High Red Blood Cell Count 

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Overview

A red blood cell count is a blood test that is performed by the doctor to measure the number of RBCs present in your bloodstream. This is also known as an erythrocyte count.

An RBC count may help in the identification of blood-related disorders such as iron deficiency anemia.

A low RBC count may indicate a vitamin B6, B12, or folate deficiency.

It may also be a sign of kidney disease, internal bleeding, or malnutrition (when a person’s diet is insufficient to meet their body’s nutritional needs).

In order to supply oxygen to the organs, the RBCs must contain hemoglobin. This test measures hemoglobin concentration. When it comes to oxygen delivery to the tissues, it may be related to how many RBCsthe person has. To keep the tissues healthy, an individual must have enough oxygen flowing through the system.

RBC is an essential component of blood. These cells are in charge of distributing oxygen throughout the body’s tissues and organs. A physician’s evaluation of the RBC count may help them identify medical issues and determine the overall health.

What is considered a high RBC count?

A high red blood cell count occurs when the number of red blood cells in the circulation surpasses what is considered normal. Normal ranges for RBC count are as follow:

·         Men: 4.7-6.1 million/µL

·         Women: 4.2-5.4 million/µL

·         Children: 4.0-5.5 million/µL

A high RBC count is often discovered during a physical examination to rule out other health issues. It is probable that further testing will be required to determine what is generating the elevated levels. These may include tests to see whether you have an illness like heart failure, which causes the body to produce an unusually large amount of RBCs, or a condition like sleep apnea, which causes the oxygen supply to be limited.

A high RBC count may be caused by a number of medical illnesses or events including dehydration, smoking, heart disease, oxygen deficiency (hypoxia), and pulmonary fibrosis (a lung condition that causes scarring of the lungs).

Causes

A high red blood cell count may suggest the existence of a disease or condition, but it does not always signal that anything is wrong. A high RBC count may be caused by a number of factors, including health and lifestyle decisions.

Following are the medical conditions that are associated with high red blood cell count:

Heart failure: It causes low levels of blood oxygen that stimulates the production of RBCs. Similarly, congenital heart disease is also responsible for causing an elevated count of RBCs.

Polycythemia Vera: It is a blood disorder that is caused due to abnormal functioning of bone marrow. Bone marrow produces abnormally large quantities of RBCs.

Dehydration: An increase in RBC count after dehydration is associated with a reduction in the liquid component of the blood i.e. plasma. This is because RBCs are getting more concentrated. The total number of RBCs in the body does not vary, but the quantity of RBCs in the body does.

Other health issues causing the increased RBC count are:

·         Kidney tumors

·         Hypoxia

·         Lung diseases like emphysema, fibrosis and COPD

·         Exposure to carbon monoxide

Lifestyle factors that lead to the increased production of RBC and thereby high RBC count include the following:

·         Smoking

·         Steroids intake

·         Living at high altitudes

Numerous medications, some of which are mentioned below, assist in the formation of RBCs:

·         Anabolic steroids

·         Erythropoietin which is given for blood doping as it stimulates the formation of RBCs

If you have an abnormally high red blood cell count as a result of a medical issue, your doctor may prescribe a treatment or medicine to help you reduce it.

If you have polycythemia Vera, a bone marrow condition, your doctor may prescribe a medication that inhibits the production of red blood cells in your body. Throughout the treatment, you will need to visit your doctor often to ensure that your red blood cell count does not go too low.

When to see a doctor

You should see your doctor in case of experiencing any of the below symptoms:

·         Fatigue

·         Dizziness

·         Blurred vision

·         Headache

·         Itchiness

·         Painful swelling

An RBC cell count is often found after the doctor requests tests to help diagnose the disease. It is crucial to discuss the importance of the test results with the doctor. A high RBC count, in conjunction with the results of other tests, may aid in determining the cause of the illness. Alternatively, your doctor may advise you to undergo further tests to monitor the development.


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