Jun 15, 2004
In the past few weeks, I have been feeling increasingly fatigued. I went to my doctor to discuss. She did labs and all was well except I had a Red Blood Count of 3.8. My physician did not mention this as being a problem, but I wanted to ask you. Does a low RBC count alone mean you are anemic? Everything else on my labs was normal.
Response from Dr. Conway
In general terms, it depends. Usually, we diagnose anemia as a low hemoglobin level, which most often corresponds to a low total reb blood cell count. There are many other measures that come with a CBC (or complete blood count), including whether the red cells are larger or smaller than normal, or if they countain more or less hemoglobin per cell than normal. Often, if the values of hemoglobin and reb blood cell count are near the lower limit of normal, it is not uncommon for one or other measure to drop slighty below normal on one test (the others remaining normal), and then return to normal the next time it is measured. This may be the case here.
Based on the information you are giving me, we can't conclude you are anemic. I would advise you to discuss with your doctor whether the best thing to do is just to do the test once again, and review the things that may be going on (including the medications you are taking) that may predispose you to be anemic.
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