What is a hb electrophoresis test?
A hemoglobin electrophoresis test is a blood test used to measure and identify the different types of hemoglobin in your bloodstream. Hemoglobin is the protein inside red blood cells responsible for transporting oxygen to your tissues and organs.
Genetic mutations can cause your body to produce hemoglobin that is formed incorrectly. This abnormal hemoglobin can cause too little oxygen to reach your tissues and organs.
There are hundreds of different types of hemoglobin. They include:
- Hemoglobin F:This is also known as fetal hemoglobin. It’s the type found in growing fetuses and newborns. It’s replaced with hemoglobin A soon after birth.
- Hemoglobin A:This is also known as adult hemoglobin. It’s the most common type of hemoglobin. It’s found in healthy children and adults.
- Hemoglobin C, D, E, M, and S:These are rare types of abnormal hemoglobin caused by genetic mutations.
A hemoglobin electrophoresis test doesn’t tell you about the amount of hemoglobin in your blood — that’s done in a complete blood count. The levels that a hemoglobin electrophoresis test refer to are the percentages of the different types of hemoglobin that may be found in your blood. This is different in babies and adults:
|New Boarn||60% to 80%|
|+1 Yr||1% to 2%|
|hemoglobin A||95% to 98%|
|hemoglobin A2||2% to 3%|
|hemoglobin F||1% to 2%|
Why a hb electrophoresis is done ?
Your doctor may have you do a hemoglobin electrophoresis test if you’re showing symptoms of anemia. The test will help them find any abnormal types of hemoglobin in your blood. These could be a sign of disorders including:
- sickle cell anemia
- polycythemia vera
People who have a family history of inherited anemias such as thalassemia or sickle cell anemia may choose to screen for these genetic disorders before having children. A hemoglobin electrophoresis will indicate if there are any abnormal types of hemoglobin caused by genetic disorders. Newborns are also routinely screened for these genetic hemoglobin disorders. Your doctor may also want to test your child if you have a family history of abnormal hemoglobin or they have anemia that’s not caused by an iron deficiency.
Reason for Haemoglobin (Hb) Electrophoresis Test
Symptoms associated and screened are:
- Slowed growth and delayed puberty
- Bone problems
- Poor appetite
- Enlarged liver
- Enlarged spleen
- Dark urine
- Jaundice (a yellowish color of the skin or whites of the eyes)
- An enlarged Heart
- Bone problems (especially bones in the face)
- Shortness of breath
- Coldness in the hands and feet
- Paler than normal skin or mucous membranes (the tissue that lines your nose, mouth, and other organs and body cavities)
Types of Electrophoresis Test
The various types of electrophoresis test are as follows;
- Routine Electrophoresis
- High Resolution Electrophoresis
- Polyacrylamide gel Electrophoresis
- Capillary Electrophoresis
- Isoelectric Focussing
- Immunochemical Electrophoresis
- Two dimensional Electrophoresis
- Pulse field Electrophoresis
What is Protein Electrophoresis Test?
Serum protein electrophoresis is a laboratory technique that’s used to determine the levels of some types of proteins in a blood sample. There are a number of reasons why a doctor may order this test. Serum protein electrophoresis is used to help diagnose and monitor a variety of different diseases or disorders that have abnormal proteins or protein levels. Electrophoresis is not usually used by itself to diagnose a disease. Instead, it’s used along with other laboratory tests to provide more information to help with diagnosis.
The five groups of proteins usually considered during an Serum protein electrophoresis test are:
- Albumin: This protein transports substances and plays a role in tissue growth and repair.
- Alpha-1 globulins: The major alpha-1 globulin is called alpha-1-antitrypsin, which is produced by the lungs and liver and increases with inflammatory diseases.
- Alpha-2 globulins: This class of protein has many functions in the body and is involved in inflammation.
- Beta globulins: These proteins move substances, support immunity, and increase in number in multiple myeloma and conditions like high cholesterol and atherosclerosis.
- Gamma globulins: These support the immune system and are increased in multiple myeloma, as well as some autoimmune conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus.
Electrophoresis is a lab technique used to separate groups of proteins in blood serum. This allows them to be measured and analyzed individually. It involves exposing serum placed in a special type of gel to an electric current. This causes the different types of proteins to move and group together. The proteins create separate bands on the gel, which are then analyzed by the laboratory.
Your doctor may recommend protein electrophoresis if you are experiencing symptoms of a condition affecting the proteins in your blood serum. These symptoms could include the following:
- unexplained weight loss
- bone pain or frequent fractures
- excessive thirst
- back pain
Some of the conditions that could be causing these symptoms are:
- thyroid problems
- liver diseases
- certain autoimmune diseases
- multiple sclerosis
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