ZocdocAnswersDoes your red blood cell count rise as you age?

Question

Does your red blood cell count rise as you age?

I am a 62 year old male with a HGB of 17.1 a HCT of 51.1 and a RBC of 5.84

Answer

You are definitely correct that your blood counts are a bit on the high side for your age. Actually, blood counts tend to fall a bit in older adults, not rise. So this is definitely a bit abnormal. There are several different possible causes for having an elevated red blood cell count in someone your age, and you should definitely discuss these results with your primary care doctor to see if any additional workup needs to be done. Sometimes, if a blood draw occurs on a day that you are sick, the counts can be elevated because you may be somewhat dehydrated. In this case, usually the only thing that is needed is to repeat the counts when you are feeling better to make sure that they are lower. In terms of medical causes of a high red blood cell count, the most common causes are those which stimulate increased red blood cell production, usually because of chronically low oxygen levels in the blood. For example, older adults with lung or heart disease, who typically have low oxygen levels, will tend to have higher red blood cell counts. Also, there is a condition called polycythemia vera, which is a bone marrow disease, which can result in high blood counts. Talk to your doctor about these lab findings and about what you should do!

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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