What does an elevated hematocrit mean? What are the possible causes of high hematocrit levels?
What does an elevated hematocrit mean?
A hematocrit value above the reference range means that the ratio of erythrocytes to other blood components is higher than it should be. This means that there are too many red blood cells in the body relative to the other blood components. Below is a diagram that illustrates an elevated hematocrit level.
As you can see in the graphic – there are more blood cells in the bottom tube than the one on top. For the sake of example, I have given reference values for hematocrit in an adult woman.
What could be the causes of high hematocrit?
Causes of high hematocrit include:
- body burns
- cancerous diseases
- kidney disease
- polycythemia vera
- profuse diarrhea (causes dehydration of the body)
- profuse vomiting (causes dehydration of the body)
- excessive sweating of the body
Low hematocrit is also not a physiological condition and is associated with red cell disorders. You can read more about this in the post lowered hematocrit.
As you can see above – an increase in hematocrit can have very many causes. It does not indicate a specific cause. Therefore, if you have doubts about the cause of the laboratory result obtained – be sure to contact your primary care physician. Take care of your health, consult the results of laboratory tests, do not delay!
Disclaimer: This page is for informational purposes only. Conversion rates have been compiled based on publicly available information. All information should be confirmed and verified. The data on the site is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Any information, result, conversion should be consulted with a doctor.