The blood circulatory system carries vital nutrients to various organs around the body. Also, it takes the oxygen we breathe from our lungs to the brain and other body cells. Thus, we need healthy blood cells for the optimal health of the body.
Without the red blood cells, the oxygen circulatory system will collapse. Because of that, you should understand the need for the red cell distribution width test or RDW test. Today, we will look into the facts about the RDW blood test and how it affects you.
What Does RDW Mean In A Blood Test?
Red blood cells are part of the cells responsible for transporting the air we breathe. Besides that, they have hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is the red pigment that allows the blood to assume its color. Together with the white blood cells, they form a vital component of the blood.
The RDW blood test is a clinical procedure to measure the volume and size variations in the red blood cells. If there is a variance in size or volume from the usual clinical range, further examination needs to happen. Depending on the doctor, you may undergo a CBC blood test. The supplementary procedure gives a broader and more accurate report on the overall condition of the blood.
What Is RDW CV In Blood Test?
The RDW CV or corpuscular volume is the measurement in size and volume variations of the red blood cells. When you have the RDW blood test, the doctor will check if your red blood cells are within the normal range. This mean that the result produces is what determines your range. RDW CV usually is a supplementary test in the RDW in the CBC blood test.
Mostly, your doctor may request an RDW blood test under suspicion of the following situations;
- Cardiovascular Diseases
- Liver Diseases
- Any blood disorder
RDW Blood Test Normal Range
Typically, healthy red blood cells have a clinical range of sizes between 6 to 8 micrometers across the diameter. This is the mean score from the corpuscular volume. If the test registers a higher figure, you have a high positive test. While a lower number means your RDW blood CV low.
RDW Blood Test High – Causes, Risks & Treatment
The causes of RDW test high in the blood cells are numerous. The general classification can fall into the following;
1. Inflammation Disorders
This is the primary cause of high RDW levels in the blood. People with rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and others develop high levels of RDW in the blood. The findings of the same indicate other bowel autoimmune conditions that also aid in the higher levels.
2. Liver Malfunctioning
The liver is responsible for producing proteins in the body. Hemoglobin is a protein and a large part of the red blood cells. The chronic malfunctioning of the organ produces large amounts of improper sizes into the bloodstream.
Scientific observation is related to high levels of RDW with anemia. Other conditions closely related are oxidative stress and renal dysfunction.
The risks that come with high levels of RDW are;
- Cardiovascular conditions
- Oxidative stress and aging
- Heart Failure
The overall treatment is hard to pick. The various triggers require different approaches. The doctor will administer the medicine according to the cause. Vitamin supplements, a change of diet and lifestyle, to hospital procedures are all options.
RDW Blood Test Low – Causes, Risks & Treatment
The opposite of the high levels, anything that comes under 6 micrometers, is a significant cause for alarm.
The causes of low RDW blood test levels are as diverse. The primary ones are dietary, medical and genetically as below;
1. Loss Of Blood
Medically, replenishing the blood count after an accident takes time. This means, your RDW blood test will record a low count.
2. Lack Of Iron In Your Diet
Iron is a vital supplement in the formation of your blood. Thus a diet deficient of iron will affect the structure of your blood.
3. Chronic Illness Like HIV And Cancer
Chronic illnesses render the body organs to malfunction. This affects the entire metabolism of the internal organs.
4. Family History
There are people with hereditary traits of low red blood cells in the family
The low count in your RDW blood test can lead to any of the following conditions;
- Kidney malfunctioning
- Poor bone marrow functions
- Over retention of body fluids
The best treatment approach is through the iron-rich dietary supplementation. Though in some severe cases, you may need an emergency medical intervention.
Doctor, author and fitness enthusiast, Ahmed Zayed, MD, is a surgery resident with a passion for helping people live a happy healthy life. He is the author of numerous health-related books and contributor to several medicine, health and wellbeing websites.