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Signs and symptoms of high hemoglobin: The request could not be satisfied


High hemoglobin count | Beacon Health System


A high hemoglobin count indicates an above-normal level of the iron-containing protein in red blood cells. Hemoglobin (often abbreviated as Hb or Hgb) is the oxygen-carrying component of red blood cells.

Hemoglobin, which gives red blood cells their color, helps carry oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body and carbon dioxide back to the lungs to be exhaled.

The threshold for a high hemoglobin count differs slightly from one medical practice to another. It’s generally defined as more than 16.6 grams (g) of hemoglobin per deciliter (dL) of blood for men and 15 g/dL for women. In children, the definition of a high hemoglobin count varies with age and sex. Hemoglobin count may also vary due to time of day, how well-hydrated you are and altitude.


A high hemoglobin count occurs most commonly when your body requires an increased oxygen-carrying capacity, usually because:

  • You smoke
  • You live at a high altitude and your red blood cell production naturally increases to compensate for the lower oxygen supply there

High hemoglobin count occurs less commonly because:

  • Your red blood cell production increases to make up for chronically low blood oxygen levels due to poor heart or lung function.
  • Your bone marrow produces too many red blood cells.
  • You’ve taken drugs or hormones, most commonly erythropoietin (EPO), that stimulate red blood cell production. You’re not likely to get a high hemoglobin count from EPO given to you for chronic kidney disease. But EPO doping — getting injections to enhance athletic performance — can cause a high hemoglobin count.

If you have a high hemoglobin count without other abnormalities, it’s unlikely to indicate a related serious condition. Conditions that can cause a high hemoglobin count include:

  • Congenital heart disease in adults
  • COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) exacerbation — worsening of symptoms
  • Dehydration
  • Emphysema
  • Heart failure
  • Kidney cancer
  • Liver cancer
  • Polycythemia vera

When to see a doctor

A high hemoglobin count is usually found from tests your doctor has ordered to diagnose another condition. Your doctor is likely to order other tests to help determine the cause of your high hemoglobin count.

Last Updated: December 2nd, 2020

What are the Symptoms and Signs of Leukemia?

Early warning signs of leukemia

Leukemia symptoms often vary depending on the type of leukemia diagnosed. Some symptoms, like night sweats, fever, fatigue and achiness, resemble flu-like symptoms. Unlike symptoms of the flu, which generally subside as you get better, leukemia symptoms generally last longer than two weeks, and may include sudden weight loss, bone and joint pain and easy bleeding or bruising. Other early warning signs of leukemia include:

  • Fever, chills
  • Fatigue, weakness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Night sweats
  • Abdominal discomfort
  • Headaches
  • Shortness of breath
  • Frequent infections
  • Petechiae (small red spots under the skin)

Symptoms of leukemia may differ slightly depending on the type.

Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) may present symptoms such as:

  • Fever
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Easy bleeding or bruising 
  • Petechiae
  • Weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Poor appetite
  • Unintended weight loss

Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) may also cause the above symptoms, plus some additional ones as well, including:

  • Night sweats
  • Bone pain
  • Abdominal pain
  • Pain or fullness below the ribs
  • Painless lumps in the neck, stomach, groin or under the arm
  • Frequent infections

Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is unlikely to cause noticeable symptoms in the early stages. However, as the disease progresses, it may cause symptoms that resemble AML and ALL, including:

  • Swelling in the lymph nodes
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Pain or fullness below the ribs
  • Fever
  • Frequent infections
  • Easy bruising or bleeding
  • Petechiae
  • Unintended weight loss

Chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) may not cause noticeable symptoms. However, when it does cause symptoms, they may include:

  • Unintended weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Night sweats
  • Fever
    Pain or fullness below the left ribs

Because some conditions occur as side effects of the disease, the following may be signs of leukemia:

Anemia: A low red blood cell count. Red blood cells carry oxygen around the body. This condition may contribute to weakness, fatigue or shortness of breath.

Leukopenia: A low white blood cell count. A decrease in the production of functional leukocytes (white blood cells) weakens the body’s immune defense, which may make you more prone to infections.

Thrombocytopenia: A low blood platelet count. Platelets are the blood cells responsible for blood clotting. A shortage of blood platelets may lead to easy bruising or bleeding.

When leukemia results in thrombocytopenia, symptoms may include bleeding from the gums and nose. In women, thrombocytopenia can result in heavy or abnormally long menstruation.

Swollen lymph nodes: In some cases, the signs of leukemia may include noticeable swelling of the neck, armpit or groin. This occurs when leukemia has spread to the lymph nodes.

Enlarged liver or spleen: The build-up of abnormal blood cells in the liver or spleen may cause a feeling of fullness (loss of appetite) or swelling in the upper left side of the abdomen.

When to see a doctor

Many of the symptoms of leukemia may be caused by other, more common conditions. However, if you’re experiencing any symptoms that could potentially be related to leukemia, it’s best to see a doctor who can figure out the cause. It’s particularly important to seek a doctor’s guidance if symptoms persist or worsen.

Hemoglobin | Labcorp

View Sources

Sources Used in Current Review

(October 7,2018) Maakaron, J. Anemia: Practice Essentials, Pathophysiology, Etiology. Medscape Reference. Available online at https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/198475-overview#a1. Accessed July 2019.

McPherson, Richard A & Pincus, Matthew R. (© 2017). Henry’s Clinical Diagnosis and Management by Laboratory Methods. 23rd Edition: Elsevier Inc., St. Louis, MO. Chapter 32, 559-605.

Sources Used in Previous Reviews

Thomas, Clayton L., Editor (1997). Taber’s Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary. F.A. Davis Company, Philadelphia, PA [18th Edition].

Pagana, Kathleen D. & Pagana, Timothy J. (2001). Mosby’s Diagnostic and Laboratory Test Reference 5th Edition: Mosby, Inc., Saint Louis, MO.

Wu, A. (2006). Tietz Clinical Guide to Laboratory Tests, Fourth Edition. Saunders Elsevier, St. Louis, Missouri. Pp 524-527.

Henry’s Clinical Diagnosis and Management by Laboratory Methods. 21st ed. McPherson R, Pincus M, eds. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier: 2007, Chap 31, Pp 458, 489-491.

Kasper DL, Braunwald E, Fauci AS, Hauser SL, Longo DL, Jameson JL eds (2005). Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine, 16th Edition, McGraw Hill, Pp 329-336.

Pagana K, Pagana T. Mosby’s Manual of Diagnostic and Laboratory Tests. 3rd Edition, St. Louis: Mosby Elsevier; 2006, Pp 300-303.

Harmening D. Clinical Hematology and Fundamentals of Hemostasis, Fifth Edition, F.A. Davis Company, Piladelphia, 2009, Pp 82-85, 771.

(Feb 9 2010) Dugdale D. Hemoglobin. MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia. Available online at http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003645.htm. Accessed January 2012.

(December 2005) Mayo Reference Services. How to interpret and pursue an abnormal complete blood cell count in adults. Vol. 30 No. 12. PDF available for download at http://www.mayomedicallaboratories.com/media/articles/communique/mc2831-1205.pdf. Accessed January 2012.

(March 1, 2011) National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. What is Polycythemia vera? Available online at http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/public/blood/index.htm. Accessed Jan 2012.

(Aug 1, 2010) National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. Anemia. Available online at http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/anemia/. Accessed Jan 2012.

(November 4, 2011) Maarkaron J. Anemia. Medscape Reference article. Available online at http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/198475-overview. Accessed Jan 2012.

(May 26, 2011) Kahsai D. Emergent Management of Acute Anemia. Medscape Reference article. Available online at http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/780334-overview#a1. Accessed Jan 2012.

(August 26, 2011) Harper J. Pediatric Megaloblastic Anemia. eMedicine article. Available online at http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/959918-overview. Accessed Jan 2012.

(June 8, 2011) Artz A. Anemia in Elderly Persons. eMedicine article. Available online at http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1339998-overview. Accessed Jan 2012.

