What Causes High Hemoglobin Levels? Symptoms And Treatment

Hemoglobin is a protein; it is the oxygen carrying part / constituent of the RBCs (red blood cells). Having a high level of hemoglobin is quite different from having a high red blood cell count, given that, every RBC may not have the same amount of haemoglobin in it. Therefore, you could have a high hemoglobin level even if the RBC count is normal.

By and large, when the haemoglobin count is higher than 17.5 grams of hemoglobin per deciliter of blood for men and 15.5 grams of hemoglobin per deciliter of blood for women, it is considered high.

Causes Of High Hemoglobin Levels In Blood

Common causes for a high level of haemoglobin in your blood include:

  • Smoking
  • Living at higher altitudes; the manufacture of RBCs tends to increase in order to recompense for the low oxygen supply at that height.
  • Poor heart or lung functioning – chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, heart diseases, heart failure.
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Bone marrow dysfunction that results in increased red blood cell synthesis.
  • Taking hormones or drugs, usually, erythropoietin (which stimulates RBC synthesis). You are not likely to get a high hemoglobin count from erythropoietin that is given to you if you have a chronic renal disorder.
    But erythropoietin taken as drugs, i.e. injections taken to pep up athletic performance and endurance levels causes a high hemoglobin count.
  • Cancer of the kidney.
  • Cancer of the liver.

Symptoms Of High Hemoglobin Levels

High levels of hemogobin in the blood usually produce no symptoms at all. It is asymptomatic and may be discovered randomly during some other investigations. On the other hand, occasionally, these symptoms and clinic features may be apparent.

High levels of hemoglobin in the blood manifests as impaired mental functioning and peripheral cyanosis which arises because the circulation in the cerebral area has become compromised. Blood viscosity is another problem that could occur due to high levels of hemoglobin.

Treatment Options For High Hemoglobin Levels

Usually, a high hemoglobin count is revealed accidentally, and it is rather rare. It is discovered when your health care provider asks you to carry out tests and investigations to ascertain the cause for another medical condition that may be ailing you.

You don’t need to get anxious if you have a high hemoglobin count, however, do confer with your health care provider to understand what the results indicate and how to manage the condition well. Your doctor will treat the underlying medical condition that is responsible for the elevated levels of haemoglobin in your blood. Your physician will diagnose your illness, and then give you the treatment plan to lower hemoglobin levels to normal.

  • Heart diseases, such as hypertension, impaired cardiac function and cardiac failure need appropriate and prompt treatment. Also, regular follow ups and continuous medications are very vital. You need to be monitored regularly.
  • Likewise, lung conditions like COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), emphysema, and impaired lung functioning have to be managed effectively.
  • For diabetes mellitus, your health care provider will prescribe oral hypo-glycemics to normalize your blood glucose levels and ask you to follow a carbohydrate counting diet and carbohydrate exchange diet to help control levels of blood glucose in your system.