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What causes high hemoglobin levels?

What does it mean if you have high hemoglobin levels? I am in my 30s and I don't have a doctor but I went to a contract lab and their report showed that my hemoglobin is high beyond the average. How should I interpret these findings? Is it dangerous?
A high hemoglobin level for a man would be above 18 g/dl and a woman 15 g/dl. If your hemoglobin is below those levels and above the average, then there is likely no problem. High hemoglobin levels can occur naturally if you live or have traveled recently to high altitudes where oxygen levels are low. The low oxygen stimulates your body to produce more red blood cells which have the hemoglobin. A rare disease called polycythemia vera can result in dangerously high hemoglobin levels. This disease is often treated with frequent phlebotomy (draining blood from the body. I suggest that you schedule an appointment with your primary care physician. He or she can re-draw your blood and determine what your hemoglobin level is now. Most likely if it is jut above the average, then you have nothing wrong with you. If it is abnormally high, then you may warrant testing for some of the possible causes. In addition, I encourage you to keep seeing the physician you find. Men and women have reasons to see a primary care physician at least yearly. Test for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or diabetes can be done at your age. Good luck.
This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.
If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under ZocDoc’s Terms of Service.

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