Riley R, et.al. Automated Hematologic Evaluation. Medical College of Virginia, Virginia Commonwealth University. Available onlinr at http://www.pathology.vcu.edu/education/PathLab/pages/hematopath/pbs.html#Anchor-Automated-47857. Accessed Jan 2012.

Wintrobe’s Clinical Hematology. 12th ed. Greer J, Foerster J, Rodgers G, Paraskevas F, Glader B, Arber D, Means R, eds. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins: 2009, Pg 4.

Harmening D, Clinical Hematology and Fundamentals of Hemostasis, Fifth Edition, F. A. Davis Company, Philadelphia, 2009, Pp 70, 771.

Henry’s Clinical Diagnosis and Management by Laboratory Methods. 22nd ed. McPherson R, Pincus M, eds. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier: 2011, 510-512, 557-599.

(Updated February 12, 2014) Yang B. Hemoglobin Concentration. Medscape Reference. Available online at http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/2085614-overview#a4. Accessed June 2015.

Anemia Symptoms, Causes, and Treatments

Are you at risk for anemia?

Take our short quiz to learn more about the symptoms of anemia.

There’s more to chronic kidney disease than you think…

If your kidneys are not working properly, they may not be able to help your body make the red blood cells it needs. Anemia is a common side effect of kidney disease.

What causes anemia?

Anemia happens when there are not enough healthy red blood cells in your body.

Red blood cells carry oxygen through your bloodstream, giving you energy and helping your muscles, bones, and organs work properly.

  • Normal

    The oxygen that we breathe in passes through our lungs and into the red blood cells.

  • Anemia

    In anemia, there are not enough red blood cells to carry this oxygen around the body.

Anemia can make you feel weak and tired because you are not getting the energy you need.

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How does chronic kidney disease (CKD) cause anemia?

Anybody can develop anemia, but it is very common in people with CKD. People with CKD may start to have anemia in the early stages of CKD, but it is most common in stages 3-5. Anemia usually gets worse as CKD gets worse. If your kidneys are not working as well as they should, you are more likely to get anemia.

Anemia in CKD is more common if you:

If you think you might have CKD, talk to your doctor about getting tested.

Management of anemia and its symptoms may help you feel better.

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What are the symptoms of anemia?

Anemia can happen with or without symptoms. Many of the symptoms of anemia can also be caused by other problems.  The only way be sure if you have anemia is to get tested. If you are experiencing symptoms, it is important that you talk to your doctor.

  • Dizziness, loss of concentration

    Feeling dizzy or having difficulty concentrating may be a sign that your brain is not getting enough oxygen.

  • Pale skin

    Paleness is caused by reduced blood flow or a lower number of red blood cells.

  • Chest pain

    Anemia in CKD can increase your risk of heart problems because the heart has to work harder to provide blood to your body. If you experience an unusually fast heart rate or are worried about your heart health, please speak to your doctor.

  • Shortness of breath

    Your blood may not have enough red blood cells to deliver oxygen to your muscles. By increasing your breathing rate, your body is trying to bring more oxygen into your body.

  • Fatigue or weakness

    Easy fatigue, loss of energy, and reduced physical capacity

  • Cold intolerence

    Sensitivity to the cold may mean there is not enough oxygen being delivered in the blood to your body

Take our short quiz to learn more about the symptoms of anemia.

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What type of anemia is common in people with CKD?

There are two main causes of anemia in CKD:

Less erythropoietin (EPO) than normal

All of the cells in your body live for a certain amount of time and then die. Your body is always working to make new cells to replace the ones that have died. Red blood cells live for about 115 days. Your kidneys help your body make red blood cells.

Healthy kidneys make a hormone called erythropoietin (EPO). EPO sends a signal to the body to make more red blood cells. If your kidneys are not working as well as they should, they can’t make enough EPO. Without enough EPO, your body doesn’t know to make enough red blood cells. This means fewer red blood cells are available for carrying oxygen through your body, leading to anemia.

Healthy kidney:

  • Healthy kidney

  • Normal EPO

  • Normal number of red blood cells


  • Chronic Kidney Disease

  • Reduced EPO

  • Reduced number of red blood cells

Less iron than normal 

Iron is a mineral found in many foods, such as meats and leafy greens. Your body uses iron to make red blood cells. A common cause of anemia in people with CKD is iron deficiency. Iron deficiency means you do not have enough iron in your body. It can be caused by not getting enough iron in your diet or by losing blood, either through blood tests or during dialysis. If you don’t take in enough iron through your diet, you can get anemia. Around half of people with CKD stages 2 to 5 have some kind of iron deficiency.

Causes of iron deficiency

  • Not eating enough foods that are rich in iron

  • Iron from your food is not being absorbed properly into your bloodstream

  • Frequent blood donation or testing may increase demand for iron

  • Blood loss from dialysis

Other types of anemia

Anemia caused by having too little EPO or too little iron in your body are the most common in people with CKD. However, there are also other types of anemia. Talk to your doctor to learn more.

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How will I know if I have anemia?

Talk to your doctor if you think you may have anemia. The only way to know if you have anemia is to have a blood test. When you have kidney disease, your doctor will want you to have blood tests often. These tests are used to check not only your kidney function, but also for signs of any other problems, such as the number of red blood cells and how much iron you have in your body.

The test for anemia is a simple blood test to check for the amount of hemoglobin in your blood. Hemoglobin is a part of your red blood cells. Figuring out the amount of hemoglobin you have in your blood can tell your doctor how many red blood cells you have.

Your doctor may also ask you if you’ve noticed any symptoms, such as changes in skin color or feeling unusually tired.

Take our short quiz to learn more about the symptoms of anemia.

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How is anemia treated?

Getting your anemia treated can help you feel better. Depending on the cause of your anemia, your doctor may recommend one of the following treatments:

  • Erythropoiesis-stimulating agents (ESAs) — ESAs are injectable medicines that work by sending a signal to the your body to make more red blood cells.
  • Iron supplementation — Your doctor may give you iron supplements as pills or as a shot. If you are on dialysis, you may be given an iron supplement during your dialysis treatment.
  • Red blood cell transfusion — A red blood cell transfusion is a procedure to increase the number of red blood cells in your body by giving you red blood cells from someone else’s body through an IV. This can temporarily improve your anemia symptoms.

Doctors and researchers are working on potential new treatments for anemia. New treatments in development are tested in clinical trials. If you’re interested in joining a clinical trial to try an investigational new treatment for anemia, visit ClinicalTrials. gov to learn about all available clinical trials for anemia.

If you have CKD, getting early treatment for your anemia can help slow the progress of your CKD. If you think you might have anemia, talk to your doctor about getting tested.


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Anemia and end-stage renal disease (ESRD)

Anemia and end-stage renal disease (ESRD), also known as kidney failure, often go hand in hand. Most people with kidney failure who are on dialysis have anemia. Kidney transplant patients are also at higher risk for anemia. Learn more.

Click here to download a copy of the Anemia in ESRD booklet.

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Talk with your doctor about anemia

Talk with your doctor or another member of your health care team to find out more about your anemia symptoms and treatment options. Our Talk to Your Doctor Guide can help you get the conversation started.

To get your guide, click “Get started” and just fill out our quick 7-question symptom survey.

Note: This survey is not a medical diagnosis. This guide is an awareness tool designed for you and your doctor to use together. The information you provide is anonymous and will not shared.

Get started

Question 1 of 7

How often do you feel tired and/or weak and don’t know why?

Not often



How much does that bother you?

Not at all

A little

A lot

Question 2 of 7

How often do you notice your heart beating faster than normal?

Not often



How much does that bother you?

Not at all

A little

A lot

Question 3 of 7

How often do you have trouble breathing or catching your breath?

Not often



How much does that bother you?

Not at all

A little

A lot

Question 4 of 7

How often do you feel dizzy?

Not often



How much does that bother you?

Not at all

A little

A lot

Question 5 of 7

How often do you have trouble concentrating?

Not often



How much does that bother you?

Not at all

A little

A lot

Question 6 of 7

How often do you feel cold when others do not?

Not often



How much does that bother you?

