Haemoglobin Screening & Measurement

Haemoglobin (Hb) is a protein that contains iron and is found in red blood cells. It carries oxygen around the body and gives blood its red colour.

Anaemia is a condition caused by a lack of healthy red blood cells. It means that the body’s tissues and organs cannot get enough oxygen. A low haemoglobin level may indicate anaemia. There are many types of anaemia, the most common type is iron deficiency anaemia. But it can also be caused by vitamin deficiency (e.g. folate and vit B12), blood loss (e.g. menstruation, stomach ulcers), or the destruction of red blood cells by the body.

Mild anaemia often does not have any symptoms as the body is able to compensate for the changes. If the anaemia worsens, then symptoms can develop including tiredness and loss of energy, pale complexion, shortness of breath, noticeable heartbeats (heart palpitations), headache.

Why it’s done

You may have a hemoglobin test for several reasons:

  • To check your overall health. Your doctor may test your hemoglobin as part of a complete blood count during a routine medical examination to monitor your general health and to screen for a variety of disorders, such as anemia.
  • To diagnose a medical condition. Your doctor may suggest a hemoglobin test if you’re experiencing weakness, fatigue, shortness of breath or dizziness. These signs and symptoms may point to anemia or polycythemia vera. A hemoglobin test may help diagnose these or other medical conditions.
  • To monitor a medical condition. If you’ve been diagnosed with anemia or polycythemia vera, your doctor may use a hemoglobin test to monitor your condition and guide treatment.

What you can expect

For a hemoglobin test, a member of our pharmacy team takes a sample of blood by pricking your fingertip. You can return to your usual activities immediately after the sample is taken.

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