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elevated HGB & HCT

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Old 07-21-2006, 04:27 AM   #1
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pelchatk HB User
elevated HGB & HCT

I have not been feeling well lately & I have been having very odd symptoms.
I have severe joint/bone pain, blurred vision, lightheaded, fatige, my scalp turns bright red for no reason (lasts for a few hours to a few days), I had a bruise on my leg where I know I didn't get hurt and it didn't hurt to touch it. I went to a Rhuemy, he did blood work & it came back with elevated HGB 16.0 (range 11.7-14.5), elevated HCT 46.3 (range 36.0-46.0), and elevated Bili 2.1 (range 0.3-1.6) He said every thing looked fine and thought I have Fibromyalgia. I did some reading on this and it seems like they should rule everything out 1st before they come up with Fibro. Anyway, does any of sound familiar to any of you, should I be concerned with the blood results?

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Old 07-22-2006, 01:52 AM   #2
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pob HB User
Re: elevated HGB & HCT

Hi Pelchatk,

This sounds like me a few months ago except your symptoms sound worse. I went ot my GP back in March because of ongoing joint pain which was still bearable but gradually getting worse. He did lots of blood tests including a rheumatoid factor which came back negative. I would presume your rheumy did this too. However, like you, some of my iron levels were a bit elevated. My HGB was 15.6, can't remember what the HCT was. MY GP had also run a transferrin saturation test which, if elevated can indicate hemochromatosis, an iron overload condition which can cause joint pain as well as liver and other problems. As it turned out mine was 47% which is just at the higher end of the normal range but my GP considered it too high for a woman my age (36). He would have expected it to be in the 30s. Because everything was just at the higher end of normal we decided to re-test in 3 months. He did indicate that if my HGB or TS went any higher at all that he would refer me to a haematologist. Well in those 3 months I read and researched everything about blood and high iron levels. One thing I found out is that they can be temporarily elevated by dehydration (and I hardly drank any water at all), smoking (though I don't smoke) or even something as simple as being pre- menstrual. (and my test was done the day before my period). Another thing I learned was that breakfast cereals are laden with iron and I was eating a lot (at least 2 bowls a day). So I cut down on these, changed my diet (I didn't eat much red meat anyway so that didn't really change) and started getting some exercise. I made sure I went for my next test mid- cycle and I wasn't dehydrated. Lo and behold the retest results 3 months later were all well within the normal range. My GP said that that the fact it did rise so high is worth keeping an eye on (particularly when I come to menopause age), but is happy to monitor it on a yearly basis now.

I'm not a health professional but I would strongly advise you to get your doc to test your transferrin saturation and ferritin. These wouldn't have been part of a regular blood screen and wouldn't have been done by a rheumy. Anything over 50% TS or 200 (Ferritin) if you are a woman warrants further investigation.

Now none of this explained my joint pain! However i have found it has decreased as I have lost some weight and been getting regular exercise. My father was diagnosed with fibro some years ago and I presume that's what I have... I do feel a lot better now though and don't particularly want to pursue it just now.

Oh.... my bilirubin was 2.8 (at the retest) but my GP said that wasn't anything to worry about. It can become falsely elevated by something as simple as not actually being processed until the day after the sample is taken so unless it's really high or other bloods are elevated too he wouldn't worry about it.

I would ask for a ferritin and TS test if I were you if only to rule them out. If it turns out negative perhaps something as simple as becoming a blood donor would help keep those levels down a bit.

I hope this helps.

Old 07-25-2006, 04:36 AM   #3
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pelchatk HB User
Re: elevated HGB & HCT

Thanks, I went back this last friday for a follow up appointment and he sent me for more blood work & I go tomorrow for a bone scan. He now feels it may be SLE so he is checking my ANA. I believe he did all the test you mentioned before. I will have to check with him when I go back next week.
Thank you again for your help.

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Old 08-01-2006, 09:54 AM   #4
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: spring hill, fl. usa
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catcando HB User
Cool Re: elevated HGB & HCT

hi, I'm new to this group.. but your symtoms sound like mine. I have ablood diorder called hemochromatosis. big word bad thing and very hard for docs. to diag. toooo much iron in body, may not be your problem. but if you have not had your ferritin serum tested it's worth a shot. my numbers were
on the high side for my age and a doc never found it. I put myself in a fibro study and flunked out because of my numbers, they told me to go tell my doctor to check my iron. he was not happy, he said all it looked like was i smoked to much(never smoked in my life) and then he said i was dehydrated, not...i drink 3 liters of water aday.. most doctors do not know what to look for , this genetic disorder...very tired, numbers out of wack sometime..not always. but your iron will tell them. this destroys all joints and tissue in your body if your loaded with iron...please get iron tested if you have not,most doc. do not check iron unless your pale. good luck . if you punch in iron overload the word will come right up. good luck ,

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