Not at all

A little

A lot

Question 7 of 7

Does your skin look unusually pale or dull?

Not often



How much does that bother you?

Not at all

A little

A lot

Download your printable Doctor Conversation Guide. Remember to show it to your doctor!

Download (PDF)

Note: Some mobile device settings will not allow for the PDF to download properly.
If you are having trouble, please visit this page on a desktop computer for access to the PDF.

Learn more about anemia and chronic kidney disease and receive updates from the American Kidney Fund.

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Resources for professionals

The ACT on Anemia campaign is helping health care professionals have conversations with their patients about the link between chronic kidney disease and anemia.

Online courses with free CEs for professionals

Talk to your patient guide

View the doctor conversation guide video

Gain insights from our kidney disease and anemia survey

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Resources for patients

Download the tools you need to learn more about the connection between chronic kidney disease and anemia. Use these materials to start a conversation during your next health care appointment.

ACT on Anemia CKD booklet

ACT on Anemia ESRD booklet

Talk to your doctor guide

Risk identifier quiz

View your doctor conversation guide video

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Common questions about anemia in kidney disease

How are patients with kidney disease and anemia treated?

Iron supplements, erythropoiesis-stimulating agents (ESAs) and red blood cell transfusions are current treatment options for anemia in chronic kidney disease (CKD). Doctors and researchers are working on potential new treatments for anemia that can be administered orally (by mouth) and may provide another option for treatment.

Can kidney disease cause anemia?

Anemia is more common in people with chronic kidney disease (CKD) and it can be caused by your CKD. Anemia happens when there are not enough red blood cells in your body. When your kidneys are not working like they should, your body may produce fewer red blood cells. Also, people with anemia and chronic kidney disease have lower levels of iron which is also used to make red blood cells. Fewer red blood cells means less oxygen is carried to your organs and tissues. Learn more.

What type of anemia is associated with chronic kidney disease?

There are several kinds of anemia. The most common types of anemia in people with chronic kidney disease (CKD) are anemia caused by having too little of a hormone called erythropoietin (EPO) and anemia caused by having too little iron in your body. Learn more.

Is anemia a sign of kidney disease?

No, having anemia does not always mean you have kidney disease. However, anemia is a common complication of kidney disease. Anemia happens when there are not enough red blood cells in your body. If your kidneys are not working properly, they may not be able to help your body make the red blood cells it needs. Learn more.

Does anemia cause kidney disease?

No, anemia does not cause kidney disease. Anemia is a complication of CKD. People with CKD may start to have anemia in the early stages of CKD, though it is most common in people with stages 3-5 CKD. Anemia usually gets worse as your kidney function gets worse. 

Can low iron affect kidneys?

People with anemia and chronic kidney disease (CKD) may have lower levels of iron which is used to make red blood cells. This can be caused by not getting enough iron in your diet or by losing blood, either through blood tests or during dialysis. Fewer red blood cells means less oxygen is carried to your organs and tissues. Learn more.

What are some of the signs and symptoms of anemia in chronic kidney disease patients?

Anemia can happen with or without symptoms. Many of the symptoms of anemia can also be caused by other problems. The only way be sure if you have anemia is to get tested by your doctor. Signs or symptoms of anemia include:

  • Dizziness
  • Loss of concentration
  • Pale skin
  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue or weakness
  • Sensitivity to cold

Learn more about the symptoms of anemia.

Are there foods you can eat to help with anemia when you have chronic kidney disease?

If your body does not have enough iron, a dietitian or health care professional may recommend you add more foods with iron to your diet. Foods high in iron include: shellfish, spinach, red meat, beans and broccoli. However, some of these foods may be high in other nutrients, like sodium, phosphorus, or potassium, which people with chronic kidney disease (CKD) may need to limit. Talk with your health care team before making changes to your diet. Learn more about eating healthy with kidney disease.

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Polycythemia Vera: Practice Essentials, Pathophysiology, Epidemiology

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  • Huang BT, Zeng QC, Zhao WH, Li BS, Chen RL. Interferon a-2b gains high sustained response therapy for advanced essential thrombocythemia and polycythemia vera with JAK2V617F positive mutation. Leuk Res. 2014 Jul 15. [Medline].

  • Landolfi R, Marchioli R, Kutti J, et al. Efficacy and safety of low-dose aspirin in polycythemia vera. N Engl J Med. 2004 Jan 8. 350(2):114-24. [Medline]. [Full Text].

  • Vannucchi AM. Ruxolitinib versus standard therapy for the treatment of polycythemia vera. N Engl J Med. 2015 Apr 23. 372 (17):1670-1. [Medline]. [Full Text].

  • Pardanani A, Harrison C, Cortes JE, Cervantes F, Mesa RA, Milligan D, et al. Safety and Efficacy of Fedratinib in Patients With Primary or Secondary Myelofibrosis: A Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA Oncol. 2015 Aug. 1 (5):643-51. [Medline].

  • Slakey DP, Klein AS, Venbrux AC, Cameron JL. Budd-Chiari syndrome: current management options. Ann Surg. 2001 Apr. 233(4):522-7. [Medline]. [Full Text].

  • Tefferi A, Barbui T. Polycythemia vera and essential thrombocythemia: 2017 update on diagnosis, risk-stratification, and management. Am J Hematol. 2017 Jan. 92 (1):94-108. [Medline].

  • Khanal N, Giri S, Upadhyay S, Shostrom VK, Pathak R, Bhatt VR. Risk of second primary malignancies and survival of adult patients with polycythemia vera: A United States population-based retrospective study. Leuk Lymphoma. 2016. 57 (1):129-33. [Medline].

  • Nelson R. FDA Approves Fedratinib for the Treatment of Myelofibrosis. Medscape Medical News. Available at https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/916928. August 16, 2019; Accessed: August 16, 2019.

  • Abdulkarim K, Girodon F, Johansson P, et al. AML transformation in 56 patients with Ph- MPD in two well defined populations. Eur J Haematol. 2009 Feb. 82(2):106-11. [Medline].

  • Siebolts U, Breuhahn K, Hennecke A, Schultze JL, Wickenhauser C. Imbalance of DNA-dependent protein kinase subunits in polycythemia vera peripheral blood stem cells. Int J Cancer. 2009 Feb 1. 124(3):600-7. [Medline].

  • Polycythemia – Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, Diagnosis

    The Facts

    The word polycythemia simply means “many cells in the blood.” There are two forms of this disease: polycythemia vera and secondary polycythemia.

    Polycythemia vera (also called primary polycythemia) is a rare growth disorder of the bone marrow, occurring when the marrow is overactive and produces more blood cells than the body needs.

    Secondary polycythemia affects some people as a result of limited oxygen due to smoking or living at high altitudes.

    Polycythemia vera usually produces a high concentration of red blood cells or hemoglobin in the circulating blood, but it’s important to note that white blood cell and platelet counts may also be increased.


    Polycythemia vera is a primary bone marrow disorder. Bone marrow is found in the centre of most bones and normally produces all red blood cells and platelets, and most white blood cells. In polycythemia vera, a mutation occurs in a bone marrow cell, resulting in overproduction of the bone marrow cells. The overproduced cells include the red blood cells, but can also include white blood cells and platelets. Although the exact cause of polycythemia vera is unknown, researchers have found that a specific gene mutation in the JAK2 gene is present in over 90% of cases. Polycythemia vera is an uncommon condition It occurs more often in men than in women. It is rarely seen in people under the age of 40.

    Secondary polycythemia is different from polycythemia vera in several ways. Secondary polycythemia occurs when the body is not getting enough oxygen or as a response to certain drugs or hormones. Red blood cell production increases in response to low oxygen concentration in the air. Because there’s less oxygen in the blood, the body attempts to overcome the lack by making more red blood cells. It doesn’t stop, however, and keeps producing them until there are too many. The bone marrow can also be overstimulated by testosterone replacement therapy.

