Red blood cell count


A red blood cell (RBC) count is a blood test that tells you how many red blood cells you have.

Red blood cells contain a substance called haemoglobin which transports oxygenaround the body. The amount of oxygen that's delivered to your body's tissues will depend on the number of red blood cells you have and how well they work.

A RBC count is usually carried out as part of a full blood cell (FBC) count. A normalRBC count would be:

  • male 4.7 to 6.1 million cells per microlitre (cells/mcL)
  • female 4.2 to 5.4 million cells/mcL

The results of an RBC count can be used to help diagnose blood-related conditions,such as Iron deficiency anaemia (where there are less red blood cells than normal).

A low RBC count could also indicate a vitamin B6, B12 or folate deficiency . Itmay also signify internal bleeding, kidney disease or malnutrition (where a person'sdiet doesn't contain enough nutrients to meet theirbody's needs).

A high RBC count could be due to a number of health conditions or health-related factors including:

  • smoking
  • congenital heart disease
  • dehydration for example, from severe diarrhoea
  • low blood oxygen levels (hypoxia)
  • pulmonary fibrosis a lung condition that causes scarring of the lungs

at Lab Tests Online UK.

Content supplied by the NHS Website

Medically Reviewed by a doctor on 29 Nov 2016