Hemoglobin is the main component of red blood cells.
Hemoglobin also carries carbon dioxide away from the cells to the lungs, which is then exhaled from the body. Carbon dioxide is a colorless and odorless gas that is present in small amounts in the air and is produced as a result of metabolism in the body. Metabolism is the chemical actions in cells that release energy from nutrients or use energy to create other substances.
Measured in grams per deciliter (g/dL), normal ranges for hemoglobin counts differ depending on an individual’s age and sex. It’s important to note that hemoglobin counts of endurance athletes can be as much as 30% higher than that of the average adult, which is considered normal.
Like other blood values, slightly high or low levels of hemoglobin may be normal for some people. Still, if you are falling too far out of the normal range, your doctor will most likely order more comprehensive testing to determine the cause.
Elevated hemoglobin by itself is not considered a disorder, but rather a symptom of a medical condition. Therefore, treatment must target the underlying cause.
Normal Ranges for Hemoglobin in g/dL:
- Men: 14 to 18
- Women: 12 to 16
- Children to up 18 years of age: 11 to 13
- Critical Range: <5 or >20