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Causes Of High Hematocrit

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What does a high hematocrit mean?

Higher than normal hematocrit levels can be seen in people living at high altitudes and in chronic smokers. Dehydration produces a falsely high hematocrit that disappears when proper fluid balance is restored. Some other infrequent causes of elevated hematocrit are lung disease, certain tumors, a disorder of the bone marrow known as polycythemia rubra vera, and abuse of the drug erythropoietin (Epogen) by athletes for blood doping purposes.

Reference: http://www.medicinenet.com/hematocrit/article.htm#5whatdoes

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I also run high Hct (47.5) and Hgb (15.8). It could be caused by (take your pick):


postural psuedo-polycythemia (the opposite of postural pseudo-anemia)

decreased O2 in the brain causing the kidneys to be tricked into thinking you are at a high altitude and creating too many RBCs

decreased perfusion to the kidneys causing a triggering of EPO and creating too many red blood cells

I think it is actually a combination of all with me. The ONLY time my RBC, Hct and Hgb were within normal range was when I was clinically overhydrated from dDAVP.

Good luck with that one and let me know!

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Hey, Firewatcher, you sound like me. My hematrocrit usually runs 47.5, my hemoglobin 15.8. In January, both were low. Weird.

I have kidney problems (was in failure for six months last year), so that could be it. Thanks for the responses.


What is the cause of your kidney problems? My creatinine is steadily rising (currently 1.34) and my eGFR/Creatinine Clearance is dropping (47/78). I am supposed to see a Nephrologist to get this checked out. Were your kidney problems diagnosed and resolved?

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Hi, again,

In all honesty, my nephrologist never found the cause for the kidney problems. I think I go in and out of kidney issues due to my malnutrition, Addison's and dehydration issues that become severe at times. My kidneys are really responsive to all of this.

I hope you get some answsers soon for all that's going on with you.


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