygen and carbon dioxide in the blood. This iron also gives our blood the color red. Hemoglobin is also said to play a big part in the shape maintenance of red blood cells. So if there are problems with the blood’s hemoglobin content, the functions of the red blood cells will be affected also.
Blood tests are done to know a person’s hemoglobin content in the blood. Usually, hemoglobin blood tests are part of CBC or complete blood count tests, which also determine the values of other blood cells like white blood cells, platelets, and hematocrit among others. For adults, normal hemoglobin values should range from 12-18 grams per 100ml of blood.
High hemoglobin count may indicate erythrocytosis, kidney dysfunction, dehydration, or some lung diseases such as cor pulmonale or pulmonary fibrosis. High levels may also mean that there is hypoxia or lower than normal levels of oxygen in the blood. Low hemoglobin count meanwhile may mean that there is internal bleeding or a person has anemia. In some cases, low HGB may indicate liver problems such as cirrhosis. It may also mean that there is possible red blood cell destruction. Low HGB levels may also result from malnutrition and may accompany deficiencies in iron, vitamin B12 and vitamin B6, and folate.
Other than the various types of anemia, there are other medical conditions that require hemoglobin testing. These conditions include Giant cell arteritis, hemoglobinopathy, polymyalgia rheumatica, paroxysmal cold hemoglobinuria, paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria, and placenta abruptio among others.