    Living for long periods at high altitudes where there’s less oxygen may lead to polycythemia. It also may occur in people with chronic lung conditions and certain kidney tumours and cysts. Heavy smoking is associated with an increase in carbon monoxide in the blood and may also lead to higher red cell and hemoglobin levels. Low blood oxygen levels (hypoxia) due to congenital heart disease also appear to be a factor in the development of polycythemia.

    Symptoms and Complications

    Polycythemia may not cause any symptoms. It’s often discovered only if a hemoglobin test or a red blood cell count is done. Some people do experience symptoms that appear gradually. These may include itching following bathing, dizziness, and a flushing of the face and hands. Weakness, headaches, visual disturbances, and a sense of “fullness” in the head and in the left upper abdomen may also be associated with the condition. Some people may have high blood pressure. Polycythemia is associated with an increased risk of blood clots (venous thrombosis, stroke, heart attack) and leukemia.

    Without treatment, the  risk of death from stroke, blood clots, or heart attack increases. Blood clots are the most common cause of death, followed by complications of myelofibosis (a condition in which the bone marrow is replaced by scar tissue),  hemorrhage, and development of acute leukemia.

    Making the Diagnosis

    To diagnose polycythemia, a doctor will begin by discussing the patient’s health history and doing a physical examination. The doctor will also look for physical signs of increased blood volume, such as dilated veins and a ruddy complexion. If the skin is flushed or itchy, particularly after a hot bath, it may indicate a diagnosis of polycythemia.

    The doctor may also check for a history of smoking or alcohol abuse. A careful physical examination might also be done to check for high blood pressure, obesity, lack of oxygen (cyanosis), heart murmurs, or an enlarged spleen. Various blood tests will likely be done, including a complete blood cell count, erythropoietin level, and an assay to detect a JAK2 mutation. Additional tests will then be done to find out whether it is polycythemia vera or secondary polycythemia. These tests will probably include a history and physical examination, measurements of oxygen saturation. For some people, the doctor may suggest a bone marrow test.

    Treatment and Prevention

    Treatment will vary according to the person’s age, symptoms, and blood test results.

    To reduce the risk of blood clots, treatment with low-dose acetylsalicylic acid* (ASA) is recommended for most people with polycythemia (unless there is a reason they should not take it).
    Phlebotomy (removal of small amounts of blood) used to be the most common type of therapy for polycythemia vera.

    When phlebotomy is used, blood will be withdrawn in amounts of 300 mL to 500 mL every few days at first, then every few weeks, and then every few months. The treatment goal will be to keep the blood hemoglobin level within the low-to-normal range. Often, the process of blood withdrawal can be stopped for months at a time if the hemoglobin level stays in the required range. For seniors or for people with heart or brain blood vessel disease, less blood is usually taken (i.e., only 200 mL to 300 mL twice a week). Once a person’s hemoglobin levels are normal, they will probably have monthly doctor’s appointments.

    If the blood has high white blood cell and platelet counts in addition to a high content of red blood cells, the physician may prescribe a medication that cuts down blood cell production by the bone marrow (e.g., hydroxyurea, ruxolitinib).

    Complications such as high uric acid blood levels and itchy skin may be treated with allopurinol or antihistamines, respectively.

    In rare cases, the spleen can become extremely enlarged. The physician may recommend its surgical removal (splenectomy).

    Anyone who has had a splenectomy must get vaccinations to prevent future infections.

    Unfortunately, there’s no way to prevent polycythemia vera. However, you may reduce your risk of secondary polycythemia by not smoking.

    All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2021. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Source: www.medbroadcast.com/condition/getcondition/Polycythemia

    Interpret hemoglobin levels | Ada

    What are hemoglobin levels?

    A person’s hemoglobin levels indicate how much hemoglobin is present in their blood. Hemoglobin, also written as haemoglobin, is a complex protein found in red blood cells which helps to circulate oxygen around the body and transport carbon dioxide from tissues to the lungs.

    If a person’s levels of hemoglobin are either too low or too high, this can have a variety of consequences for one’s health.

    High levels of hemoglobin are relatively rare, while low levels, a condition known as anemia, are relatively common and can occur in people of all ages, though they are especially common in pregnant women and people experiencing a range of other conditions. Treating both high and low levels of hemoglobin usually involves treatment for the underlying cause.

    If you are experiencing symptoms that may be linked to hemoglobin levels, start a symptom assessment with the free Ada app now.

    How are hemoglobin levels measured?

    Hemoglobin is measured as part of a complete blood count (CBC), a routine test that is commonly ordered by doctors to help diagnose a range of conditions, such as infection, anemia and leukemia.

    To carry out a CBC, a blood sample – typically from a vein in the arm – first has to be taken. To measure hemoglobin, the blood will generally be combined with a liquid containing cyanide, which binds tightly to the hemoglobin molecules. By shining a light through the resulting solution (cyanmethemoglobin) and recording the amount of light which is absorbed, the levels of hemoglobin in the blood can be determined.

    Read more about how to interpret blood test results »

    Normal hemoglobin ranges by age

    Normal levels of hemoglobin in the blood typically depend on sex, age and general health. Abnormally low or high levels of hemoglobin can indicate a range of health conditions, including anemia and sickle cell disease.

    The hemoglobin levels chart below outlines normal hemoglobin ranges according to the World Health Organization:

    • 6 months to 4 years: At or above 11 g/dL
    • 5-12 years: At or above 11.5 g/dL
    • 12-15 years: At or above 12 g/dL
    • Adult male: 13.8 to 17.2 g/dL
    • Adult female: 12.1 to 15.1 g/dL
    • During pregnancy: At or above 11g/dL

    Low hemoglobin levels

    Having abnormally low levels of hemoglobin generally results in a condition known as anemia. In some cases, this is associated with sickle cell disease, sickle cell anemia or thalassemia.

    If you are experiencing symptoms that may be linked to low hemoglobin levels, start a symptom assessment with the free Ada app now.


    Anemia, also written as anaemia, is the general name for a condition where the body either cannot make enough healthy red blood cells and/or has too little hemoglobin, the substance that enables red blood cells to transport oxygen around the body.

    Read more about anemia »

    Sickle cell disease

    Sickle cell disease (SCD) is an umbrella term for a group of conditions that cause hemoglobin to be abnormally shaped and red blood cells to break down more easily than normal. Sickle cell disease is acquired genetically.

    Read more about sickle cell disease »

    Sickle cell anemia

    Sickle cell anemia is one of the main subtypes of sickle cell disease.

    Read more about the subtypes of sickle cell disease »


    Thalassemia is a genetic disorder that affects the production and function of hemoglobin, causing red blood cells to break down more easily than normal. The condition may be mild or severe.

    Read more about thalassemia »

    Low hemoglobin levels in pregnancy

    Mild anemia is normal during pregnancy. When pregnant, the amount of blood produced by the body increases by up to 30 percent, meaning that the body requires more iron in order to produce sufficient hemoglobin. If the body does not receive a sufficient amount of iron to do this, anemia can result. This is especially common in the second and third trimesters.

    Preventing anemia during pregnancy

    Eating a diet containing large amounts of iron-rich foods, such as green leafy vegetables, cereals, eggs, lentils, beans, peas, flaxseeds and nuts, is a good way of increasing hemoglobin levels and preventing anemia during pregnancy.

    Doctors will also generally suggest over-the-counter supplements or prescribe iron supplements to ensure an individual is consuming the recommended daily amount of iron, i.e. around 27 mg. Some juices made of highly-concentrated fruit extracts contain high levels of iron, so not all doctors will find it necessary to prescribe supplements.

    High hemoglobin levels

    High levels of hemoglobin can occur due to a number of underlying conditions and certain environmental/lifestyle factors, many of which function to lower the level of oxygen in the blood (hypoxia), causing the body to produce elevated levels of hemoglobin.

    High levels of hemoglobin are relatively rare compared to low levels. Factors which can cause high hemoglobin levels include:

    • Using tobacco products. Research suggests that tobacco has the effect of raising hemoglobin levels in the blood.
    • Living at high altitudes
    • Dehydration
    • Bone marrow disorders (polycythemia vera)
    • Heart problems
    • Lung problems, such as emphysema
    • Anabolic steroid abuse

    Symptoms of high hemoglobin levels

    Due to its rarity, high levels of hemoglobin may, in many cases, only be detected by chance or after symptoms have already begun to present themselves. High hemoglobin levels may often be indicated by the presence of symptoms related to the causal underlying condition.

