Hemoglobin is a protein found in your blood cells that plays a vital role in carrying oxygen in the blood to all parts of the body. A sudden change in the hemoglobin count may indicate health problems.
While a low hemoglobin count may indicate anemia, a higher count may indicate a health problem or as a result of lifestyle choices.
High Hemoglobin Count
Hemoglobin is a protein found in your blood. Due to the presence of iron, hemoglobin imparts a red color to blood. Measuring hemoglobin levels in your blood can give you an indirect idea about your red blood cells count. Normal hemoglobin count ranges between 14 to 17 grams per deciliter for men and 12 to 15 grams per deciliter for women. A complete blood count (CBC) test indicates the number of blood cells and hemoglobin level. High hemoglobin count can be visible in routine CBC tests.
What are the symptoms of a high hemoglobin count?
You may likely experience the following symptoms if your hemoglobin count is higher than normal levels:
- Excessive sweating
- Easy bleeding when bruised
- Swelling of body parts
- Irregular heartbeat
- Cold hands and feet
- Frequent headaches
- Shortness of breath
- Pain in chest
- Abnormal weight loss
- Purple colored rash
- Itchiness without any specific cause
When to see a doctor?
If you face any of the aforementioned symptoms, it is best to consult with a doctor to avoid any further complications.
What causes a high hemoglobin count?
Hemoglobin count may fluctuate throughout the day. Many factors like age, sex, health conditions can change hemoglobin count in your blood.
High hemoglobin count is the result of your body’s increased need to carry oxygen to different body parts. Certain lifestyle factors or some rare diseases may cause a high hemoglobin count, such as follows:
- Polycythemia vera: It is a rare type of blood disorder , usually indicated by elevated hemoglobin count due to excess production of red blood cells in your marrow . Excess red blood cells can thicken your blood and may lead to life-threatening health conditions and blood clots.
- Smoking: Studies suggest tobacco smoking leads to high hemoglobin levels. With smoking, the body’s need for more oxygen increases, which ultimately raise red blood cells in your body.
- Dehydration: Lack of fluids in the body, low consumption of water, or health conditions such as diarrhea may lead to higher hemoglobin count in your blood.
- Hypoxia: The production of your red blood cell raises to make up for the chronically low blood oxygen levels owing to poor lung or heart function.
- Living in mountains: If you live in mountains or places with high altitudes, your hemoglobin count may be higher than normal to compensate for the lower oxygen supply there .
- Medication like erythropoietin (EPO), that stimulate red blood cell production. EPO given for chronic kidney disease may not increase the count. But EPO doping, which is getting injections to enhance athletic performance or use of anabolic steroids can cause a high hemoglobin count.
Some other health conditions can elevate your hemoglobin count, such as:
- Liver Cancer
- Heart problems
- Congenital heart disease
- Kidney Cancer
- COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease)
How to prevent a high hemoglobin count?
Many factors may be responsible for the change in hemoglobin count. These changes can be reversed if you make the following lifestyle changes:
- Quit smoking
- Stay away from exposure to carbon monoxide
- Increase your water consumption
What are the treatment options for high hemoglobin count?
Medications: A doctor may prescribe medications to treat your elevated levels of hemoglobin. The course of treatment largely depends upon underlying health issues that caused a change in your hemoglobin count.
Phlebotomy: In this treatment option, the doctor will use needles or syringes to remove blood from your body. This procedure may be repeated depending upon your hemoglobin count.
If you have a high hemoglobin count, making certain lifestyle changes may reduce your risk of developing serious health complications. Early diagnosis may help to manage symptoms more effectively.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS)
How can I reduce my high hemoglobin count naturally?
Quit smoking and make certain changes in your diet and lifestyle. Avoid the use of multivitamins that contain iron.
Is my high blood pressure related to elevated hemoglobin count?
A high hemoglobin count may increase your chances of getting high blood pressure. It is best to consult a doctor to treat the condition.
Is it normal to see fluctuation every day in my hemoglobin count?
A slight fluctuation in your hemoglobin count is perfectly normal. Any healthy individual may experience fluctuation up to 1gm/dL due to a change in fluid intake.