Haemoglobin [Hb]

Haemoglobin is the red stuff in blood. It fills red blood cells and carries oxygen around the body. Normal is slightly higher in men than women. Note that many labs report Hb as g/dl instead of g/litre. This gives results exactly one tenth of those shown here.

Result
Comments
below 80
Likely to make you feel breathless and tired. Many causes including bleeding, but it can occur with many illnesses.
100-120
A bit low, slightly anaemic for some people.
130-180 (men)
115-165 (women)
Normal
180+
See link below for causes of high Hb.

This result generally comes back as part of a 'full blood count', FBC (or complete blood count, CBC).

Haemoglobin and anaemia in kidney disease

The kidneys produce a substance called erythropoietin (EPO) which stimulates the bone marrow to produce red blood cells. Anaemia is usual in patients with advanced kidney disease, and may be severe. Loss of EPO production is a major cause of anaemia in renal failure. Without treatment Hb levels could fall to 50% of normal or lower. Treatment with artificial EPO has been a huge advance for patients with renal failure, as most no longer need to suffer from severe anaemia (though it seems safest to aim for a bit below the normal level). Tests for Hb are necessary to get the EPO dose right, and to detect bleeding and other problems.

High haemoglobin is unusual in kidney disease, except sometimes after kidney transplantation. Risk of blood clotting.

More info about Haemoglobin from Lab Tests Online


This page created 6th December 2004, last modified July 7, 2015, on the PatientView website