HIGH HEMOGLOBIN: causes, symptoms and main remedies

High hemoglobin is a frequently found finding in blood tests. The finding of elevated hemoglobin values is associated with a state of dehydration, the presence of chronic lung diseases or the use of erythropoietin-based substances in athletes.

High hemoglobin

The blood count is a routine check that is often underestimated, as it has a very modest cost, is simple to do and often allows you to find biohumoral alterations of a pathology that is still asymptomatic.
Of all the parameters included in the blood count, hemoglobin is undoubtedly the most important. In fact, Hb measures the ability of our blood to bring oxygenated blood into circulation, and at the same time to bind carbon dioxide in the lungs. To test the blood count, just undergo a simple venous blood sample, with a preventive fasting of at least 8 hours and a maximum of a modest intake of liquids.
If the analyzes reveal altered values, it is advisable to immediately contact your doctor for further investigations.

What hemoglobin is and what it is used for

Hemoglobin is one of the basic proteins of the human body. Necessary for the transport of oxygen from the lungs to the tissues that need it and, conversely, of waste substances from the tissues to the lungs that expel them through breathing.
This protein resides inside red blood cells and under the microscope it appears as an element formed by four sub-units (protein chains) linked together chemically. Each chain contains a heme group (iron), responsible for the red color of the blood.
Hemoglobin originates in the bone marrow and is produced by precursors of erythrocytes (proerythroblasts), in the latter it is found in high concentrations. The stimulus to hemoglobin production is generated by a hormone called erythropoietin (EPO), a substance secreted by kidney cells and also used as doping in some endurance sports such as cycling or running.
The HGB values depend on the age and sex of the subject but on average they remain at 13.1-17.7 g / dL in the adult male and 12.1-15.1 g / dL in the woman.
Any variation involves a series of physical and pathological consequences that are risky for the organism.

High hemoglobin: causes

High hemoglobin occurs in conditions of anoxia (lack of oxygen) and is the physiological response of the organism to this situation. The causes can be different:
  • Smoke
  • High odds
  • Use of hormones
  • Dehydration (lack of fluid in the body (
  • Polycythemia (increased red blood cells)
  • Heart failure
  • Chronic lung diseases such as pulmonary fibrosis or COPD
  • Tumors

The first 3 are caused by external reasons and are easily editable.
The smoke involves an increase in red blood cells for a compensation mechanism; in fact, smoking causes an increase in hemoglobin which carries carbon dioxide with a consequent decrease in oxygen. In an attempt to restore the amount of oxygen needed for homeostasis (internal balance), the body produces more red blood cells than normal.
The stay for long periods in high quota leads the body to develop an adaptive response to the reduced concentration of oxygen in the air, stimulating the marrow to produce more red blood cells and, consequently, a greater amount of hemoglobin.
Finally, the use of hormones or doping can lead to increased red blood cell synthesis.

In the pathological causes there is instead a possible presence of lung diseases such as COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) andOSAS (obstructive sleep apnea syndrome), which induce a condition of poor oxygenation in the body which causes an increase in the production of red blood cells. Likewise heart failure.
There polycythemia instead it can be linked to a primary cause, that is an increased production in the bone marrow, or as a consequence of a pathology such as kidney tumors (which produce uncontrollederythropoietin).
Finally, dehydration which decreases the fluid levels in the body and causes a high concentration of the blood.

High hemoglobin: symptoms

  • Fatigue
  • Headache (headache)
  • Dizziness
  • Redness
  • Fatigue breathing
  • Nausea and vomit
  • Hypertension (increased blood pressure)
  • Asthenia (weakness)
  • Dizziness
  • Occlusion of blood vessels as a consequence of the increased viscosity of the blood, also leading to diseases such as myocardial infarction or ischemic cerebral stroke

Elevated hemoglobin: consequences

The risks of elevated hemoglobin are proportional to blood viscosity.
In a nutshell there is a tendency to form small clusters of blood called thrombus which could obstruct blood vessels (arterial thrombosis) with consequences such as heart attacks, strokes, peripheral ischemias.

High hemoglobin: treatment

Treatment for high hemoglobin is related to the cause.
In the case of polycythemia, phlebotomy (elimination of blood to reduce its volume) is used as a solution to the problem.
To replenish fluids in case of dehydration and therapy prescribed by the doctor in case of more serious diseases such as cancer.
If, on the other hand, the reasons for high hemoglobline are related to non-pathological causes, it will be sufficient to remove the risk factors and periodically check the blood values.

High hemoglobin in the urine: causes and symptoms

Let's make a premise: hemoglobin is a value that must not be found in the urine, except for women who have had the analysis done in a period close to their menstrual cycle, in the latter case it is advisable to repeat the analysis after a week.
Its presence is known as hemoglobinuria and occurs when hemoglobin concentrations are so high that they need to be expelled through the urine.
The causes are linked to various pathologies such as sickle cell anemia, renal infarction, haemolytic uremic syndrome, kidney cancer, etc.
Symptoms are characterized by reddish urine, paleness, tachycardia, weakness and enlargement of the spleen, chills, jaundice, hyperthermia (fever), labored breathing, general malaise.
In case of hemoglobinuria it is necessary to immediately contact your doctor for further investigations.

High fetal hemoglobin

Hemoglobin is different in the fetus than in the adult. Specifically, adult hemoglobin has two alpha chains and two beta chains while the fetal one replaces the two beta chains with two gamma. This difference has practical reasons as fetal hemoglobin can carry much more oxygen than normal.
The concentration of fetal hemoglobin gradually decreases until the first birthday but is always present, even if in reduced values, in adulthood.
Normal values fluctuate between 0.3% and 1.2%.
High fetal hemoglobin in pregnancy is common as well as in the presence of diseases such as leukemia, hepatoma, sickle cell anemia, thyrotoxicosis (overactive thyroid) and beta thalassemia.

High glycated hemoglobin: causes

Glycated hemoglobin is none other than glucose linked to hemoglobin, an event that occurs when the concentration of glucose in the blood is particularly high, also allows us to evaluate the glycaemia in recent months. The measurement of this parameter is very important, especially in the diabetic patient. The values of glycosylated hemoglobin are 4-6%, higher values are due to:

  • Diabetes or a diet high in sugar and carbohydrates
  • Intense sporting activity in insulin-dependent patients
  • Prolonged stress
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Ineffective anti-diabetic therapy
  • Infections
  • Prolonged cortisone therapy

Remedies are related to the cause and maintenance of a normal glucose concentration.

High glycosylated hemoglobin: symptoms

Some symptoms of high glycosylated hemoglobin are closely related to the diabetic condition, so we will have:

  • Persistent thirst
  • Asthenia
  • renal failure secondary to diabetic nephropathy
  • Recurrent genital infections
  • Fatigue
  • Blurred vision secondary to diabetic retinopathy

Pollakiuria (frequent need to urinate)

L'blood count (commonly called blood count) allows you to check all the parameters of red, white blood cells and platelets.
Through the blood count it is possible to identify a possible high mchc or low mchc (therefore a high or low concentration of hemoglobin in the blood), a high mcv or low mcv (the volume of red blood cells), a high rdw (which gives an estimate of the size of all erythrocyte cells) or a low hgb (low hemoglobia), etc. These values attached with other parameters (example ferritin) are excellent detectors of pathologies and clinical conditions which, if detected in time, can be appropriately treated with any drug therapies or targeted treatments.

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1 Comment
  1. giannii cameretti 2 years ago

    Interesting for prevention

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