Q:

What is the normal hemoglobin and hematocrit range?

A:

Normal hemoglobin for men is 13.5 to 17.5 grams per deciliter (g/dl), according to Mayo Clinic. For women, the normal range is 12.0 to 15.5g/dl. Normal hematocrit for men is 38.8 to 50 percent. For women, the normal range is 34.9 to 44.5 percent. These normal values may change slightly according to the laboratory that analyzes the blood.

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Hemoglobin is protein that fills the red blood cells and carries oxygen throughout the body. It also gives the blood its red color, states WebMD. When hemoglobin is low, anemia results. Anemia can cause weakness, dizziness, shortness of breath, pallor and irregular heartbeat. Initially, symptoms can be so mild that they're unnoticed. As anemia worsens, the symptoms intensify, states The American Society of Hematology.

Hematocrit measures the number of red blood cells in the blood by volume. Low hematocrit is another indicator of anemia, according to eMedicineHealth.com. Bleeding, nutritional deficiencies, fluid overload, destruction of red blood cells and decreased production of red blood cells can cause low hematocrit. Genetic conditions, dehydration, low oxygen availability and over-production of red blood cells can cause elevated hematocrit, states eMedicineHealth.com.

Hemoglobin and hematocrit are commonly tested when a physician orders a complete blood count, or CBC. This laboratory test is done to review a patient's overall health, diagnose medical conditions and monitor a course of treatment, notes Mayo Clinic.

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