Hemoglobin & Hematcrit (H&H)

What is Hemoglobin?

Hemoglobin is the iron- containing and oxygen-carrying protein found in the red blood cells of any person. Sufficient amount of hemoglobin in RBCs must be maintained for proper tissue oxygenation. The amount of hemoglobin in one’s whole blood is expressed in grams per deciliter (g/dl). Males have the normal Hb level in blood as 14 to 18 g/dl while for females it is 12 to 16 g/dl. The low level of hemoglobin in the blood indicates the condition of anemia. High level of hemoglobin may indicate a rare blood disease— polycythemia in which the body makes too many red blood cells making the blood thicker and sluggish that may lead to heart attacks, clots and strokes.

Hematocrit is a measure of the volume of RBCs compared to the total blood volume that constitutes RBCs and plasma. For a healthy man, the normal level of hematocrit is 40 to 54% while for women it is 36 to 48%.

Why get Hemoglobin and Hematocrit Test?

Doctors order the Hemoglobin and hematocrit (H & H) test when they find the signs or symptoms of anemia or polycythemia. The tests not only help doctors diagnose and assess the severity of the disease but this may also help them check out the response or efficacy of the treatment in case the patients are getting the same.

The H & H test helps a doctor:-

  • Screen for the presence of anemia or polycythemia
  • Monitor the response of the body to the treatment of these diseases
  • Guides the doctor to prescribe the right course of treatment


Who Need to Undergo This Test?

This test is recommended as a part of general health examination when a person shows signs of any condition affecting the health of red blood cells such as anemia or polycythemia.

Persons diagnosed with ongoing bleeding problems or chronic anemia or polycythemia need to undergo this test.  Doctors can also recommend this test to determine the response of the treatment. Besides these, people undergoing treatment for cancer that affects the bone marrow need to get this test done as a routine checkup.   

Extra Things to know related to the test

A person’s hemoglobin level may rise due to a recent blood transfusion. In case of a normal pregnancy, hemoglobin level decreases slightly.