Hemoglobin analyzers can measure several parameters such as the hemoglobin level in the blood, the hematocrit level and the glycated hemoglobin level. These measurements are displayed in percentages.
Hemoglobin (Hb) is contained in red blood cells and used to transport oxygen from the lungs to bodily tissue. If the hemoglobin level is too low, it is called anemia. Symptoms of this deficiency can include fatigue, lack of energy, fainting, paleness or shortness of breath.
If the hemoglobin level is too high, it is called polycythemia. This excess results in vision problems, dizziness, headaches, etc. People living at high altitudes tend to have a higher than average level of hemoglobin. Hemoglobin levels are lower in the elderly, women, children and during pregnancy.
Hemoglobin is responsible for the red color of blood and has values closely related to the red blood cell count. The hematocrit (HCT) level is the portion of blood occupied by blood cells (red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets), while the plasma is the remainder. Since red blood cells make up about 98% of the blood cells, the hematocrit measurement is the ratio of red blood cells in the sample for the total blood volume.
Glucose tends to bind to various proteins including hemoglobin. HbA1c or glycated hemoglobin is the fraction of hemoglobin that has reacted with glucose. Some analyzers can measure this glycated hemoglobin and more accurately assess the blood glucose level in the blood. The glycated hemoglobin level is therefore very useful for the diagnosis and monitoring of diabetes.