Hematocrit Case Study Discussion

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I. What is a Hematocrit?

A Hematocrit test measures the proportion of red blood cells in your blood. Red blood cells carry oxygen throughout your body. Having too few or too many red blood cells can be a sign that you have certain diseases. The hematocrit test, also known as a packed-cell volume test, is a simple blood test. The test is done by drawing blood from the patient into a test tube. Once that is done the test tube is put into a centrifuge and spun in high speeds. This displacement causes the formation of three layers. The bottom test tube is the red layer consisting of packed erythrocytes. The top layer is a yellowish color called plasma. These two layers will be separated by a thin white layer of leukocytes and platelets called a “buffy coat”.
II. High and Low Hematocrit
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When the levels high the patient is said to be polycythemia. If a patient’s hematocrit levels are low they are said to be anemic. High plasma levels indicate hypervolemia, while low plasma levels indicate hypovolemia. When the buffy coat has increased it may be a sign of infection. In the findings they do not show a diagnosis. The results are indication of an underlying disease or condition. The most common cause of anemia iron deficiency and vitamin B-12 and folate deficiency. These vitamins require the body to produce plenty healthy red blood cells and iron to produce hemoglobin. Other conditions that cause anemia are HIV/AIDS, cancer, kidney disease, and sickle cell anemia. Primary polycythemia is caused by unregulated erythrocyte production. Polycythemia may occur because of hypoxia. When this occurs the body senses low oxygen levels and produces more erythrocytes to carry more oxygen to the body
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