Is There Anything Else I Need To Know About An Rbc Count
If results showed you had a low or a high red blood cell count, you may need more tests to help make a diagnosis. These include:
- Reticulocyte count, a test that counts the number of reticulocytes in the blood. Reticulocytes are red blood cells that are still developing. These are also known as immature red blood cells.
- Iron tests, which measure iron levels in the blood. Iron is essential for making red blood cells.
- Vitamin B test, which measures the amount of one or more B vitamins in the blood. B vitamins are important for making red blood cells.
How To Increase Red Blood Cells With Foods
Eating the right foods can help increase the number of red blood cells in your body:
Testing Hemoglobin And Hba1c Levels
Tip: Get CBC testing done whenever your doctor recommends it. CBC testing can aid in early detection of infections, cancers, bone marrow disorders, and autoimmune conditions, among others.
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High Rbc Count Treatment
If you have a high RBC count:
- Exercise to improve your heart and lung function.
- Eat less red meat and iron-rich foods.
- Avoid iron supplements.
- Avoid diuretics, including coffee and caffeinated drinks, which can dehydrate you.
- Stop smoking, especially if you have COPD or pulmonary fibrosis.
- Avoid the use of steroids, erythropoietin, and other performance-enhancing drugs.
How Do I Know If I Have Anemia
You can help by providing detailed answers about your symptoms, family medical history, diet, medications you take, alcohol intake, and ethnic background. Your doctor will look for symptoms of anemia and other physical clues that might point to a cause.
Blood tests will not only confirm the diagnosis of anemia, but also help point to the underlying condition. Tests might include:
- Complete blood count , which determines the number, size, volume, and hemoglobin content of red blood cells
- Blood iron level and your serum ferritin level, the best indicators of your body’s total iron stores
- Levels of vitamin B12 and folate, vitamins necessary for red blood cell production
- Special blood tests to detect rare causes of anemia, such as an immune attack on your red blood cells, red blood cell fragility, and defects of enzymes, hemoglobin, and clotting
- Reticulocyte count, bilirubin, and other blood and urine tests to determine how quickly your blood cells are being made or if you have a hemolytic anemia, where your red blood cells have a shortened life span
Only in rare cases will a doctor need to remove a sample of bone marrow to determine the cause of your anemia.
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Learning Ways Of Increasing The Red Blood Cells Can Mean Eating Different Foods Taking Supplements And Changing Your Lifestyle
Red blood cells, also known as erythrocytes, are the most common blood cells in the body. In fact, about a quarter of all cells in the body are red blood cells. Their primary function is to carry oxygen to all tissues of the body, picking up the oxygen from the lungs and releasing it as they enter the capillaries. Over 2.4 million new red blood cells are produced every second, and they survive in the body for up to 120 days.
There are many reasons that your red blood cell count could be too low. The most common reasons include anemia, bone marrow failure, malnutrition, leukemia, hemolysis due to transfusions or injury to the blood vessels, being too hydrated, nutritional deficiencies, or even pregnancy. There are some drugs that can also bring down your red blood cell counts, including several cancer drugs.
Fortunately, there are several ways to increase the red blood cell count in your body.
Things That Decrease Iron Absorption
Calcium from both supplements and food sources can make it harder for your body to absorb iron. However, its important that you dont completely eliminate calcium because its an essential nutrient. Just avoid calcium supplements and try not to eat calcium-rich foods right before or after taking an iron supplement.
Foods high in calcium include:
Phytic acid can also reduce your bodys absorption of iron, especially if you dont eat meat. However, it only affects iron absorption during a single meal, not throughout the day. If you dont eat meat, try to avoid eating foods high in phytic acid with iron-rich foods.
Foods high in phytic acid include:
- Brazil nuts
- sesame seeds
Keep in mind that, like calcium, phytic acid is an essential nutrient that shouldnt be completely removed from your diet.
Some cases of low hemoglobin cant be fixed through diet and supplements alone. Contact your doctor if you have any of the following symptoms while trying to raise your hemoglobin level:
- pale skin and gums
- a fast or irregular heartbeat
- frequent headaches
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Treatment For A High Rbc Count
If you have erythrocytosis, you may need a regular phlebotomy. This removes a small amount of blood from your body in order to lower your RBC count.
If phlebotomies dont work, your doctor may prescribe hydroxyurea to reduce your RBC count.
You may also need aspirin to help with potential blood clots.
Lifestyle changes can affect your RBC count. Some changes that can help increase your RBC count include:
- maintaining a healthy diet and avoiding vitamin deficiencies
- exercising regularly, which requires the body to use up more oxygen
- avoiding aspirin
If you need to decrease your RBC count, the following lifestyle changes may help:
- reducing the amount of iron and red meat that you consume
- drinking more water
Can Hematocrit Stabilize In Men On Trt
Hematocrit may stabilize after long term testosterone replacement. Although we only have a study done in mice, it may explain why hematocrit may eventually decrease and stabilize in men on TRT. There seems to be an adaptive mechanism that makes red blood cells indices change while hematocrit stabilizes. Some men red blood cell indices start changing after starting TRT as a way for the body to compensate for the extra production of red blood cells. There are three red blood cell indices: mean corpuscular volume , mean corpuscular hemoglobin , and mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration . They are measured by a machine, and their values come from other measurements in a CBC panel. The MCV shows the size of the red blood cells. The MCH value is the amount of hemoglobin in an average red blood cell. The MCHC measures the concentration of hemoglobin in an average red blood cell.
Another study that followed frequent blood donors found a reduction in ferritin in them created as a way for the body to increase iron absorption in the presence of lower hematocrit. Ferritin and hematocrit stabilized after 5 donations.
