WHAT IS A HEMATOCRIT LAB TEST?
The Hematocrit Test measures the proportion of red blood cells that make up the blood.
AM I REQUIRED TO FAST FOR THIS LAB TEST?
WHAT IS THE PRICE OF A HEMATOCRIT LAB TEST?
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Red blood cells (RBCs), also called erythrocytes, are responsible for carrying oxygen throughout the body. Hemoglobin in the RBCs becomes full of oxygen when moving through the lungs. This oxygen is released and distributed as the RBCs move through the capillaries into tissues and organs. If hemoglobin is low tissues will not receive enough oxygen causing poor healing and can create an excess workload on the heart. Red blood cells are produced by the bone marrow and have an average lifespan of 120 days.
An RBC count that is too high or too low can both cause health problems. Too many RBCs can cause circulatory problems and clog the blood vessels of the lungs and kidneys. Too few RBCs prevent tissues and organs from receiving enough oxygen for proper functioning and is a sign of anemia. Anemia can be due to something as simple as not enough intake of foods rich in iron, folate or B12, by a chronic anemic condiction or may be caused by radiation therapy for cancer treatment or end stage renal failure.
WHY DO I NEED A HEMATOCRIT TEST?
Are you experiencing weakness or fatigue, lack of energy or shortness of breath? Or do you have frequent headaches with flushing, dizziness or disturbed vision?
A hematocrit to measure the red blood cells in the blood is usually done when there is a suspicion of anemia or polycythemia (high hematocrit). It can be used to identify and diagnose multiple disorders or diseases of the blood. The test can indicate whether there is a problem with RBC production or lifespan but will not be able to determine the underlying cause.
The hematocrit is usually performed as part of a Complete Blood Count (CBC) but may be ordered if there are signs and symptoms of anemia or polycythemia. It is sometimes performed when a person shows signs of severe dehydration.
|Infants and Children
|Under 18 Years
|Over 18 Years
Low hematocrit values may indicate anemia, acute or chronic bleeding, nutritional deficiencies, damage to the bone marrow or bone marrow disorders, kidney failure or chronic inflammatory diseases.
High hematocrit values may indicate dehydration, lung disease, congenital heart disease, kidney tumor, smoking, polycythemia vera or genetic causes.
WHAT TYPE OF PHYSICIAN SHOULD I SEE?
You should see your primary care physician or a hematologist.