Contribution: Rachna Arya


Red blood cells (RBCs) are a major component of your blood. They help transport oxygen from your lungs to the rest of your body, but, when you have an elevated red blood cell count (you have more red blood cells than normal), it may mean you have an underlying health condition.

What does it mean if you have a high red blood cell count?

A high red blood cell count makes your blood thicker than it should be and increases the risk of blood clots.

Do you have any symptoms if you have a high red blood cell count?

Symptoms of a high red blood cell count may include:

  • tiredness
  • shortness of breath
  • Frequent headache
  • dizziness
  • Weakness
  • blurred vision
  • sleep problems
  • Joint pain
  • the skin
  • Numbness and/or tingling
  • nosebleeds

However, people with high red blood cell counts do not experience any symptoms.

What causes a high red blood cell count?

A high red cell count may be the first sign of an underlying disease or disorder.

However, this does not mean that you have a health problem. Certain medical or lifestyle factors can also cause a high red blood cell count.

Medical conditions that can cause elevated red blood cells include:

  • dehydration
  • heart disease
  • Polycythemia vera
  • Kidney tumor
  • Lung disease
  • hypoxia
  • Carbon monoxide exposure
  • Insomnia

Various lifestyle factors that can cause a high red blood cell count include:

  • smoking
  • Living at high altitudes
  • Taking performance-enhancing drugs

Could stress be related to a higher red blood cell count?

Research has shown a definite link between stress and its effects on blood cells. stress Can directly increase red blood cells, neutrophils (a type of white blood cell) and platelets.

Should you worry if your red blood cell count is high?

Although a high red blood cell count may indicate a disease or disorder, it does not always mean the state of your health.

But, if you have a high red blood cell count, additional tests are recommended to find the cause and determine if treatment is needed.

Can you prevent high red blood cells?

You can’t always prevent a high red blood cell count. However, there are things you can do to reduce your risk, including:

  • Drink plenty of water
  • Avoid coffee, soda and other diuretics
  • quit smoking
  • exercise
  • Avoiding iron supplements, anabolic steroids or other performance-enhancing drugs
  • If you have sleep apnea, use an appropriate medical device, such as a CPAP.

When should you see your healthcare provider?

Most of the time, people only discover that their red blood count is elevated when they get a blood test for something else.

It is recommended that you talk to your healthcare provider about your blood test results.

An elevated red blood cell count may mean you have another underlying health condition.

How can you tell if your red blood cell count is high?

An RBC count that is higher than normal is often the first sign of an illness. Your healthcare provider may run several tests to measure different parts and characteristics of your blood. Tests can allow you to get the treatment you need before symptoms appear.

These tests may include:

  • Red Blood Cell (RBC) Count
  • Hemoglobin test
  • Hematocrit test
  • Complete blood count (CBC)

Other diagnostic tests may be requested if your healthcare professional suspects you have a specific illness, which may include:

  • A reticulocyte count test to count reticulocytes in the blood.
  • A vitamin B test to determine the concentration of one or more B vitamins in the blood.
  • An iron test to measure iron levels in the blood.

Also, make a habit of taking preventive health check-ups as they can help you gain complete insight into your health.

This will help you take measures to promote your overall well-being.

Book a full physical health exam today!

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