If your primary care provider diagnoses you with iron deficiency or anemia, your RDW blood test showed a low count. These levels, along with other combinations of blood counts, allow your physician to determine what kind of anemia is affecting you, and why it has presented symptoms. There are over 400 anemia types, related to death of red blood cells, poor production of red blood cells or blood loss.
RDW means Red blood cell Distribution Width. The RDW blood test can calculate the sizes of red blood cell count in a sample of blood, and normally an RDW test is performed as a part of a CBC test, which means complete blood count.
The RDW blood test is dependent on the draw of another test, which is MCV, the mean corpuscle value. MCV and RDW are closely related when it comes to anemia and many other hematology disorders. The values influence each other. If you have an RDW blood test that shows normal RDW but low MCV, this can point to a chronic disease. At the same time, a lower than normal MCV along with low RDW levels can show a deficiency in iron.
Similarly, a normal MCV count along with a normal RDW can show a disorder that is chronic in nature, and a high RDW with a normal MCV may show a deficiency in vitamin B12. When the results of an RDW blood test show normal RDW levels and high MCV levels, it can be a sign of pre-leukemia.
The normal range for an RDW blood test is between eleven and fourteen percent, with the optimum level being in the thirteen percent range. When your RDW value rises above its normal levels, your physician may suspect several disorders. Doctors can use RDW counts in attempting to predict mortality, particularly in patients with cancer or cardiovascular disease. Patients who have a higher than normal level of RDW may have more overall risks to their health than patients with lower RDW values.
RDW and other blood tests are only one part of the diagnosing picture that your physician will use, and are not the main tool used for diagnosing of illness, or its prognosis. The full physical results and symptoms must also be taken into account.
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