What does RDW High Mean in Your Blood Test Result

What is RDW in Blood Test and Normal Range?

Most of the time we fear hearing highfaluting terms of abbreviation that are medical in nature. Let’s take for example Red Blood Cell Distribution Width or simply known as RDW. The addition of the term “width” at the end means it is a measurement of what is being described. Therefore, it can be high, low or normal range. In addition, it is directly related to blood testing which would normally make us worrisome if not cringe at the thought of extracting it from our arm for testing. It is for volume and size of red blood cells which may differ person to person depending on age and condition.

RDW mean in a blood test can be very vague unless explained in layman’s terms. It is composed of measurement and range as reference to determine a cause or presence of a disease in a person. This measures the size of red blood cells in different variants. We may also encounter MCV which means mean corpuscular volume when a doctor discusses a laboratory test.

Further Reading: MCH,MCHC

With the advancement of science and technology, there are available instruments that are highly capable of producing result and analyzing the sample of blood and detect pulses from red blood cells. It is calculated by dividing the total number of red blood cells over total number of it. In short, it means  to measure red blood cell volume and size.

  1. Normal RDW will show between 10.1% to 14.5% in a laboratory test result but would still depend on the apparatus used for the blood examination.
  2. Measurement can be coefficient variation or CV.
  3. Another measurement can be standard deviation or what we can see as SD or RDW-SD.

Tests can be obtained in hospital’s laboratories as part of the ordinary complete blood count. Indication of RDW Result can be high and low with corresponding percentage. This is very vital in gathering necessary information to understand the origins of anemia or be aware of other blood disorder.

  1. More than 14.5% means higher than normal range which may indicate more variation. As an example, if both RDW and MCV are high then it can be an indication that anemia is rooting from lack of folate that helps the body to make DNA and added genetic quantifiable. It could also mean that liver is not functioning as it is supposed to.
  2. When lower than normal, it is usually below 10.2%. Having normal RDW and MCV though does not necessarily mean that there is nothing wrong. This can indicate the following: anemia of chronic disease, anemia of renal disease, acute blood loss or hemolysis.
  3. We mentioned MCV which means mean corpuscular volume. This is indication also that high or low RDW can yield high, low and normal MCV to correlate in conclusion of condition, disease and some disorders.

Depending on the result of laboratory tests and interpretation of a professional or medical representative, there could be implication on health such as iron and folate deficiency, liver disease, and hemolytic anemia. One result example is if it is high RDW and low MCV, it could indicate severe anemia which requires medical attention. Again, leading a healthier lifestyle would improve quality of life and these methods and processes help us determine that which we can start, stop, and continue in our lifestyle. Taking iron rich food and supplement is a way to increase red blood cell count. This is same when taking folic acid though supplement. A vitamin is one of a cluster of components made up partly of element that are indispensable in small amounts for usual bodily operative and chemical procedures in the body to take part. We need to incorporate diet modifications and vitamin intake to get balanced RDW. Liver takes part in removing toxic matters from blood by clarifying them. We must take care of what goes in our body which can damage these organs. In the end, RDW helps us determine what needs most attention in our body to lead us to better and healthier selves.

The information here does not claim to be encompassing of the topic but may help lead one reader to the next step to take and in which case to always seek professional guidance in the medical field. That is the most important of all. Scientists use these terminologies and going to a doctor may ease in understanding the indication and implication of such laboratory results especially if there is a possibility of causes of result such as recent hemorrhage. Always choose well known or trusted clinics and hospitals to get RDW to avoid false reading if a certain blood was put to test as on rare occasions it can happen.