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Red Blood Cell Count

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Overview

A Red Blood Cell (RBC) Count is a blood test that is used to find out how many red blood cells (RBCs) are present in a blood sample. The results of an RBC Count can be used to help diagnose blood-related conditions.

What is Red Blood Cell Count?

An RBC count is a measure of the number of RBCs in the blood. It is a part of the complete blood count test

RBCs make up about 40% of the blood volume and contain hemoglobin. This protein enables RBCs to carry oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body and transport a small portion of carbon dioxide back to the lungs to be expelled. RBCs have a lifespan of 120 days and are continuously produced in the bone marrow as they need to replace those RBCs that age and degrade.

A number of conditions can affect RBC production, including their numbers, lifespan, and structure.

Why is Red Blood Cell Count suggested?

The RBC count test is used for

  • The general evaluation of a person’s health.
  • Checking for conditions like anemia (low RBC count) or polycythemia (high RBC count).
  • Screening for blood-related cancers.

How is Red Blood Cell Count performed?

An RBC count can be performed by taking a small blood sample from

  • A vein in the arm.
  • A fingerstick.
  • Heel sticks in newborn babies.

What are the parameters measured in the Red Blood Cell Count test?

The RBC Count test measures the number of RBCs contained in a liter or an equivalent unit of blood.

Preparation Before Performing the Red Blood Cell Count test

No special preparation is required for this test.

Post-care after the Red Blood Cell Count test

No post-care is necessary after the RBC Count test.

Sample Types in the Red Blood Cell Count test

Only blood samples are collected in the RBC Count test.

Side effects/risks of the Red Blood Cell Count test

Risks associated with RBC count are minimal and include

  • Bleeding
  • Bruising
  • Infection at the puncture site.

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