The blood with all its different markers is a good indicator of health. Knowing what indicator depicts can help deal with deficiencies.
RDW count stands for Red blood cell distribution width. This count measures the size of the volume of the red blood cells and not the size of the blood cells itself. The blood cells are responsible for carrying oxygen from lungs to organs and carbon dioxide to the lungs for exhalation. If the cells vary greatly in size, it could mean any number of different worries. This test is done during a CBC or a complete blood count.
What Does RDW Count Mean In A Blood Test?
A high RDW count with a low MCV could mean a chronic disease but a low RDW and a low MCV could mean anemia. A high RDW with a normal MCV could mean a B12 deficiency. A high MCV with a normal RDW could also show beginnings of leukemia. Both counts being high signify a folate deficiency. When your blood is tested, it is important that the size of the red cells not vary greatly. If your body is not producing normal sized cells or normal number of cells, it might overcompensate by producing larger cells, which is not necessarily helpful.
The normal range for RDW is 11 to 14 percent with the optimum at 13 percent. A high count can be caused by any health condition. If the cause is deficiencies, it can be remedied but if the cause is some other more chronic or serious condition, you need to immediately bring it to the attention of your healthcare provider.
Often a high RDW is caused either by a folate or a B12 deficiency. If you have either deficiency, you can take supplementation or increase food intake that contain B12 or folates. It is best if you do this under medical supervision. Occasionally RDW is also measured and observed for hematocrit or blood volume. A combination of MCV and RDW help identify if the person is suffering from potentially life-threatening blood loss.
An abnormal count of RDW suggests an acute blood loss with the possibility of hemorrhage. Tracking these two counts can help the medical professional to decide how much and when to give blood, if needed. A high RDW with a normal MCV usually indicates a recent hemorrhage.