Whats The Difference Between A Hematocrit And A Hemoglobin Test
A hematocrit is the percentage of red blood cells in your blood. Hemoglobin is part of your red blood cell. Hemoglobin helps your red blood cells carry oxygen throughout your body. Hemoglobin also gives your red blood cells their color. A hemoglobin test measures the amount of hemoglobin in your red blood cells.
How Do I Prepare For A Hemoglobin Test
A hemoglobin test doesnt require any special preparation. It only takes a few minutes. You can get tested in your providers office, a medical laboratory or another outpatient setting.
In some instances, a hemoglobin test occurs alongside other blood tests that will require you to fast for a specific time before the test. Follow your providers instructions so youre prepared.
When Is It Ordered
An RBC count is ordered as a part of the complete blood count , often as part of a routine physical or as part of a pre-surgical workup. A CBC may be ordered when you have signs and symptoms suggesting a disease that might affect red blood cell production. Some common signs and symptoms associated with anemia that generally lead to a healthcare practitioner ordering a CBC are:
from Henry’s Clinical Diagnosis and Management by Laboratory Methods. 22nd ed.McPherson R, Pincus M, eds. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders 2011.Note: Conventional Units are typically used for reporting results in U.S. labs SI Units are used to report lab results outside of the U.S.
Some causes of a low RBC count include:
Some causes of a high RBC count include:
- Dehydrationas the volume of fluid in the blood drops, the count of RBCs per volume of fluid artificially rises.
- Lung diseaseif someone is unable to breathe in and absorb sufficient oxygen, the body tries to compensate by producing more red blood cells.
- Congenital heart diseasewith this condition, the heart is not able to pump blood efficiently, resulting in a decreased amount of oxygen getting to tissues. The body tries to compensate by producing more red blood cells.
- Kidney tumor that produces excess erythropoietin
- Polycythemia veraa rare disease in which the body produces too many RBCs
Don’t Miss: Blood Sugar Monitor On Arm
How Can I Help My Child Live With Polycythemia Vera
Your child will be watched for changes in blood test results or signs and symptoms of complications. Your child should stay out of extreme heat, like hot baths. Heat may make some symptoms like itching and burning worse. And he or she should stay away from sports and activities that are likely to cause injuries. Injuries may increase the risk of bleeding.
Why It Is Done
A CBC may be done as part of a regular physical exam. There are many other reasons that a doctor may want this blood test, including to:
- Find the cause of symptoms such as fatigue, weakness, fever, bruising, or weight loss.
- Check for anemia.
- Diagnose diseases of the blood, such as leukemia.
- Check how the body is dealing with some types of drug or radiation treatment.
- Check how abnormal bleeding is affecting the blood cells and counts.
- Screen for high and low values before a surgery.
- See if there are too many or too few of certain types of cells. This may help find other conditions. For instance, too many eosinophils may be a sign of an allergy or asthma.
A blood count can give valuable information about the general state of your health.
You May Like: Diarrhea With Blood In Dogs
What Do Red Blood Cells Look Like
Red blood cells get their bright red color from a protein that allows them to carry oxygen from your lungs and deliver it to other tissues in your body .
Red blood cells are microscopic and have the shape of a flat disk or doughnut, which is round with an indentation in the center, but it isnt hollow. Red blood cells dont have a nucleus like white blood cells, allowing them to change shape and move throughout your body easier.
What Happens If Your Red Blood Cell Count Is High
Polycythemia occurs when an abnormally large number of RBCs are generated and discharged. This can result in thicker blood, reduced blood flow, and other issues such as headaches, dizziness, visual difficulties, and even excessive clotting or a heart attack. Polycythemia vera is the only true polycythemia disease state. Other conditions characterized by increased RBC levels include hereditary elliptocytosis , idiopathic polycythemia , and thalassemia.
The treatment for PV depends on how severe the case is. If left untreated, PV can lead to serious complications including stroke, heart attack, and even death. The goal of therapy is to reduce the risk of these complications while maintaining quality of life. Patients with PV may require medication or invasive procedures to control their RBC levels.
If you have PV, your doctor will perform several tests to determine whether you are at risk for complications and adjust your treatment accordingly. Your blood cells will be analyzed using blood samples drawn through a needle inserted into a vein. The results may indicate how much iron you have in your body, any defects in your RBCs that might cause them to break down too quickly, and how likely you are to get leukemia as you age.
Your doctor may also order various imaging tests to detect potential problems with your heart, lungs, brain, and other organs.
Also Check: Blood Clots In Teeth Gums
What Causes Hepatocellular Carcinoma
Cirrhosis of the liver is the most common cause of hepatocellular carcinoma. Increasingly, healthcare providers are seeing hepatocellular carcinoma cases in people who have non-alcoholic fatty liver disease . There are other medical conditions and activities that increase your risk of developing hepatocellular carcinoma.
- Kidney function .
Should You Keep Track Of Your Blood Counts
Some people want to know the results of their blood count tests so they can take preventive measures to protect their health or to what’s causing their symptoms. For example:
- If you have anemia as a result of low red cell counts, you’ll understand why you have low energy levels or are unable to carry out everyday tasks.
