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Julia Kizhner
Julia Kizhner, Physician Assistant
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 1126
Experience:  7 years experience working in Primary Care as well as Gastroenterology, Sleep Medicine & Weight Loss
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Bloodwork shows hemoglobin is 16.2 and hematocrit is 47

Resolved Question:

My recent blood work shows my hemoglobin to be 16.2 and my hematocrit to be 47. I am a 51 year old female. I also have shortness of breath (not upon exertion, however) frequently, lately have trouble getting a deep breath. My cholesterol was very high also, when checked. I am in perimenopause. 5 or 6 years ago was told I have 1 gene for hemochromatosis, but ferritin levels were normal. Last check for this 1 yr ago, actually showed ferritin levels to be low. Gave blood once or twice. Not needed again. My primary just gave me an EKG, chest x-ray and venous doppler, all were normal. Also, sugar was ok. Are these numbers just high normal or do they necessitate blood-letting. Is something called polycythemia vera a possibility or also dehydration? I have been using some miralax occasionally. + Should I see a cardiologist or hemotoligist? What is my next step?

Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Health
Expert:  Julia Kizhner replied 5 years ago.

Hello and thank you for your question.

Your hemoglobin and hematocrit numbers are actually within normal ranges. They are on the upper end of normal but, nevertheless, they are normal.

At this point (in terms of your blood counts) would just be monitoring your numbers every 3 months and if hemoglobin goes above 17, to do further testing (hematology evaluation).

In terms of your shortness of breath...one of the possibilities for your shortness of breath is a condition called sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a condition in which you stop breathing while asleep (you don't realize it) and because there is chronic oxygen deprivation during sleep, you may be short of breath during the day.

My recommendation for further evaluation of shortness of breath would be to do stress test (although I do not feel that your shortness of breath is related to your heart since your shortness of breath is not exertional) as well as a test to rule out sleep apnea (called polysonography). Sleep apnea is a very under diagnosed and under treated condition. Some of the symptoms of sleep apnea would be daytime fatigue, snoring (usually bed partner complains about it), ability to fall asleep anytime/anywhere, shortness of breath.

I hope you find this information helpful. Please feel free to follow-up with any other questions you may have.

Best wishes and good luck.

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