A hematocrit is a test that measures the number of red blood cells in the blood. This test is also known as “mean corpuscular volume analysis” and it is not too complex an analysis, but it is an important one.
Blood is made up of white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets, all of which “navigate” in a liquid called plasma. Red blood cells, through hemoglobin, are responsible for carrying oxygen to all organs (from the lungs).
If the analysis of the high yields or low hematocrit numbers compared to normal levels may indicate the existence of a disease, dehydration or other medical conditions.
Why do it and what diseases can be detected
When it is believed that there may be a blood-related problem, the best option is to perform a hematocrit test to find out what levels our red blood cell ratio is at. Thanks to the results, a diagnosis and subsequent treatment can be generated, if there is a disease .
If the hematocrit is lower than normal it can indicate:
- Little presence of healthy red blood cells.
- The existence of a large number of white blood cells after suffering a long-term illness, infection, leukemia or lymphoma.
- Deficiency in the supply of vitamins or minerals.
- Recent or long-term blood loss.
If the hematocrit is higher than normal it may indicate:
- Primary polycythemia: it is a disorder that just causes the body to produce too many red blood cells.
- Lung or heart disease
Here are other conditions or diseases that a hematocrit test can help diagnose:
- Iron, vitamin B-12, or folate deficiency
- Kidney diseases such as stones, kidney failure, kidney cysts, etc.
- Bone marrow diseases such as leukemia, lymphomas, myelodysplastic syndrome, etc.
- Certain types of bone marrow cancer , such as those mentioned above, kidney or lung cancer.
- Dehydration at any of its levels. This can be one of the quickest conditions to suppress.
- Lung diseases such as asthma, collapse of a lung, COPD, pneumonia, inflammation of the bronchi, etc.
- Congenital heart diseases such as Ebstein’s anomaly, arterial trunk, pulmonary atresia, tricuspid atresia, etc.
- Polycythemia vera.
This is a simple test that is part of a complete blood count (in-depth study of the condition of the blood) in which the patient should only allow a blood sample to be taken through a vein in the arm. You do not need to be fasting before the procedure.
Normal results on a hematocrit test:
- Men: 40.7% to 50.3%
- Women: from 36.1% to 44.3%
Normal results in children:
- Newborn: 45% to 61%
- Infant: 32% to 42%