- If you have low white cell counts and develop a fever, you’ll know to contact your doctor promptly.
- If your platelet counts are too low, you can bleed or bruise easily, so you may choose to avoid activities that have a risk of injury.
Also Check: How Much Can Stress Raise Blood Pressure
Normal Range Of Red Blood Cell Count
Normal red blood cell ranges of various ages are:
- Adult males: 4.7 to 7.2 million/microliter
- Adult females: 4.2 to 5.0 million/microliter
- Children: 3.8 to 5.5 million/microliter
- Newborns: 4.8 to 7.2 million/microliter
- Pregnancy: Slightly lower than normal adult cell counts
If you exceed the upper limit of your range, you may have a high blood cell count.
Can I Have An Infection That Increases My Risk And Not Realize It
Having hepatitis C is a risk factor for hepatocellular carcinoma. You could have hepatitis C without having symptoms or knowing youve been infected. Some activities and medical conditions increase your risk of hepatitis C infection. Talk to your healthcare provider if:
- Youve had unprotected sex within the past six months, shared needles for drug use within the past six months or youve ever injected drugs.
- You were or are on long-term hemodialysis.
- You were born from 1945 through 1965. Most people in the United State who have hepatitis C were born in these years.
- You had a blood clotting problem before 1987 that was treated with medication.
- You received a blood transfusion or organ transplant before July 1992. This is when healthcare providers started screening blood and organ donations for hepatitis C.
Don’t Miss: Average Blood Loss During Period
What Is A Low Red Blood Cell Count
A low red blood cell count is a condition known as anemia.There are three causes of anemia:
- Blood loss due to wounds, lesions, ulcers, hemorrhoids, inflammation of the stomach, and cancers of the gastrointestinal tract.
- Faulty or decreased red blood cell production due to sickle cell anemia, iron deficiency anemia, vitamin deficiency anemia, and diseases of the bone marrow and stem cells.
- Excessive destruction of red blood cells.
Mean Corpuscular Hemoglobin Concentration
MCHC indicates the amount of hemoglobin per unit volume of the red blood cell .
MCHC is the hemoglobin content divided by the volume of the red blood cell.
The normal values for MCHC are 34 ± 2 g/dl of red blood cells .
Increased MCHC values are seen in conditions such as autoimmune hemolytic anemia, in burn patients, and hereditary spherocytosis .
Again, your doctor is best positioned to determine the underlying cause of irregular MCHC and to help you develop an appropriate treatment or management plan.
You May Like: Massive Blood Clots With Period
How Is Polycythemia Vera Diagnosed In A Child
The healthcare provider will ask about your childs symptoms and health history. He or she will give your child a physical exam. Your child may also have tests, such as:
Hemoglobin and hematocrit. This test measures the amount of hemoglobin and red blood cells in the blood.
Complete blood count .A complete blood count checks the red blood cells, white blood cells, blood clotting cells , and sometimes, young red blood cells . It includes hemoglobin and hematocrit and more details about the red blood cells.
Peripheral smear.A small sample of blood is examined under a microscope. Blood cells are checked to see if they look normal or not.
Erythropoietin level. This test measures the amount of EPO in the blood. EPO is a hormone that helps make red blood cells.
Genetic tests. These tests look for gene mutations linked with polycythemia vera, such as JAK2, CALR and MPL, in addition to mutations in the EPO receptor.
How Is High Hemoglobin Count Treated
Treatment for high hemoglobin count varies depending on the underlying cause. In some cases, your healthcare provider may recommend a phlebotomy. In a phlebotomy, a healthcare provider inserts a needle into one of your veins and removes extra red blood cells. You may need to have multiple phlebotomies until your hemoglobin levels are within a typical range.
You May Like: Side Effect Of Blood Thinner
Can I Prevent Elevated Red Blood Cells
You cant always prevent a high red blood cell count. But, there are things you can do to lower your risk. For example:
- Drink lots of water.
- Dont take iron supplements.
- Dont take anabolic steroids or other performance-enhancing drugs.
- Use appropriate medical devices, such as a CPAP, if you have sleep apnea.
- If you have heart failure, be sure to follow your healthcare providers treatment plan diligently.
Causes Of Increased Red Blood Count In Dogs
Dogs with high red blood counts often may feel poorly.
Secondary polycythemia is far more common than primary in dogs, and as mentioned, is associated with abnormal levels of erythropoietin. Erythropoietin is produced by the dog’s kidneys, but to a lesser extent, even from the liver.
The production of erythropoietin, as already stated, takes place when there are lower than normal oxygen levels. It is therefore important investigating why there are lower than normal oxygen levels.
Don’t Miss: Diabetes And High Blood Pressure Treatment
Iron Vitamin B6 B12 And/or Folic Acid Deficiency
Approximately one-third of the worlds population is anemic, and the majority of these cases are due to iron deficiency .
A diet that lacks iron, folic acid, or vitamin B12 can prevent your body from making enough red blood cells. Your body also needs small amounts of vitamin C, riboflavin, and copper to make red blood cells .
