Our blood is basically made up of three elements: red blood cells, platelets, and white blood cells. The main function of red blood cells is to carry oxygen from the lungs to the entire body.
Hemoglobin is the transport used by red blood cells to perform this task, which provides health to the body and allows it to function fully.
The hematocrit is a test that allows you to count the number of red blood cells compared to the total amount of blood in the body.
At your next medical check-up, when you do a blood count, this study will allow you to know the result of your hematocrit level. Knowing the hematocrit level is important, because if it is within normal values, it indicates that we are healthy.
On the other hand, having a high hematocrit, which means is that you should seek a consultation with a specialist doctor, to find out what happens to your red blood cells.
What is it?
This is an analysis that reflects the ratio of red blood cells to total blood volume. So a hematocrit of 60% indicates that 60% of the total volume of the blood is made up of red blood cells.
The level of this parameter is used to detect disorders in the blood, whether they arise from having a high or low hematocrit level.
A high hematocrit means you have too many red blood cells, which may suggest polycythemia vera. Polycythemia vera is a bone marrow disorder that results in an abnormal increase in red blood cells.
The normal hematocrit level can change from one medical laboratory to another and is at the following intervals:
- For Men, the level is 38 to 54%.
- For Women, the level is 35 to 48%.
- For Children, the level is 37 to 45%.
These values for the hematocrit level are for reference only.
What does a high hematocrit level mean?
Having a high hematocrit level means an increase in the percentage of red blood cells in the blood.
Polyglobulia or Erythrocytosis
This increase in red blood cells is known as polyglobulia or erythrocytosis, a blood disorder, which can have many causes and effects.
The polycythemia vera it is the most important primary erythrocytosis and the one most frequently diagnosed.
On the other hand, secondary erythrocytosis are due to an over stimulation of the red blood cell production process or erythropoiesis. These normally cause the blood to present with a syndrome of hyperviscosity and a tendency to thrombosis.
One of the most obvious effects is having high hemoglobin, which is because more red blood cells means more hemoglobin.
A high hematocrit can also mean that you have any of the following blood disorders:
This means that you have an excessive production of red blood cells or what is commonly known as polycythemia vera. This increase in red blood cells may be due to the consumption of medications such as erythropoietin (EPO) or be due to lung diseases.
The Relative polyglobulia shows that you have a decrease in the volume of plasma in your blood, which causes an increase in the number of red blood cells. This increase in red blood cells is usually caused by dehydration, which causes a decrease in the volume of blood plasma. This dehydration can be due to vomiting, diarrhea, burns or extreme exercise.
Causes of erythrocytosis
The erythrocytosis it can have many causes such as:
- Decreased oxygen in the blood.
- Respiratory diseases.
- Consumption of medications, such as erythropoietin (EPO).
Erythrocytosis increases physical performance, which has caused that in some endurance sports, such as swimming or cycling, EPO is used to increase its level.
However, there are high risks of cardiovascular disorders when athletes become dehydrated from increased blood viscosity.