CausesBy Mayo Clinic staff
High hemoglobin count may occur because:
- Your red blood cell production increases to compensate for chronically low blood oxygen levels due to poor heart or lung function.
- You have a bone marrow dysfunction that results in increased production of red blood cells.
- Your red blood cell production increases to compensate for a limited oxygen supply in higher altitudes.
- You smoke.
- 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 if you have chronic kidney disease. However, EPO doping — getting injections to enhance athletic performance — can cause a high hemoglobin count.
Specific disorders or other factors that may cause high hemoglobin count include:
Causes shown here are commonly associated with this symptom. Work with your doctor or other health care professional for an accurate diagnosis.
- Fischbach FT, et al. A Manual of Laboratory and Diagnostic Tests. 8th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2009:96.
- Hemoglobin. Mayo Medical Laboratories. http://www.mayomedicallaboratories.com/test-catalog/print/9109. Accessed Dec. 17, 2012.
- Goroll AH, et al. Primary Care Medicine: Office Evaluation and Management of the Adult Patient. 6th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2009. http://gateway.ovid.com/ovidweb.cgi?T=JS&MODE=ovid&PAGE=main&D=baov&PCOSTART=goroll. Accessed Dec. 18, 2012.