What could cause my red blood count to be elevated?

There are several things that can cause your red blood cell count, or similar lab tests such as hemoglobin and hematocrit, to be high. The most common is dehydration, because of a relative concentration of your red blood cells compared to the amount of fluid, or "plasma," in your bloodstream. Another common cause of a high red blood cell count is having a health condition that makes the amount of oxygen in your blood chronically low, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). More concerning things that can cause this would be your body making too many red blood cells without a cause, a condition called polycythemia. Only your doctor can tell you which one of these conditions may be causing your elevated red blood cells.

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.