Hemoglobin – Normal, High, Low

The reference range of hemoglobin is:

Conventional Units

Men: 14-17.5 g/dL

Women: 12.3-15.3 g/dL

SI Units

Men: 140-175 g/L

Women: 123-153 g/L

The hemoglobin numbers usually mirror the RBC result, provide added information.

A low value of hemoglobin is known as anemia and can indicate:

  • Acute or chronic bleeding
  • RBC destruction (e.g., hemolytic anemia, etc.)
  • Nutritional deficiency (e.g., iron deficiency, vitamin B12 or folate deficiency)
  • Bone marrow disorders or damage
  • Chronic inflammatory disease
  • Chronic kidney disease

A high value of hemoglobin is known as polycythemia and can indicate:

  • Dehydration
  • Lung (pulmonary) disease
  • Kidney or other tumor that produces excess erythropoietin
  • Smoking
  • Living at high altitude
  • Genetic causes (altered oxygen sensing, abnormality in hemoglobin oxygen release)
  • Polycythemia vera—a rare disease


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