    Experiencing high levels of hemoglobin can indicate a serious underlying condition, and urgent medical assistance should be sought.

    Treatment for high hemoglobin levels

    Treatment for high levels of hemoglobin depends upon the underlying cause of the condition. This may involve lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking or more complex treatment methods to manage heart problems, for example.

    Hemoglobin levels FAQs

    Q: What are normal hemoglobin levels in infants?
    A: Normal hemoglobin levels in infants are as follows:

    • 0-1 month: 13.3 – 19.9 gm/dL
    • 1-2 months: 10.7-17.1 gm/dL
    • 2-3 months 9.0-14.1 gm/dL
    • 3-6 months: 9.5-14.1 gm/dL
    • 6 months-1 year: 11.3-14.1 gm/dL

    These ranges have been calculated using a range of medical sources. Normal hemoglobin ranges typically differ between laboratories, however, meaning some sources may differ from the levels stated here.

    Q: What are normal hemoglobin levels in children and adults?
    A: Hemoglobin levels differ according to age, sex and general health. Normal ranges are as follows:

    • Children: 11-13 gm/dL
    • Adult males: 14-18 gm/dL
    • Adult women: 12-16 gm/dL
    • Older men: 12.4-14.9 gm/dL
    • Older women: 11.7-13.8 gm/dL

    Normal hemoglobin ranges typically differ between laboratories, meaning the ranges stated here may be slightly different to those stated elsewhere.

    Q: How can I increase my hemoglobin levels?
    A: Various minerals and vitamins can help to increase one’s hemoglobin count. These include iron, vitamin B6, vitamin B9 (folic acid), vitamin B12 and vitamin C. People with low hemoglobin levels may be prescribed supplements of one or more of these to help the body to produce more of the protein. Alternatively, various foodstuffs also contain these vitamins and minerals.

    Foods that may help to increase hemoglobin levels include:

    • Iron: Egg, cereals, green leafy vegetables, beans, meat and seafood
    • Vitamin B6: Meat, fish, vegetables, nuts and seeds
    • Vitamin B9 (folic acid): Green leafy vegetables, beans and fruits
    • Vitamin B12: Fish, meat and dairy
    • Vitamin C: Citrus fruits, broccoli, potatoes and tomatoes

    When hemoglobin levels are severely low, a blood transfusion will typically be carried out to rapidly bring up an individual’s hemoglobin levels.

    Q: What are dangerously low hemoglobin levels?
    A: When hemoglobin levels become dangerously low, a blood transfusion will normally be required. The point at which a blood transfusion may be required varies between people, as the same level of hemoglobin can cause different symptoms or dangers in different people. The general health, age, sex and other factors will always be taken into consideration when deciding whether an individual is in need of a blood transfusion.

    According to the American Association of Blood Banks, a hemoglobin level of 7 m/dL or below should indicate the need for a blood transfusion in people who are otherwise medically stable. For those undergoing orthopedic or cardiac surgery, or for those with a preexisting cardiovascular condition, the threshold for blood transfusion should be a hemoglobin count of 8 m/dL or below.

    Q: Can the use of tobacco products affect hemoglobin levels?
    A: Research suggests that tobacco has the effect of raising hemoglobin levels in the blood. People who consume tobacco products, in particular people who smoke,´and who are experiencing high levels of hemoglobin, will be advised to quit the habit by medical professionals.

    Q: Why are hemoglobin levels lower in females than in males?
    A: Menstruation is the key reason why hemoglobin levels are, on average, lower in females than in males. Menstruation leads to loss of iron, which in turn contributes to lowering the levels of hemoglobin in the blood. This is why hemoglobin levels in pre-menstruation and post-menopausal women are generally similar to those of men.

    Q: Why do infants have high hemoglobin levels?
    A: Newborn babies typically have higher hemoglobin levels than older children and adults. The developing body of a baby consumes an elevated amount of oxygen, roughly three times that of adults based on weight, which in turn increases the need for hemoglobin. A hemoglobin count of 15 gm/dL is considered optimum for newborn babies.

    Q: What is hemoglobin A1c?
    A: Hemoglobin A1c, or HbA1c, refers to glycated hemoglobin. It is produced when red blood cells join with glucose in the blood. Measuring HbA1c gives doctors an idea of a person’s overall glucose levels over a period of weeks or months. This measurement is important for people with diabetes, as high A1c levels may indicate a higher chance of developing diabetes-related complications.

    90,000 Increased hemoglobin during pregnancy – Family Medical Center “Leib Medic”

    From the metro Nakhimovsky prospect (5 minutes walk)

    From the metro Nakhimovskiy Prospekt exit to Azovskaya Street, then after 250-300 meters turn left onto Sivashskaya Street, then after 40-50 meters turn right into the courtyard.

    From the children’s clinic and maternity hospital in Zyuzino (10 minutes walk)

    From the children’s clinic and the maternity hospital in Zyuzino, you need to go to Azovskaya street, then turn to Bolotnikovskaya street and, before reaching the narcological clinical hospital N17, turn left into the courtyard.

    From metro Nagornaya (15 minutes)

    From the Nagornaya metro station you can reach our medical center in 15 minutes, having traveled 1 metro stop.

    From Varshavskaya metro station (19 minutes walk)

    From the Varshavskaya metro station, it is convenient to take trolleybuses 52 and 8 from the stop “Bolotnikovskaya ulitsa, 1” to the stop Moskvoretsky Rynok, then 550 meters on foot

    From metro Kakhovskaya (19 minutes walk)

    From the Kakhovskaya metro station, go to Chongarskiy Boulevard, follow Azovskaya Street, turn right onto Bolotnikovskaya Street, then after 40-50 meters (behind house number 20, turn to the left into the courtyard)

    From the metro Chertanovskaya district Chertanovo (20 minutes)

    From Chertanovo district to our medical center can be reached from Metro Chertanovskaya in 20 minutes or on foot in 35-40 minutes.

    From metro Profsoyuznaya (25 minutes)

    Exit from the Profsoyuznaya metro station to Profsoyuznaya street. Further from Nakhimovskiy Prospekt, from the Metro Profsoyuznaya stop, drive 7 stops to the Metro Nakhimovskiy Prospekt stop. Further along Azovskaya street 7 minutes on foot.

    From Kaluzhskaya metro station (30 minutes)

    From the Kaluzhskaya metro station, you can take 72 trolleybus in 30 minutes. Exit from the metro to Profsoyuznaya street, from the Kaluzhskaya metro stop proceed to the Chongarskiy boulevard stop, then 7 minutes walk along Simferopol boulevard

    From the prefecture of the SOUTH-WEST (YUZAO) district (30 minutes on foot)

    From Sevastopolsky Prospect, turn onto Bolotnikovskaya Street, not reaching the narcological clinical hospital N17 100 meters, turn left into the courtyard.

    From the metro station Novye Cheryomushki (40 minutes)

    Exit from the Novye Cheryomushki metro station on the street. Gribaldi, then at the stop on Profsoyuznaya Street “Metro Novye Cheryomushki” by trolleybus N60 proceed to the stop Chongarsky Boulevard, then 7 minutes walk along Simferopol Boulevard

    90,000 What a hemoglobin blood test will tell you about

    Hemoglobin analysis is the most important study that is prescribed by medical specialists of various profiles from therapist to surgeon.Its main purpose is to collect valuable information about the level of a substance in the blood. The supply of oxygen to the body and the efficiency of transporting carbon dioxide to the output directly depend on the amount of hemoglobin.

    For more information about blood tests, see our article Hematological tests: norms and interpretation of results “.

    What is the role of hemoglobin in the body

    Hemoglobin is a physiological protein compound, a dye found in red blood cells.The molecules of hemo-protein contain iron atoms that bind oxygen, are responsible for cholesterol and oxygen metabolism, and participate in the hematopoietic process. A healthy body contains about 4 grams of iron. In the spleen, brain and liver – 1.5 g, in hemoglobin – 2.5 g.

