What diseases cause high Hemoglobin?

Hemoglobin is a critical part of red blood cells that transfers oxygen to all body parts. However, there is a specific limit that defines your hemoglobin level as acceptable. Still, if the range goes either high or low compared to that normal range, then it can adversely affect your health. Every human body needs to have Hemoglobin, blood sugar, and thyroid level under their normal range. If the content goes high or low, then you might experience some severe health issues. 

Hemoglobin is a protein in the blood cells that helps blood to deliver oxygen to the whole body. The hemoglobin count is a measurement of the number of red blood cells present in the body. A higher or lower count can be a symptom of a health condition. However, high or low hemoglobin levels can be treated with the help of medications. So, let’s discuss thoroughly what is Hemoglobin and what diseases can cause high Hemoglobin?

What is Hemoglobin?

As discussed, Hemoglobin is a protein molecule that carries oxygen from the lungs to the body tissues and returns carbon-di-oxide from the tissues back to the lungs. 

Hemoglobin resides in four protein molecules that are connected. An average adult human body contains two alpha-globin chains and two beta-globin chains. In infants, beta chains are not familiar, and the hemoglobin molecule comprises two alpha chains and two gamma chains. As infants grow up, the gamma chains are replaced by beta chains. 

Hemoglobin also plays an essential role in maintaining the shape of the red blood cells. Red blood cells are round with narrow centers looking like a donut without a hole in the middle in their natural form. Abnormal hemoglobin structure can disturb the shape of red blood cells and obstruct their function and flow through blood vessels. 

What is the hemoglobin test?

The hemoglobin test measures how much your red blood cells contain. Abnormally, high or low Hemoglobin can cause signs like exhaustion, dizziness, or shortness of breath. Your professional might suggest a hemoglobin test if you are experiencing these signs. Moreover, you can have an underlying condition that needs to be diagnosed. 

What are the ranges for the hemoglobin test results?

A person’s age and gender both affect hemoglobin levels. But typical healthy hemoglobin levels are as follows-

Category                      HGH level, in grams per deciliter(g/dl)

Infants                          11-18

Young children            11.5-16.5

Adult males                  13-16.5

Mature females (not pregnant) 12-16

Mature females (pregnant) 11-16

Those adult men whose hemoglobin levels below 13 g/dl are considered lower. While for adult women, hemoglobin levels below 12 g/dl are known to be low if they are pregnant. 

What are the symptoms of high Hemoglobin?

A high hemoglobin level is known as Polycythemia which means you have too many red blood cells. Polycythemia vera is a type of cancer in the blood in which your bone marrow overproduces red blood cells. With a high hemoglobin level, a blood test also shows that you have a high red blood cell count and high level of hematocrit. 

Some of the common symptoms of high hemoglobin levels include-

  • Itchiness
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Bleeding
  • Sweating more than usual
  • Joint pain and swelling
  • A feeling of exhausted
  • Reddish or purple tint to the skin
  • Abnormal weight loss

What are the reasons for high Hemoglobin?

High Hemoglobin can result from your body needing to store more Hemoglobin in red blood cells because of the environment: the condition that affects your heart, lungs, and other lifestyle changes.

Mentioned below are some of the possible causes of high Hemoglobin-

  • Living on a high altitude-

People living at a high altitude might face the problem of high hemoglobin levels in the body. It is because there is not much oxygen in the air.

  • Smoking cigarettes or any other products- 

Smoking tobacco products like cigarettes and cigars are also responsible for causing a high level of Hemoglobin.

  • Heart or lungs disease-

Any heart or lung disease can affect your capability to breathe, your lung’s ability to pass oxygen in your bloodstream, or even your heart’s ability to pump. 

  • The condition of polycythemia vera is that the bone marrow produces too many blood cells. 
  • Consuming drugs such as anabolic steroids or any other harmful substance can also cause the hemoglobin level to rise. 
  • Dehydration-

The liquid part of the blood, also called lower plasma, results in the relative elevation of hemoglobin levels. Any condition that causes loss of fluids in the body, such as diarrhea or severe heartburn, results in a high hemoglobin level.

  • Testosterone and other hormones-

Testosterone stimulates red blood cell production and also increases Hemoglobin in the body. 

Androgen also stimulates red blood cell production. It encourages bone marrow activity and increases the inclusion of iron into red blood cells. 

  • Some genetic disorder-

In some people, the high red blood cell counts and hemoglobin levels can be because of rare genetic disorders. 

How is a high hemoglobin count treated?

Sometimes due to some medical conditions, a person can have high hemoglobin levels, after which your professional can suggest a procedure or medication to lower the level of Hemoglobin.

The procedure is known as phlebotomy, in which the doctor inserts a needle in the vein and draws off blood through a tube into a bag or container. The person might have this process repeatedly until the hemoglobin level becomes close to the average level.


Having a high hemoglobin level can lead to many severe health issues. As early as you notice the signs and symptoms of high hemoglobin levels, you might be able to receive the proper treatment to bring it down to the normal range. 

Categories: Health

Nicolas Desjardins

Hello everyone, I am the main writer for SIND Canada. I've been writing articles for more than 12 years and I like sharing my knowledge. I'm currently writing for many websites and newspapers. I always keep myself very informed to give you the best information. All my years as a computer scientist made me become an incredible researcher. You can contact me on our forum or by email at [email protected].