What causes high RDW on a blood count?

Measurement of RDW, or random distribution of red cell width, provides health care professionals with information regarding the size of red blood cells which can assist in clarifying diagnosis of anemia. RDW can be high due to: B12 and Pernicious anemia; folic acid anemia; iron deficiency anemia; hemolytic anemia; transfusions; sideroblastic anemia; or alcohol abuse. A low RDW can indicate any of the following: iron deficiency anemia due to parasites, blood loss, or poor iron absorption; vitamin B6 anemia; or rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

Continue Learning about Blood Basics

Blood Basics

Blood Basics

Our blood is a living tissue with a variety of critical functions: It delivers oxygen and nutrients to our organs, fights infections and creates blood clots, preventing us from bleeding excessively when a blood vessel is damaged. ...

The liquid part of our blood, called plasma, is key for maintaining blood pressure and supplying critical proteins for blood clotting, immunity and maintaining the correct pH balance in our body -- critical to cell function. Plasma also carries the solid part of our blood -- white blood cells, which work to destroy viruses and bacteria; red blood cells, which carry oxygen through the body; and platelets, which help clotting. Learn more about blood basics with expert advice from Sharecare.
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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.