Health – Hb test

When should we do an Hb (Hemoglobin) Electrophoresis blood test?
and should iron supplements be taken just because Hb is low? 

1) Those who have family history of thalassemia should all do Hb Electrophoresis test to confirm whether they are thalassemia major /minor.When both parents are thalassemia minors,then child is likely to be thalassemia major (25% chances) or could be thalassemia minor or normal..Though such marriages are best avoided. 

2) To diagnose Anemia,always do a CBC-Complete blood count test instead of just Hb test.. 

3) If Hb is low & RBC-Red blood cell count is normal-Its anemia.So, take iron,folic acid &vitamin C rich diet &supplements if required.
Vitamin C & folic acid helps in Iron absorption. Never take iron supplements with calcium supplements or milk/milk products in diet as calcium interferes with iron absorption.keep minimum 2-3 hrs gap.. 

4) If Hb & RBC counts both are low then do iron blood test. 

5) If iron is also low means it’s Anemia & Vitamin B12 deficiency causing low RBC count (u can reconfirm by doing Vitamin B12 test) 

In that case add Vitamin B12 supplements & Vitamin B12 rich foods to diet along with iron, folic acid & Vitamin C rich food & supplements.

6) It could be that a thalassemia carrier/minor could also be iron deficient, in that case having iron supplements is OK, but to protect from overdosing it’s ideal to retest after 3 months for iron,Hb & RBC’s & stop iron supplements if these levels are normal. It’s not advisable to take any other food supplements also indefintely..always take 1 month holiday after 12 months to avoid becoming immune to the benefits as per Certified Nutritionist Phylis Balch in her book “A-Z of Nutrition Supplements “

7) Incase iron is normal but Hb & RBC count were low, then do Hb Electrophoresis test to rule out Sickle cell anemia &thalassemia.In case either is positive, do not take iron supplements as there may be iron overload in that case.. Instead have diet rich in anti-oxidants such as Vitamins A, C, E..Vitamin B12,Calcium & omega-3 fatty acids (good fats)  or these supplements. 

Shefali Singh

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