RBC count

What is a Red Blood Cell (RBC) Count?

A red blood cell (RBC) count is an important blood test which is used to measure the number of red blood cells in your body. It is also known as erythrocyte count, or hematocrit. Red blood cells play a crucial role in the body by carrying oxygen from your lungs to the rest of your body. An abnormal red blood cell count can be an indication of serious health problems.

Preparation for an RBC Count Test

Your doctor may ask you to not eat or drink anything for 8 to 12 hours leading up to the test, as it could affect the accuracy of the results. You may also be advised to avoid taking certain medications as they can interfere with the results. It’s important to follow all instructions provided to you by your doctor for the most accurate results.

How is an RBC Count Done?

The procedure for an RBC count is simple and painless. Your blood will be drawn from a vein in your arm and sent to the laboratory for analysis. You may experience minor discomfort during the needle insertion, but it should not last for more than a few seconds.

Types of RBC Counts

The different types of RBC count tests include:

  • Complete Blood Count (CBC): This is the most common type of RBC count. As part of a CBC, the number of red cells as well as other elements such as white cells, platelets, and other important components in your blood will be measured.
  • Partial RBC Count: This test measures only the number of red cells in your blood.

What Risks are Associated With an RBC Count?

RBC count tests are safe and involve minimal risks. Potential risks include minor bruising and swelling at the site of the needle insertion, but these should only last for a short time. Your doctor can provide further information about any potential risks associated with the procedure.

Why is an RBC Count Test Done?

RBC count tests are done to evaluate the number of red blood cells in your body. Abnormal results may indicate a variety of conditions, including anemia, liver disease, blood cell cancer, kidney disease, and certain medications. Your doctor may order the test to diagnose a medical problem, to monitor a chronic health condition, or as part of a regular check-up.

When Should an RBC Count Test Be Done?

Your doctor may recommend a red blood cell count test if you have symptoms that indicate a health issue. Symptoms may include having a pale complexion, feeling tired or weak, or having difficulty breathing. You may also be asked to get a RBC count test as part of a regular physical examination.