    Based on the results of a hemoglobin blood test, the attending physician may

    • Establish the cause of weakness, rapid fatigue, decreased metabolic rate;
    • to evaluate the quality of oxygen supply to cells;
    • determine the level of acid-base balance – pH;
    • Recognize signs of developing anemia.

    The well-being of a person is negatively affected by both an increased content of iron-containing hemo-protein, and a reduced one. With a deficiency of hemoglobin in the blood, metabolic processes slow down, health worsens, and a whole bunch of ailments develops. An excess of the norm in the hemoglobin test may indicate the development of cardiovascular diseases or the presence of serious pathologies in the body.

    While all indicators are within the normal range, a person feels vigorous and full of energy.The resource of hemo-protein is enough to deliver oxygen to each cell and remove carbon dioxide through the lungs, preventing acidification of the body.

    When to take a hemoglobin test

    In modern medical practice, a blood test for hemoglobin is considered basic. The study is prescribed when pregnant women are registered, to clarify the diagnosis if anemia is suspected or the development of other pathologies. Life in a deteriorating environment, constant mental and physical overload requires careful attention to your health.Chronic fatigue, frequent depression, loss of interest in life is a serious reason for visiting a doctor and getting a referral for a blood test.

    Indications for prescribing a hemoglobin test are:

    • frequent headaches;
    • dry mouth;
    • lethargy, drowsiness, or excruciating insomnia;
    • blanching of the skin, bruises that do not disappear for a long time;
    • Great thirst and increased urge to urinate;
    • deterioration of vision and memory;
    • Poor healing of cuts and wounds;
    • Instability of the psychoemotional state.

    Clarification of the level of hemo-protein in the blood is especially important for pregnant women carrying a child, parents planning to replenish their families with persistent hyperglycemia.

    The blood test for hemoglobin itself does not eliminate the problem, but it can push for dramatic changes in lifestyle. Quitting bad habits, balanced nutrition and good rest can protect you from irreversible changes in the endocrine system. To improve the quality of life, to calmly meet each new day, it is enough to periodically allocate a few minutes to submit the biomaterial for research.

    Online consultation of Physician-therapist Natalia Anatolyevna Isaeva

    Online consultation

    As part of the consultation, you will be able to voice your problem, the doctor will clarify the situation, decipher the analyzes, answer your questions and give the necessary recommendations.

    How a blood test for hemoglobin is taken

    To donate blood, special preparation is not needed, but there are rules that should be followed.Getting the most reliable result depends on them:

    • hemoglobin test is taken in the morning on an empty stomach;
    • the last meal is carried out 10-12 hours before blood sampling;
    • on the eve of going to the laboratory, it is recommended to avoid heavy physical labor, intensive training, stressful situations;
    • in 24 hours it is necessary to exclude fatty foods and alcohol from the diet, which distort the data.

    For the procedure, venous or capillary blood (from a finger) is taken.For prevention purposes, it is enough to undergo a study for the level of hemo-protein 1 time in 2-3 years.

    Norms and deviations of hemoglobin as a result of analysis

    The norm of hemoglobin in the blood is a guarantee of the well-being of adults and children. The indicator for each person up to a certain age is approximately at the same level. In 2-week-old babies, it is 135-200 g / l, at 1 year old – 100-140, and at 12 years old already 114-145 g / l. The concentration of hemo-protein in the blood of strong healthy children is always higher.

    The norm for men and women is different. For a strong half of humanity, the hemoglobin analysis indicator is 130-160 g / l, for girls and women from 18 years old – 120-155. During the period of menstruation, it can drop to a level of 100 g / l. After 45 years, the content of hemo-protein in both sexes may change upward.

    An increased level of hemoglobin, recorded as a result of the analysis, in some cases indicates the presence of oncological problems, cardiac and intestinal pathologies.

    Low rates are often associated with malnutrition, low carbohydrate and poor diets, latent blood loss, and blood disease. It is observed in people with diabetes mellitus, pancreatic tumors, and occurs in pregnant women.

    Important! Whatever the results of a blood test for hemoglobin, it is categorically not recommended to diagnose and self-medicate on your own. An experienced specialist of the Health of the Nation medical center will conduct a thorough examination, determine the exact cause of the ailment, and prescribe competent treatment.

    Health is the main wealth that nature has endowed man with. You need to trust professionals to take care of it.

    90,000 how to increase low hemoglobin, symptoms and treatment of anemia – clinic “Dobrobut”

    Anemia: causes and consequences of low hemoglobin

    Anemia is a blood disease that can be caused by a lack of intake of certain trace elements.The most common type of this pathology is iron deficiency anemia, which is associated with a lack of iron in the body. According to statistics, women are more likely to suffer from this disease, which is associated with pregnancy, breastfeeding and menstruation. Patients with anemia are interested in how to increase hemoglobin in the blood – this issue will be discussed in this article.

    Causes of iron deficiency anemia

    What does it mean if hemoglobin is below normal? This may be the result of insufficient intake of iron or violations of the mechanism for using this trace element.Iron deficiency anemia can be caused by:

    • Insufficient intake of iron from food in the body
    • the body has an increased need for iron
    • violation of the processes of absorption of iron
    • great blood loss
    • long-term use of certain medications
    • iron deficiency of a congenital nature (low hemoglobin is detected in a newborn child)
    • alcohol addiction.

    The causes and consequences of low hemoglobin are considered by doctors at the same time, because these concepts are interrelated. For example, a large blood loss can lead to anemic coma – a pathological condition that requires emergency medical care, and an insufficient intake of iron from food can provoke a delay in growth and development.

    Degrees of anemia and signs of the disease

    The disease in question can proceed in varying degrees of severity, each will correspond to a certain level of hemoglobin in the blood:

    • light degree – 90 g / l and above
    • moderate severity – the hemoglobin level dropped below 90 g / l, but did not overstep the border of 70 g / l
    • severe degree – hemoglobin indicators are less than 70 g / l.

    The degrees of anemia have distinctive features. For example, with a mild degree of illness, a person does not feel any changes in the body at all, and when the hemoglobin level drops below, then the following will be noted:

    • dyspnea on small physical exertion
    • muscle weakness
    • Constant feeling of fatigue
    • dull hair, brittle / splitting nails
    • frequent infectious diseases.

    Signs of anemia in women during pregnancy – pallor of the skin, cold upper limbs, light dizziness, increased drowsiness, muscle weakness.

    Symptoms and treatment of anemia are closely related, because doctors will first of all increase the level of hemoglobin, and in parallel with this, they will conduct symptomatic therapy that will help restore the general well-being of the patient.

    How anemia is treated

    Many people know that there are foods that increase hemoglobin – they should be the basis for compiling a menu for a person diagnosed with iron deficiency anemia.These “medicinal” products include:

    • cottage cheese and cow’s milk
    • chicken, beef and pork liver
    • rose hips
    • prunes
    • seaweed
    • black currant
    • rabbit meat
    • egg yolk
    • almonds
    • buckwheat
    • apples.

    It is very important to make a rational menu, and for this you just need to know which foods increase hemoglobin.But doctors emphasize the importance of good nutrition, it is impossible to prioritize meals from the above products – otherwise, an excess of iron in the body may occur, which is also not the norm and leads to serious complications.

    In some cases, doctors are faced with the problem of severe anemia, and then they are faced with the question of how to quickly raise hemoglobin – food will do it slowly, smoothly and confidently. If it is necessary to provide quick help to a person with iron deficiency anemia, then iron preparations are prescribed to him – with a reduced hemoglobin, they will have a quick effect.As a rule, the following drugs are given priority:

    • Hemofer prolongatum
    • Ferro-foil
    • Sorbifer Durules
    • Ferrum Lek.

    Often, patients with anemia are prescribed ascorbic acid, fructose – these medicines improve the absorption of iron.

