What Is a HCT Blood Test?

Submitted by Nic on October 18, 2012

Blood is used in the human body to transport many substances around the body. Blood also helps with the maintenance of temperature in the human body. The makeup of the blood itself is crucial when one wishes to understand the state of an individual's health. Blood is one of the first things that are tested when one wishes to check the various parameters of an individual's health. The complete blood count or CBC test is therefore performed on nearly every individual who is ill or who wishes to have their health assessed. The complete blood count test uses a sample of blood drawn from a vein in the upper forearm. This blood is then analyzed in a laboratory to determine some of its important characteristics. One of the measurements made during a complete blood count test is the hematocrit.

A hematocrit blood test or an HCT blood test is a test where the total volume of red blood cells is checked vis-a-vis the volume of blood that has been drawn. The HCT blood test is therefore used to determine how much of the blood drawn is made up of red blood cells. There are two factors that are variables when it comes to the HCT blood test results. The number of red blood cells in the blood is one such factor. The other factor is the size of each red blood cell. Also read more on MCH blood test.

The term anemia literally means a lack of blood. This term is used to refer to patients who report with HCT blood test low results. The patient may also experience HCT blood test high results which could lead to other disorders. The normal range for HCT blood test results is between 42% and 54% for adult males while it is between 35% and 45% for adult females. Typically, any value that falls in the middle of the range is considered to be healthy. During childhood, the values change for the different ages that a child passes through. The normal range for HCT blood test results will therefore be different for children.

There are many conditions that can affect the level detected in the HCT blood test. Anemia may be caused by chronic bleeding due to some internal or external injury. Anemia may also occur as a result of improper diet where the individual has a deficiency of vitamin B12, iron, folate or all of these nutrients. Some individuals suffer from bone marrow problems which hinder the production of red blood cells as well. This will affect the readings of the HCT blood test.

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