Hemoglobin Levels Topic Guide
Hemoglobin (Levels): Hemoglobin is the protein molecule in red blood cells that carries oxygen from the lungs, to the body 's tissues, and returns carbon monoxide from the tissues back to the lungs. Hemoglobin values are related to a persons age and sex. Low hemoglobin levels in the blood is referred to as anemia. High hemoglobin levels in the blood are caused by cancer, lung diseases, bone marrow disorders, blood doping, living at a high altitude, and inappropriate use of the drug Epogen. Treatment of a high or low hemoglobin level depends on the cause.
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Polycythemia Polycythemia is a condition in which there is an increased number of red blood cells in the blood. There are two types of polycythemia; 1) primary polycythemia and 2) secondary polycythemia. The two main conditions of primary polycythemia are polycythemia vera (PV) and primary familial and congenital polycythemia (PFCP). Causes of secondary polycythemia include conditions as a result of chronic hypoxia such as COPD, emphysema, chronic bronchitis, pulmonary hypertension, congestive heart failure, obstructive sleep apnea, and certain cancers. Examples of symptoms of polycythemia include easy bruising or bleeding, blood clot formation, headache, itching, and fatigue. Treatment for polycythemia depends on the cause. Untreated polycythemia generally has a poor outcome for the patient.