    Blood transfusion with low hemoglobin is carried out only if medication therapy and adherence to the dietary regimen do not give positive results.Typically, indications for such a procedure are severe blood loss (there is simply no time for a slow recovery of the hemoglobin level), a steady decrease in blood pressure, upcoming childbirth / surgery in a person diagnosed with anemia.

    Why is low hemoglobin dangerous? In the absence of treatment for anemia, disturbances in the work of all organs and systems occur, brain tissue can be affected, heart and liver failure develops – conditions that in most cases lead to disability or death.

    All information about the prevention and diagnosis of anemia, the principles of treatment and the rapid increase in hemoglobin levels can be obtained on our website https://www.dobrobut.com/.

    Related Services:
    Cardiology Check-up
    Internal Medicine

    Iron in serum

    Iron is one of the most important trace elements in the body. It is part of the hemoglobin of erythrocytes and thus participates in the transfer of oxygen.

    Synonyms Russian

    Serum iron, iron ions.

    Synonyms English

    Serum Iron, Serum Fe, Iron, Fe.

    Research method

    Colorimetric photometric method.


    Mcmol / L (micromole per liter).

    What kind of biomaterial can be used for research?

    Venous, capillary blood.

    How to properly prepare for the study?

    • Do not eat within 12 hours prior to examination.
    • Eliminate physical and emotional stress and do not smoke for 30 minutes before donating blood.

    General information about the study

    Iron is a trace element that is absorbed from food and then transported through the body by transferrin, a special protein formed in the liver. Iron is essential for the formation of red blood cells.It is the most important component of hemoglobin, a protein that fills red blood cells, which allows them to carry oxygen from the lungs to organs and tissues. Iron is also part of the muscle protein myoglobin and some enzymes.

    Normally, the body contains 4-5 g of iron. About 70% of this amount is iron, “built-in” in the hemoglobin of erythrocytes, the rest is mainly stored in tissues in the form of ferritin and hemosiderin. When iron begins to be insufficient, for example in the case of reduced intake of it with food or frequent bleeding, and its level in the blood decreases, the body uses iron from the reserve.With prolonged shortages, iron stores are depleted, which can lead to anemia. On the other hand, if too much iron is supplied, it can cause excessive accumulation and damage to the liver, heart and pancreas.

    In the early stages, iron deficiency may be asymptomatic. If a person is otherwise healthy, then signs of the disease appear only when hemoglobin drops below 100 g / l. Chronic weakness, dizziness, and headaches are characteristic of anemia.

    In severe iron deficiency anemia, a person may complain of shortness of breath, chest pain, severe headaches, weakness in the legs.Children may have learning difficulties. In addition to the main ones, there are several more signs characteristic of iron deficiency: a desire to eat unusual foods (chalk, clay), a burning sensation of the tip of the tongue, seizures (cracks in the corners of the mouth).

    Symptoms of excess iron: joint pain, weakness, fatigue, abdominal pain, decreased sex drive, heart rhythm disturbances.

    About 3-4 mg of iron (0.1% of the total) circulates in the blood “in conjunction” with the protein transferrin.It is his level that is measured in this analysis.

    The amount of serum iron can vary significantly on different days and even within one day (maximum in the morning hours). Therefore, the measurement of serum iron levels is almost always combined with other tests, such as a test for total serum iron binding capacity (TIBC), ferritin, transferrin. Using the TIBC and transferrin values, the percentage of transferrin saturation with iron can be calculated, which indicates how much iron is transported by the blood.

    The use of various analyzes reflecting the exchange of iron in the body provides more complete and reliable information about iron deficiency or iron overload in the body than an isolated measurement of serum iron.

    What is the research used for?

    • To calculate the percentage of transferrin saturation with iron, that is, to determine exactly how much iron is carried by the blood.
    • To assess the body’s iron stores.
    • To determine if anemia is due to iron deficiency or other causes, such as a chronic illness or a lack of vitamin B 12 .
    • For the diagnosis of iron poisoning or hereditary hemochromatosis – a disease associated with increased absorption and accumulation of iron.

    When is the study scheduled?

    • If any abnormalities are detected as a result of a general blood test, a test for hemoglobin, hematocrit, erythrocytes.
    • If you suspect iron deficiency or iron overload (hemochromatosis).
    • If you suspect poisoning with tablets containing iron.
    • When monitoring the effectiveness of the treatment of anemias and conditions accompanied by an overload of the body with iron.

    What do the results mean?

    Reference values ​​

    Age, sex

    Reference values ​​


    5.2 – 22.7 μmol / l


    5.7 – 20 μmol / l

    1 – 12 months


    4.5 – 22.6 μmol / l


    4.8 – 19.5 μmol / L

    1 – 4 years


    4.5 – 18.1 μmol / l


    5.2 – 16.3 μmol / L

    4 – 7 years


    5 – 16.7 μmol / l


    4.5 – 20.6 μmol / l

    7 – 10 years


    5.4 – 18.6 μmol / l


    4.8 – 17.2 μmol / L

    10 – 13 years


    5.7 – 18.6 μmol / l


    5 – 20 μmol / l

    13 – 16 years


    5.4 – 19.5 μmol / l


    4.7 – 19.7 μmol / l

    16 – 18 years old


    5.9 – 18.3 μmol / L


    4.8 – 24.7 μmol / L

    > 18 years old


    6.6 – 26 μmol / l


    11 – 28 μmol / l

    Interpretation of the results is usually made taking into account other indicators that assess iron metabolism.

    Reasons for a decrease in serum iron levels

    • Most often, iron deficiency anemia. It is usually caused by chronic blood loss or insufficient intake of meat products.
    • Chronic diseases such as systemic lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis, tuberculosis, bacterial endocarditis, Crohn’s disease, etc.
    • Third trimester of pregnancy – a decrease in iron in this case is normal due to an increase in the need for it.
    • Impaired absorption of iron in various intestinal diseases, as well as after removal of the stomach.
    • Hemolytic anemias – associated with the destruction of red blood cells.
    • Early stage of treatment B 12 – deficiency anemia.
    • Myocardial infarction.

    Causes of increased serum iron levels

    • Thalassemia is a hereditary disease in which the structure of hemoglobin is changed.
    • B 12 – deficiency anemia.
    • Hereditary hemochromatosis. In this disease, an increased amount of iron is absorbed from food, which is deposited in various organs, causing them to be damaged.
    • Multiple blood transfusions, intramuscular iron administration, inadequate administration of iron preparations.
    • Acute iron poisoning (in children).
    • Acute hepatitis.
    • Glomerulonephritis – inflammation of the kidney tissue.

    What can influence the result?

    • Taking even one tablet containing iron can temporarily increase the concentration of iron significantly.
    • Alcohol, estrogens, oral contraceptives increase iron levels. Certain antibiotics, high doses of aspirin, metformin (a drug used to treat diabetes mellitus), and testosterone lower it.
    • Iron levels rise before menstruation and decrease during menstruation.
    • Certain dietary supplements (especially those containing iron or tannin acid) can affect iron levels.
    • Vitamin B supplementation 12 48 hours before the test may increase the result.
    • Chronic sleep deprivation and severe stress reduce iron levels.
    • The maximum level of iron is observed in the morning, it is lower in the afternoon, and is minimal in the evening.

    Download an example of the result

    Important notes

    The body normally loses iron due to desquamation of skin cells, as well as with feces and sweat. To replenish these losses, at least 1 mg of iron is required daily from food, for women during menstruation – twice as much.A normal balanced diet provides 10-15 mg of iron per day, about 10% of this amount is absorbed. The main sources of iron in food are meat, fish, herbs and cereals.

    Recommended also

    Who orders the study?

    General practitioner, therapist, hematologist, gastroenterologist, rheumatologist, nephrologist, surgeon.

    Treatment of secondary iron overload syndrome St. Petersburg

    Early detection and treatment of secondary iron overload syndrome in patients with chronic liver disease prevents the progression of liver disease to cirrhotic stage and significantly reduces the risk of liver cancer.We successfully treat patients with obesity and non-alcoholic fatty hepatosis (non-alcoholic fatty liver disease) and chronic hepatitis C in combination with secondary iron overload syndrome.

