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High Hemoglobin: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

Hemoglobin is a protein found in red blood cells responsible for transporting oxygen from the lungs to the rest of our bodies. We owe it the adequate oxygenation of the body and the characteristic red color of our blood, so having a proper level of hemoglobin in the blood will help us guarantee our general well-being. If in your last blood tests you have discovered that you have high hemoglobin, at FastlyHealwe, explain the causes, symptoms, and treatment of this condition.

Normal hemoglobin levels

The hemoglobin reference values ​​are usually printed on the analytics and the result of the study; they may vary slightly between laboratories.

In general, normal hemoglobin levels are:

  • Women: between 12.1 and 15.1 g / dL
  • Men: between 13.8 and 17.2 g / dL
  • Children: between 11 and 13 g / dL
  • Babies: between 9.5 and 13 g / dL
  • Newborns: between 14 and 24 g / dL

When the values ​​exceed the references shown above or those determined by the laboratory, the hemoglobin is considered high.

How are hemoglobin levels detected?

To know the hemoglobin levels, it is enough to perform a routine blood test; usually, it is requested as part of a general routine check-up that will allow the doctor to evaluate the patient’s health more globally and detect the presence of common conditions.

In other cases, a test can be requested explicitly to determine hemoglobin levels; this occurs when the patient presents symptoms such as general fatigue, apathy, and weight loss without apparent cause, as part of monitoring chronic diseases, cancer, anemia and also of pregnancy.

Symptoms of high hemoglobin

When hemoglobin is higher than usual, there is a risk that the blood becomes more viscous and that the tissues do not receive an adequate amount of oxygen, which results in the presence of specific symptoms such as:

  • The blue color of the fingers and toes is caused by poor circulation to the extremities, known as peripheral cyanosis.
  • Trouble breathing.
  • Dizziness
  • Heavy bleeding from any injury.
  • Reddish color on the face.
  • Itching and itching of the skin.
  • A swollen spleen usually causes abdominal pain.

If the hemoglobin levels are slightly elevated, there will likely be no symptoms or discomfort. Because this condition has various complications that we will explain later, if several of the symptoms mentioned above are perceived, it is advisable to visit a doctor.

Causes of high hemoglobin

When hemoglobin is high, it is usually because the body has spent some time with deficient oxygen levels; this makes our body try to compensate for the condition by producing a more significant number of red blood cells to meet everyone’s oxygen needs—the tissues.

The most common reasons why this occurs are:

  • Smoking habit causes significant damage to the lungs, which can cause low oxygenation in this area, thus producing an increase in hemoglobin.
  • Living in an area of ​​high altitude implies that there is a lower amount of oxygen. Those who live in these areas tend to have a higher than average hemoglobin level.
  • Insufficiency is present on the right side of the heart, manifested when there is hypertension in the right ventricle of the heart or lungs for a long time.
  • Pulmonary fibrosis.
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD.
  • Congenital heart disease is usually detected in the fetus during pregnancy or birth.
  • Polycythemia vera is a sporadic disorder characterized by the excessive production of red blood cells in the spinal cord.
  • This condition can also occur sporadically when dehydrated; however, as soon as the body recovers the necessary fluid, the hemoglobin should return to normal.

Medical treatment is adapted to each condition.

Except for those who are dehydrated or live at high altitudes, high hemoglobin occurs as a consequence of an underlying disease or as a cause of tobacco addiction, so the first step should be to determine the source through a complete medical evaluation of the problem.

In the case of smoking patients, giving up this habit usually brings excellent benefits. For those who suffer from heart disease, lung disease, or other conditions that lead to this problem, then the doctor should offer the appropriate treatment and recommendations in each particular case. The extraction of red blood cells from the blood can help reduce hemoglobin levels in those cases in which they represent a significant risk; it is a procedure similar to a blood donation that could be recommended by the doctor.

It is also suggested:

  • Maintain adequate hydration by drinking at least 2 liters of water a day so as not to aggravate the problem.
  • Avoid exposing yourself to cigarette smoke passively or actively.
  • For patients who live at high altitudes, moving to an area with higher oxygen can significantly benefit their health.

Complications of high hemoglobin

Although at the hematological level, low hemoglobin is often spoken of more frequently, a common symptom of anemia and nutritional problems, high hemoglobin represents a critical health problem that can generate complications to consider, such as:

  • An increase in the viscosity of the blood can cause circulatory problems because the passage of blood through the body slows down.
  • The risk of local oxygen deprivation, known as ischemia, is increased. This puts the health of organs such as the heart, kidneys, and liver at risk, in addition to promoting conditions such as the onset of a cerebrovascular accident or stroke or a heart attack.
  • In addition, there is a risk of internal bleeding that can range from a simple nosebleed to internal losses that are manifested through urine or feces.

Controlling hemoglobin values ​​in the blood is essential to ensure health, so it is recommended to visit a hematologist if your medical tests indicate an elevation of it.

This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to High Hemoglobin: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment , we recommend that you enter our Blood, Heart, and Circulation category.

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