Normal Hematocrit Values - Am I Normal

Normal Hematocrit Values – Am I Normal?

By: - Health & Fitness - September 29, 2011
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Hematocrit value is the proportion of blood in the human body that contains red blood cells. It is represented on lab tests by the symbol (hct) and is listed as a percent. On a lab test, for instance, if you see “hct – 35%” this means that there are 35 milliliters of red blood cells in 100 milliliters of blood. This is measured by a machine once blood is drawn from a patient. Normal hematocrit values vary by age and as an adult, gender.

If you have any lab work done, you will always want to know what is normal and what is not. For adult males normal hematocrit values range from 42% – 54%. For adult females, the normal range is from 38% – 46%. Teens tend to be anywhere from 35% to 45%, but this depends on where they are in their puberty cycle. The highest hematocrit counts are in infants, who can have normal hematocrit values up to 68% and still be in the normal range. This lowers as the child ages and by about 10 years old, before puberty begins for most children, the normal values are down to about 36% to 40%.

You may be wondering what it means if you have a low or high hematocrit count and how this can affect your health. A low hematocrit account is a bit more common and it is essentially a fancy term for being anemic. When you are anemic your body cannot or will not produce enough red blood cells meaning you are not functioning as well as you could be. This could cause major problems as red blood cells are the transportation for oxygen to your body.

A high hematocrit count can be equally as dangerous. It is often caused by environment, for instance those who live at high altitudes may have slightly higher hematocrit counts. Usually this is nothing to worry about. Other people who can have a dangerous and very high hematocrit count are heavy chronic smokers. When you have a high count it can indicate congenital heart disease, pulmonary fibrosis, cor pulmonale, which is the failure of the right side of the heart or other dangerous diseases.

Treatment for a high count includes phlebotomy and medications in order to help the body lower its production of red blood cells. If the test indicates disease, treatment will be dependent on that particular disease. Once the disease is under control, high hematocrit may go down.

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