A high hemoglobin count indicates an above-average concentration of the oxygen-carrying protein hemoglobin in your blood. Hemoglobin (Hg or Hgb) is the main component of red blood cells. Hemoglobin count - also referred to as hemoglobin level - indicates your blood's oxygen-carrying capacity.
A high hemoglobin count is somewhat different from a high red blood cell count, because each cell may not have the same amount of hemoglobin proteins. Therefore, you could have a high hemoglobin count even if your red blood cell count falls within the normal range.
The threshold for a high hemoglobin count is slightly different from one medical practice to another. It's generally defined as more than 17.5 grams (g) of hemoglobin per deciliter (dL) of blood for men and 15.5 g/dL for women. In children, the definition of a high hemoglobin count varies with age and sex.
High hemoglobin count
Specific disorders or other factors that may cause high hemoglobin count include:
- Heart failure
- Kidney cancer
- Liver cancer
- Living at a high altitude, where there's less oxygen in the air
- Other types of heart disease
- Other types of lung disease
- Polycythemia vera
- Smoking, which may result in low blood oxygen levels
Causes shown here are commonly associated with this symptom. Work with your doctor or other health care professional for an accurate diagnosis.