HEMATIES: The Importance of the Red Blood Cell Count

The red blood cellsAlso known as red blood cells or erythrocytes, they are a type of blood cell with a rounded appearance, like a kind of flattened sphere or disk.

Its main function is to transport oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body’s tissues. They can do this thanks to a protein called hemoglobin, this is responsible for trapping oxygen when red blood cells are passing through the capillaries in the lungs, this protein is also responsible for the characteristic red color of the blood.

They have a circulation period in the body of between 90 and 120 days, once this period of time is fulfilled, they pass to the liver and spleen, where they are discarded and the creation of new erythrocytes in the bone marrow occurs.

Through a red blood cell count we can know how our organism is. Depending on what their values ​​are, a doctor can deduce if there is any health problem or disease in the body or if the patient is in good health.

What should be the normal values?

The normal value of red blood cells in men should be between 4.5 and 6 million per cubic centimeter, while in the case of women it should be slightly lower, between 4 and 5.5 million per cubic centimeter.

For its part, hemoglobin should be between 14 and 18 g per 100 milliliters of blood for men, and normal levels for women are between 1 and 16 g per 100 milliliters.

Another important element to take into account is the hematocrit, which should be between 42% and 54% for men, for their part, women should have values ​​that range between 38% and 46%.

What do high levels tell us?

It is not healthy to have a very high level of red blood cells, as having too many in the blood could trigger a thrombosis, which is very dangerous. If a blood test indicates a very high erythrocyte value can mean the presence of diseases What:

  • COPD or a serious airway problem
  • Kidney problems or diseases
  • A disease of the bone marrow known as, Polycythemia vera
  • Any disease that affects the cardiovascular system
  • There are several medicines that can alter the levels of red blood cells, such as steroids, treatment for dehydration, for sleep apnea, among others.

What does it mean to have low levels?

In most cases, when tests show a very low number of red blood cells, it is immediately associated with anemia. However, this can indicate some other things, ranging from a diet that does not meet the necessary requirements of vitamins and minerals, to something worse such as leukemia or the presence of cancer in the bone marrow.

The most common reasons why these blood cells decrease are:

  • A diet low in iron, folic acid, and B vitamins.
  • Some surgical intervention.
  • Women can see low levels of red blood cells when they are menstruating or pregnant.
  • In some cases, prescription chemotherapy drugs can significantly decrease red blood cells.

Red blood cells are one of the essential parts for the body to function correctly, for that reason we must monitor them to keep their values ​​balanced. In addition, they can serve as an alert when our body faces a health problem.

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