Hemoglobin (or haemoglobin) is a complex protein found inside red blood cells whose role is to transport oxygen from the lungs to the cells of the body. Oxygen binds to hemoglobin at the level of the lungs, and releases it in the body tissues. As with everything else in the body, hemoglobin levels are highly controlled. If you have too little hemoglobin, your tissues may not be receiving adequate oxygen. If your hemoglobin levels are high, on the other hand, it may be a sign that something is not right. In this OneHowTo.com article, we explore the possible reasons why my hemoglobin level count is high.
Normal hemoglobin count vary depending on your diet, physical condition, and environment. They also vary slightly from one laboratory to another, often use this reference:
- In men: of 13-18g/dL (grams per decilitre)
- In women: 12 to 16g/dL (grams per decilitre)
- Infants: from 9.5 to 13 g / dL. New born babies have values between 14 and 24 g / dL.
If after a blood test your haemoglobin levels have been very high, it is important to consult a haematologist to find the reason for this condition. It may be because there is not enough oxygen entering your lungs. When this happens, the body compensates by producing more hemoglobin, so that it can absorb as much oxygen as it possibly can. Various conditions can alter the amount of oxygen that you breathe in.
The most common reasons why your hemoglobin count is high are:
- Significant dehydration: Since hemoglobin is measured as a concentration, if you are dehydrated, your blood will become very concentrated. This will give you a high concentration of hemoglobin even though the hemoglobin number has not increased. The solution to this problem is simply to drink more water.
- Polycythemia vera: A type of blood cancer which makes you produce too many red blood cells.
- High altitude exposure: When at high altitude, the oxygen in the air is more scarce. Hence, the body compensated by producing more red blood cells, and thus hemoglobin. This condition is rarely dangerous, and is solved by returning to normal altitudes.
- Heart Disease: As heart disease reduces blood circulation, which reduces tissue oxygenation, the body compensates by producing more hemoglobin. This way, the blood can transport more oxygen.
- Lung disease, especially emphysema: Emphysema is a lung disease caused by smoking, in which the lung tissues are destroyed. This causes a poor transfer of oxygen to the blood at the level of the lungs. To compensate, more hemoglobin is produced to maximize oxygen absorption at every breath.
- Being born at high altitude: Individuals born at high altitude naturally have a higher than average hemoglobin count, to make up for the scarce oxygen levels.
Depending on the reason for the rise of haemoglobin, there are particular treatments for each condition. As you've seen, high hemoglobin counts are simply your body's response to an underlying condition. In some cases, such as living at high altitude, it poses not threat at all. Therefore, it is the condition, and not the hemoglobin levels that must be treated.
Check your daily water intake, as a poor liquid consumption can lead to dehydration which will raise your levels of hemoglobin in your body. Drink 2 liters of water daily in order to stay healthy.
If you have recently moved to an area that is located at a higher altitude, your hemoglobin levels can rise, as the height produces low levels of oxygen in blood. In these cases you should consult your doctor for proper treatment and so he or she can evaluate your situation further.
This article is merely informative, OneHowTo does not have the authority to prescribe any medical treatments or create a diagnosis. We invite you to visit your doctor if you have any type of condition or pain.
If you want to read similar articles to Why Is my Hemoglobin Count High, we recommend you visit our Diseases & secondary effects category.