    The center’s gastroenterologists have created an author’s method for identifying and treating secondary overload syndrome in patients with chronic liver diseases. Our gastroenterologists share their experience in scientific and practical seminars and in scientific articles.

    Treatments for secondary iron overload syndrome in chronic liver disease include :

    • treatment of the underlying disease;
    • strict refusal to alcohol;
    • adherence to a diet with limited iron content to 8-10 mg / day.;
    • therapeutic phlebotomy in the absence of contraindications;
    • use of antioxidants.

    Specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of secondary iron overload syndrome in patients with chronic diseases in our center, Candidate of Medical Sciences, Associate Professor of the Department of Hospital Therapy, St. Academician I.P. Pavlova, hepatologist Mekhtieva Olga Alexandrovna .

    Once diagnosed with iron overload syndrome, treatment options are fairly straightforward for most people.However, without treatment for this condition, life-threatening damage to organs and tissues, especially the liver, can develop. Thus, it is important to detect iron overload before organ and tissue damage due to iron accumulation occurs.

    There are a number of laboratory tests that are used to detect iron overload. These are, first of all, the level of ferritin and the percentage of saturation of transferrin with iron in the blood serum. All patients with elevated values ​​of these indicators should undergo genetic testing to exclude the primary syndrome of iron overload – hereditary hemochromatosis.All tests for the diagnosis of iron overload syndrome can be taken at our center.

    As a result of treatment, the patient will receive
    1. No symptoms and improved quality of life.
    2. Prevention of complications and improvement of well-being.
    3. Normalization of laboratory analysis indicators.
    4. Elimination of risk factors for the development of dangerous diseases.
    Tips and tricks

    In iron overload syndrome, a diet with limited iron will help to reduce the amount of excess iron in the liver .

    Diet with iron overload

    Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) in children and adolescents

    Three phases of treatment

    ALL treatment includes 3 phases and lasts from 2 to 3 years. The main treatment for ALL is chemotherapy. Chemotherapy uses powerful drugs to stop the growth of tumor cells by destroying them or preventing them from dividing. Children are most often prescribed a combination of different drugs. These drugs can be injected into the bloodstream (intravenously), taken by mouth (orally), or injected directly into the cerebrospinal fluid (intrathecally).

    The choice of chemotherapy method and drugs depends on the child’s risk group. Children with high-risk leukemia usually receive more anticancer drugs and / or higher doses than children with low-risk ALL.

    1. Induction

    The goal of induction therapy is to destroy blast cells in the blood and bone marrow and bring the disease into remission. This phase usually lasts 4-6 weeks. At the same time, central nervous system (CNS) conserving therapy (also called prophylactic CNS therapy) may be given to destroy the blast cells remaining in the cerebrospinal fluid.In this case, drugs are injected into the fluid-filled space between the thin layers of tissue covering the spinal cord (intrathecal).

    A combination of chemotherapy drugs is used for treatment. These drugs may include vincristine, steroids, and pegaspargase or asparaginase Erwinia , sometimes with an anthracycline drug such as doxorubicin or daunorubicin. Some protocols use a treatment regimen during induction therapy that includes cyclophosphamide, cytarabine, and 6-mercaptopurine.

    2. Consolidation / intensification phase

    The goal of consolidation / intensification therapy is to kill any remaining cells capable of growth and causing recurrence of leukemia. This phase usually lasts 8-16 weeks.

    The patient is prescribed various drugs such as cyclophosphamide, cytarabine and or 6-mercaptopurine (6-MP). Methotrexate may also be given with or without leucovorin-protected therapy.

    3. Stabilization / continuation phase

    The goal of maintenance therapy, the last and longest phase, is to kill any tumor cells that might survive the first 2 phases.The stabilization phase can last 2 or 3 years.

    This phase may include the use of drugs such as methotrexate, vincristine, steroids, 6-mercaptopurine (6-MP). Anthracycline drugs, cyclophosphamide, and cytarabine may be given to high-risk patients.

    Anemia – Official website of the Federal State Budgetary Healthcare Institution KB No. 85 FMBA of Russia

    Anemia is a condition of the human body characterized by a low concentration of hemoglobin per unit volume of blood, and, as a rule, correlates with a simultaneous decrease in the number of red blood cells.

    Causes of anemia

    The causes of anemia are very diverse, in accordance with this there are many of its types. Anemia can be caused by a lack of substances necessary for the production of hemoglobin, impaired maturation of red blood cells in the bone marrow, acute massive or prolonged blood loss, destruction of red blood cells under the influence of poisons or other unfavorable factors, hereditary diseases and other, more rare, reasons.

    Symptoms of anemia

    The main signs of any anemia are pallor of the skin and lips, weakness, fatigue.Due to poor absorption of oxygen by the blood, the pulse quickens, it rises above 90 beats per minute. In addition, there may be additional symptoms depending on the cause of the anemia.

    In iron deficiency anemia, brittle nails and hair are common. With B12-deficiency anemia, a smooth crimson tongue, tingling and numbness in the fingers, unsteadiness when walking. In hemolytic anemia, jaundice is common. If you suspect anemia, you should definitely consult a doctor and take blood tests.

    Diagnosis of anemia

    Diagnosis of anemia is carried out by a doctor on the basis of a general blood test, as well as additional tests depending on the cause. In addition to low hemoglobin, the number of red blood cells, their size and shape, and the presence of immature blood cells are important.

    For iron deficiency anemia, blood tests for iron are required. These include serum iron, ferritin, serum total iron binding capacity (TIBC), and transferrin.For all these indicators, the doctor can establish not only the type of anemia, but also its latent form even before the onset of symptoms.

    If anemia is caused by hereditary diseases or poisoning, additional tests may be required.

    Treatment of anemia

    Iron is not necessary for all types of anemia, therefore, before taking any medications, it is necessary to establish its exact cause and type. Mild forms of anemia are treated at home as prescribed by a doctor; in a serious condition of the patient, hospitalization may be required.

    If anemia has arisen due to a lack of iron in food, it is required to take it in the form of tablets or injections (in advanced cases). With prolonged blood loss, iron intake is also required, but at the same time the cause should be treated – the elimination of the source of bleeding.

    In case of a lack of vitamin B12, it is required to restore its amount in the body. Since the absorption of vitamin B12 in the intestines is very often impaired in people with anemia, it is prescribed in the form of injections. In parallel with vitamin B12, you may need to take folic acid as directed by your doctor.

    Other types of anemia are treated in strict accordance with the cause. For some hereditary diseases, specific treatment has not yet been invented, such patients, as well as all patients with severe anemia, may require blood transfusions.

    Diabetes mellitus is a chronic disease characterized by a constant increase in blood glucose levels.

    It manifests itself with the following symptoms:

    • thirst,
    • frequent urination,
    • weight loss.


    To detect diabetes mellitus, studies are carried out to determine the level of glucose in the blood (at the moment / for several weeks / for several months), to assess the body’s response to an increase in glucose levels, to identify the level of insulin produced by the body:

    • Plasma glucose,
    • glucose tolerance test,
    • glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c),
    • fructosamine,
    • general urinalysis,
    • insulin,
    • C-peptide in daily urine, C-peptide in serum.

    To determine the type of diabetes mellitus:

    • determination of antibodies to insulin,
    • Determination of antibodies to pancreatic islet cells.

    The Genetic Risk of Hyperglycemia Study can be performed to assess the susceptibility to diabetes.

    Consultations and examinations with a cardiologist, ophthalmologist, neuropathologist are also required for the timely detection of complications of the disease.


    Diabetes mellitus of both types is currently an incurable disease.To prevent complications and maintain a normal lifestyle, you need:

    • Continuous treatment with insulin preparations – for patients with type 1 diabetes mellitus,
    • Strict Blood Glucose Monitoring,
    • Quitting high glucose foods (sugar and sugar-containing foods) and controlling the amount of carbohydrates consumed,
    • physical activity,
    • weight normalization, smoking cessation, alcohol.