Why do we need red blood cells and how many of them should be normal

What are red blood cells and why are they needed

Erythrocytes , or red blood cells, are blood cells that are produced by the bone marrow. With the help of hemoglobin protein, they deliver oxygen to all tissues of the body and carry carbon dioxide from them to the lungs.

Every second, up to 2 million red blood cells are produced , and they live an average of 120 days .

Why you need to know the level of red blood cells in the blood

According to this indicator, it can be assumed what kind of disease a person has.

An increase in the number of red blood cells, or erythrocytosis, can lead to :

  • Smoking cigarettes.
  • Heart diseases. It can be congenital defects or cor pulmonale – this is the name of the pathological increase in the cavities of the organ, which develops, for example, in chronic obstructive disease or scarring of the lungs.
  • Severe dehydration .
  • Tumor of the kidney.
  • Low oxygen levels in the blood. This happens, for example, when climbing mountains.
  • A malignant disease of the bone marrow in which too many red blood cells are produced.
  • Taking certain medications. For example, anabolic steroids, erythropoietin, or antibiotics based on gentamicin.

If the level of red blood cells is reduced, doctors talk about erythropenia. This condition may have the following causes:

  • Bleeding.
  • Bone marrow damage from toxins or radiation.
  • Kidney disease , in which the production of the hormone erythropoietin is reduced. Normally, it stimulates the division of red blood cells.
  • Too rapid destruction of red blood cells, or hemolysis.
  • Systemic blood diseases, including leukemia, a type of cancer.
  • Malnutrition.
  • Lack of iron, copper, folic acid, vitamin B6 or B12 .
  • Pregnancy.
  • Hyperhydration. This is a condition in which there is a lot of fluid in the body.
  • Medicines. Certain antibiotics, over-the-counter pain relievers, chemotherapy drugs, epilepsy and high blood pressure medications, and many other drugs can lower your red blood cell count.

What is the rate of erythrocytes in the blood

It all depends on the gender and age of the person, but even more – on the reference values of a particular laboratory. So, the authoritative American clinic Cleveland Clinic considers some indicators normal, the National Health Service of England – others , and one of the largest private medical and research centers in the world Mayo Clinic – the third . But, perhaps, one of the most complete breakdowns by sex and age is given by the Helix laboratory:

Age Floor Erythrocytes, 10¹²/l
Up to 14 days 3.9–5.9
14 days – 1 month 3.3–5.3
1–4 months 3.5–5.1
4–6 months 3.9–5.5
6–9 months 4–5.3
9–12 months 4.1–5.3
1–3 years 3.8–4.8
3–6 years 3.7–4.9
6–9 years old 3.8–4.9
9–12 years old 3.9–5.1
12–15 years old male 4.1–5.2
female 3.8–5
15–18 years old male 4.2–5.6
female 3.9–5.1
18–45 years old male 4.3–5.7
feminine 3.8–5.1
45–65 years old male 4.2–5.6
female 3.8–5.3
Over 65 years old male 3.8–5.8
female 3.8–5.2

How to determine the level of red blood cells in the blood

To do this, take a general blood test . It does not require any special preparation. Most often, the sample is taken from the capillaries in the finger, less often from the vein of the hand. Newborns have their heels pierced.

What to do if the level of red blood cells in the blood is not normal

If there are deviations up or down, you should not engage in self-diagnosis – it is better to consult a therapist. When evaluating the result of the analysis, he will look not only at red blood cells, but also at other indicators, and will also take into account the symptoms that bother you. If necessary, the doctor will prescribe additional diagnostics or refer you to a specialized specialist.

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