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Hemoglobin and hematocrit

Blood carries oxygen and nutrients all over the organism and removes waste products away from organs and tissues. It has a role in transmission of information as it carries hormones to target tissues and organs, and has a pivotal role in the defense of the organism from viruses, bacteria and allergens, as it carries the defense force of the organism, white blood cells.

Blood tests will show the general condition of our organism. Numerous parameters are observed in the blood test, among these hemoglobin level and hematocrit. What are these? Red blood cells, responsible for transport of oxygen and carbon dioxide from the lungs to the cells and from the cells to the lungs contain a protein known as hemoglobin. Amount of hemoglobin determines how well the red blood cells will perform their function. Amount of red blood cells, that is percentage of volume of red blood cells in a volume of blood is known as hematocrit. Values for both these parameters should be stable, and any increase or decrease in these could signify an ongoing health problem.

High level of hemoglobin

In adults, the normal range for hemoglobin is from 12 to 17 grams per deciliter, and men have a bit higher value, ranging from 14 to 17 grams per deciliter while women typically have 12 to 15 grams per deciliter. The normal range described by the blood test may differ a bit from one laboratory to another.

Increase of hemoglobin levels may be indicative of dangerous conditions such as congenital heart disease, cor pulmonale, erythrocytosis, low level of oxygen in the blood (hypoxia), pulmonary fibrosis, and other. It is recommended to visit a doctor as soon as possible to determine what caused high hemoglobin levels and determine the adequate treatment, if needed.

High hematocrit

Hematocrit level is labeled as HCT in tests and shows how much of the blood, in terms of volume, is occupied by red blood cells. Typical range of hematocrit for adults is 42 percen% to 54 percent for men and 38 percent to 46 percent for women.Higher hematocrit than these values could be indicative of dehydration, lung disease, tumors, bone marrow disorder or other problems. Again, a visit to the doctor is recommended for proper interpretation of the results and determination of the proper course of action.


High levels of hemoglobin can be caused by smoking, heart disease, living at high altitudes (response to lower amount of oxygen in the air than at lower altitudes), usage of anabolic steroids, and pulmonary fibrosis or bone marrow disease.

High levels of hematocrit include dehydration, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and other conditions that are related to low levels of oxygen in the blood. Actually, conditions that cause high hemoglobin levels also cause a rise in the hematocrit.

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