hemoglobin test- hemoglobin range according age and sex, possible reasons

Hemoglobin Test

For many reasons, hemoglobin test is advised. In hemoglobin test, hemoglobin level in your blood is measured. In your blood, when hemoglobin is below the normal range it is termed as anemia. Also, hemoglobin can be higher than normal range. There are different reasons for both high or low level of hemoglobin in your body.

Hemoglobin is the element in our blood that carries oxygen in different parts of our body like tissues, organs, etc. So this element is vital for our body. Hemoglobin is present inside Red Blood Cells (RBC).

Hemoglobin Test importance

Hemoglobin blood test is prescribed for several reasons. But in general it is the most basic test. When you complain a basic fatigue to any severe symptoms the hemoglobin blood test is done as a routine blood test. There are few following reasons of hemoglobin test

  • Checking your physical health condition: Hemoglobin level in your body is the basic yet most important test to determine your physical overall health condition. Because without oxygen we can not survive and hemoglobin reaches oxygen in our each body cells. When the hemoglobin level is much lower or higher than the normal range then it is a serious concern and needs more attention. If the difference is minor then it can be treated with basic diets.
  • To determine medical condition: The level of hemoglobin in our body changes with various health issues (medical conditions). How much high or low the hemoglobin is determines the severity of the condition. A minor difference from normal range is not a big issue but when the level is much lower or higher it points some other medical conditions. In anemia of inflammation, we can see change in hemoglobin level. So certainly, in such cases through hemoglobin test, the possible reason(s) is evaluated.
  • To check improvement of health condition: If you are already diagnosed with a high or low level of hemoglobin level, then regular hemoglobin test will help to check how your body is responding to the ongoing treatment.

How Hemoglobin Test is done?

Particularly, for hemoglobin test no restrictions in normal food, drinks, etc. are needed.

No preparations are needed for this test.

Hemoglobin test (Hb Test) do not require any specific timing, you can test hemoglobin at any time.

Normal Hemoglobin range according age and sex

At Birth 17
Childhood 12
Adolescence 13
Adult Man 16 (±2)
Adult Woman (menstruating) 13 (±2)
Adult Woman (postmenopausal) 14 (±2)
During Pregnancy 12 (±2)
Source: Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine

It is important to remember, Normal Range of Hemoglobin in our body defers according to age and sex. Males normally have higher level of Hemoglobin than Females of the same age.

Hemoglobin range lower than normal

Hemoglobin level lower than normal range is called Anemia. Anemia in adult man are alarming, so one should immediately consult with doctor. For menstruating woman, when the is level is slightly lower it just needs some extra attention. There may be various cases of lower level of hemoglobin including

  • Iron Deficiency
  • Bleeding
  • Folate Deficiency
  • Vitamin B-12 Deficiency
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Micro elements like Copper Deficiency
  • Different Organ Diseases (Kidney Disease, Liver Disease etc.)
  • Thalassemia
  • Bone Marrow disorder
  • Cancer
  • Some drug intakes cause anemia

Hemoglobin range higher than normal

Hemoglobin level higher than normal range is result of many different reasons including

  • A blood disorder called Polycythemia vera when bone marrow produces too many red blood cells
  • Dehydration
  • Living in high altitude area
  • Extreme physical activities on regular basis like in Athletes
  • Lung disease (like COPD, Lung Fibrosis etc.)
  • Smoking Cigarettes
  • Burns


  1. William’s Hematology Book, 9th Edition
  2. Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine 20th edition, (pg.387)
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