Conditions that make it hard for your body to absorb nutrients also can prevent your body from making enough red blood cells .
Iron deficiency interferes with hemoglobin synthesis , so iron deficiency results in reduced hemoglobin in red blood cells. Iron deficiency also results in more variable red blood cell size , and smaller and paler red blood cells .
Nutrient deficiency of either folate or vitamin B12 results in enlarged red blood cells , with an MCV increased to a range of 105 to 160 fl .
Why The Test Is Performed
The RBC count is almost always part of a complete blood count test.
The test can help diagnose different kinds of anemia and other conditions affecting red blood cells.
Other conditions that may require an RBC count are:
- Bone marrow disorder in which the marrow is replaced by scar tissue
- Disease that damages kidney blood vessels
- Disorder in which red blood cells break down earlier than normal
- White blood cell cancer
Recommended Reading: Blood In Blood Out Full Movie Uncut
What Tests Confirm The Diagnosis Of Polycythemia
Polycythemia may be diagnosed incidentally on routine blood work. Hemoglobin, hematocrit, and red blood cell concentration are typically found on a complete blood count . Repeating the laboratory tests to confirm the diagnosis is usually advised to rule out possible laboratory or drawing errors.
More importantly, the cause of polycythemia needs to be determined. Medical history and physical examination are important components of the evaluation of polycythemia. The history usually includes questions about smoking history, living at high altitudes for extended periods, breathing difficulties, sleep disturbances, or chronic cough. Other parts of the history may focus on a prior diagnosis of lung disease, heart disease, kidney or liver cancer, bleeding or clotting problems.
A complete physical examination — including the assessment of body habitus , vital signs, oxygen saturation, heart and lung exams, and evaluating for an enlarged spleen — is essential in the evaluation of people with polycythemia.
Evidence of a long-standing low body oxygen level is an important clue in patients with polycythemia. Signs of long-standing hypoxia may include cyanosis , clubbing of the fingers , or pursed-lip breathing. Redness of the palms and soles may be another sign of polycythemia.
Polycythemia vera diagnosis
What Do The Results Mean
Your results will show whether you have a normal red blood cell count or a count that is too low or too high.
A low red blood cell count can be a sign of:
- Leukemia, a type of blood cancer
- Malnutrition, a condition in which your body does not get the calories, vitamins, and/or minerals needed for good health
- Multiple myeloma, a cancer of the bone marrow
It may also be a sign of pregnancy.
A high red blood cell count can be a sign of:
Learn more about laboratory tests, references ranges, understanding results.
Don’t Miss: Uti With Blood In Urine
How Is A Hemoglobin Test Done
Your healthcare provider will take a blood sample from your arm or hand. They can also draw blood using a finger prick. A heel stick may be used for newborns or infants.
First, your provider will swab your skin with alcohol. Theyll place an elastic band around your upper arm and ask you to make a fist to make the blood flow easier. Then, theyll insert a small needle into a vein. You may feel a sting when the needles inserted. Your blood will flow from the needle into a vial.
Finally, your provider will send the vial to a lab for analysis.
How Is A High Red Blood Cell Count Treated
It depends on the underlying cause. If a health condition is causing a high red blood cell count, your provider may recommend a procedure or medication to lower it.
If you have polycythemia vera , your healthcare provider may prescribe a medicine called hydroxyurea. This will help slow your bodys production of red blood cells. Youll need to see your provider regularly while taking hydroxyurea to be sure your red blood cell level doesnt drop too low. Often, people with polycythemia vera also undergo routine blood withdrawals to keep their red blood cell count under control.
Don’t Miss: Osha Blood Borne Pathogen Training
Red Blood Cell Count Nhs
- Highest rating: 4
- Summary: Red blood cell count congenital heart disease dehydration pulmonary fibrosis (a lung condition that causes scarring of
- Highest rating: 4
- Summary: Polycythaemia, also known as erythrocytosis, means having a high concentration of red blood cells in your blood. This makes the blood thicker and less able
Platelets Helping To Clot Blood
Platelets are the smallest blood cells. They are an important part of blood clotting. These small cells clump together and form a sticky mass that helps the blood to clot. Blood clots help your body handle injury by stopping or preventing bleeding. Blood clots can also cause problems, however, when they occur within the blood vessels or the heart such clots cause a blockage known as thrombosis.
Also Check: What Is The Blood Test For Iron Called
How To Treat Elevated Red Blood Cell Count
Treatment methods exist to lessen the effects of polycythemia.
Regular blood sampling can be done to reduce the number of red blood cells.
Specific medications can also be given to reduce complications by reducing the production of platelets.
With proper treatment, a person with polycythemia or elevated red blood cell countcan live for many years with mild to moderate symptoms.
It is important to note that treatment does not permanently cure polycythemia, but it slows its progression and reduces its complications. For example, it prevents the regular formation of blood clots.
Other treatment methods include bone marrow transplantation.
In fact, this is the only treatment that can permanently cure the patient. However, bone marrow transplantation is used in advanced cases where the bone marrow is disturbed by the presence of myelofibrosis.