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Things That Increase Iron Absorption
When you eat something high in iron or take an iron supplement, try eating foods rich in vitamin C or take a supplement at the same time. Vitamin C may help to increase the amount of iron your body absorbs. Try squeezing some fresh lemon over iron rich foods to increase absorption.
Foods high in vitamin C include:
- dark, leafy greens
Vitamin A and beta-carotene, which helps your body produce vitamin A, can also help your body absorb more iron. You can find vitamin A in animal food sources, such as fish and liver. Beta-carotene is usually found in red, yellow, and orange fruits and vegetables, such as:
- sweet potatoes
You can also take vitamin A supplements, but make sure you work closely with your doctor to figure out a safe dose. Too much vitamin A can lead to a potentially serious condition called hypervitaminosis A.
What Is A Hemoglobin Test
A hemoglobin test measures the amount of hemoglobin in your blood. Hemoglobin is a protein thats the main component of red blood cells . Hemoglobin contains iron, which allows it to bind to oxygen. Hemoglobin enables your red blood cells to carry oxygen from your lungs to other tissues and organs throughout your body.
The amount of hemoglobin you have, or your hemoglobin levels, provides clues about how healthy your red blood cells are. Knowing your hemoglobin level can help a healthcare provider diagnose blood disorders and other conditions. Hemoglobin tests are commonly used to diagnose anemia, which involves not having enough hemoglobin or healthy red blood cells.
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Medical Ways To Increase Red Blood Cells
What if you have tried iron-rich diet, and you have also taken supplements, but your red blood cell count remains low? In that case, it might be time for medical intervention. Keep in mind that this is usually a last resort, and most doctors will only go this route if your deficiencies in red blood cells are significant.
Erythropoietin. This hormone stimulates the bone marrow to produce more red blood cells. This is often used for individuals who are experiencing kidney failure or going through chemotherapy treatment.
How to increase red blood cells? These tips and tricks can help you increase red blood cell production however, if none of them seem to work well or you are suffering from symptoms, speak to a doctor about the condition. From there, you can figure out what you need to spur production of red blood cells, as well as rule out any medical conditions that need more intense treatment.
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.
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When Should I See My Healthcare Provider
Most of the time, people dont know they have a high red blood cell count. Its only discovered when they undergo blood tests for something else.
Talk to your healthcare provider about the results of your blood test. Elevated red blood cells could mean that you have another, underlying health condition.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Red blood cells play a big role in carrying life-giving oxygen throughout your body. But when your body makes too many, it can cause your blood to thicken and slow, making you more vulnerable to blood clots. Too many red blood cells can also indicate certain health conditions and disorders. If you have a high red blood cell count, its important to talk to your healthcare provider. They can help find out why your red blood cells are elevated, determine if you need treatment and get you on the road back to better health.
What Does It Mean If Your Hematocrit Is High
A high hematocrit level may be a sign of several conditions, including polycythemia vera. Your healthcare provider is your best resource for information about your test result. Some conditions that may cause high hematocrit levels include:
- Heart disease: Studies show high hematocrit levels increase your risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
- Dehydration: Dehydration lowers all water content in your body, including plasma in your blood. Lower plasma levels increase the ratio of red blood cells to blood volume. That increases hematocrit levels.
- Scarring or thickening of your lungs: Scarring in your lungs makes it difficult for your red blood cells to carry oxygen throughout your body.
- Obstructive sleep apnea: Studies show links between obstructive sleep apnea and high hematocrit levels.
- Smoking: Smoking affects hematocrit levels in two ways. Smoking makes your body produce more erythropoietin, the kidney hormone that stimulates red blood cell production. More red blood cells mean higher hematocrit levels.
- Carbon monoxide poisoning: Carbon monoxide affects your capillaries, decreasing the amount of plasma in your blood and increasing the number of red blood cells. More red blood cells mean higher hematocrit levels.
- Testosterone use: Studies show testosterone use increases red blood cell numbers, which increases hematocrit levels.
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Through Medications And Procedures
Why Is A Hemoglobin Test Done
Your provider may perform a hemoglobin test as part of a routine physical exam. Hemoglobin tests are part of a complete blood count test, which identifies the number of red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets in a blood sample. This information allows your provider to assess your health and screen for certain conditions.
Your provider may also perform a hemoglobin test if you have symptoms that suggest conditions related to low hemoglobin levels or high hemoglobin levels.
Having low hemoglobin or too few red blood cells can deprive your tissues and organs of the oxygen they need to make energy and keep you healthy.
Finally, your provider may check your hemoglobin to see how you respond to treatments meant to lower or boost your red blood cell count.
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What Are The Common Conditions That Affect Red Blood Cells
Red blood cell conditions have either a low or high red blood cell count.
Medical conditions that affect a low red blood cell count include:
- Anemia: Your blood carries less oxygen than normal and causes your body to feel cold, tired and weak.
- Blood loss: Your body loses more blood cells than it can produce.
- Bone marrow disorder: You experience damage to your bone marrow, where red blood cells form .
- Cancer: Certain cancers and chemotherapy treatment for cancer can affect the number of red blood cells your body produces.
Medical conditions that affect a high red blood cell count include:
- Polycythemia Vera: A high red blood cell count causes your blood to thicken, leading to heart attack or stroke.
- Congenital heart disease: One or more structures in your heart is irregular due to not forming completely during fetal development.
- Lung disease: The tissue in your lungs scars due to emphysema, COPD or pulmonary fibrosis.
- Hypoxia: The oxygen level in your blood is low.
- Carbon monoxide: Smoking increases your chance of exposure to carbon monoxide.