Packed Red Blood Cells

Packed red blood cells are red blood cells that have been collected, processed, and stored in bags. They are used as blood product units available for blood transfusion purposes.

Packed red blood cells are normally abbreviated as RBC, pRBC, PRBC. RBCs are used to restore oxygen-carrying capacity to the blood of patients suffering from an anemia due to a trauma or other medical problems.

Packed red blood cells are by far the most common blood component used in transfusion medicine.

Mixed with an anticoagulant and storage solution, packed red blood cells are stored up to 42 days at refrigerated temperatures. This mix provides nutrients and aims to preserve viability and functionality of the cells.

Red Blood Cell Count Levels

Blood test results should always be interpreted by health care professionals such as your doctor. However, it is also a good idea to have some background knowledge about blood tests. A blood test is ordered by a doctor to help make diagnosis easier. To perform a blood test, qualified medical personnel will extract a blood sample in a vein in the upper extremity via finger prick or using a syringe. The basic blood test will check for electrolytes in the body. It could also examine your blood glucose level, complete blood count, and liver enzyme levels.

Here is a simple explanation of a blood test result. This explanation does not intend to replace the explanation provided by qualified medical professionals. Sodium is important for maintaining water balance in the body. If you have a kidney problem, diarrhea or taking diuretics, you may have low sodium level. An increase in the level of potassium could mean that you have a renal disease. Potassium is also important in the functioning of heart, so an abnormal value could indicate possible heart trouble. If you have an abnormally low or high bicarbonate level, this might indicate problems in the lungs and kidney.

Blood glucose amount is usually examined to determine if you have diabetes. If you have a very low blood glucose level, you could be diagnosed with hypoglycemia. This condition is characterized by fainting, dizziness, weakness and collapse. Meanwhile, a complete blood count will determine the levels of red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets, hematocrit, and hemoglobin in your body. If you have very low level of white blood cells, this means that you have an infection. If your platelet count is very low, you may bleed easily. If your red blood cell count is abnormally very low, you may be suffering from anemia.

Knowing your liver enzyme levels is important to determine if you have a healthy liver. If your serum glutamic-pyruvic transaminase (sGPT) and glutamic-oxaloacetic transaminase (sGOT) levels are both very high, this could mean that your liver cells are damaged, as in the case with viral hepatitis.

Jessica Watson is a health writer for Come visit today and signup to our FREE newsletter and receive 10% off your next blood test!

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MCHC Blood Test

A MCHC blood test is performed to test a person for anemia. MCHC (Mean Corpuscular Hemoglobin Concentration) is the calculation of the average hemoglobin inside a red blood cell.

A MCHC test can be performed along with a MCV test (Mean Corpuscular Volume). Both levels are used to test people for anemia. The MCHC blood test is also known as the MCH blood test which tests the levels of hemoglobin in the blood.

The MCHC blood test can be ordered as part of a complete blood count (CBC) test. Other components of the CBC test include White Blood Cell Count (WBC), Red Blood Cell Count (RBC), Platelet Count, Hemoglobin, MCV, Hematocrit and White Blood Cell Differential. Keep in mind that MCHC results will be different for children and for babies.

If the MCHC blood test results are high or low it often indicates a problem. If the levels fall between the normal range, the person does not have to worry about being anemic. However, a low MCHC count does not provide a doctor with enough information to make a correct diagnosis and other tests may also be recommended to help the doctor make a specific diagnosis and for the correct treatment to be started. A low MCHC count may indicate anemia but several other factors will have to be taken into consideration before coming to this conclusion. MCHC is measured in grams per deciliter.

Normal readings for MCHC are 31 grams per deciliter to 35 grams per deciliter.

A MCHC blood test may be ordered when a person is showing signs of fatigue or weakness, when there is an infection, is bleeding or bruising easily or when there is an inflammation. As mentioned earlier, this test is a blood test and therefore blood is taken from a vein in the person’s hand or arm. If MCHC test results are high or elevated, chances are that the person is suffering from macrocytic anemia.

Folic acid deficiency, liver disease, hereditary spherocytes, or a vitamin B12 deficiency could be responsible for this kind of anemia. Elevated levels may also appear in burn patients. If MCHC levels are low, the person may be suffering from iron deficiency anemia or thalassemia. Further investigations will be carried out in such case to see whether the person has a problem absorbing iron, if the person has internal bleeding, any gastrointestinal tract tumors or even if the person has a condition which prevents the absorption of iron.

CBC Blood Test

The CBC blood test is formally known as the Complete Blood Count and it is primarily used as a wide-ranging screening test for a number of disorders. In reality, it is made up of several tests that are used to check the various components of the blood. These tests include the Red Blood Cell (RBC) Count, White Blood Cell (WBC) Count, White Blood Cell Differential, Hematocrit, Mean Corpuscular Volume (MCV), Hemoglobin, Platelet Count, Red Cell Distribution Width (RDW), and Mean Corpuscular Hemoglobin Concentration (MCHC).

The CBC blood test is usually ordered for routine physical exams or when a patient is exhibiting symptoms that may indicate an infection, bleeding, or inflammation. In the latter case, an abnormally high level of WBC may agree with the suspicion that an infection is present and the doctor will order further tests. An abnormally low level of RBC may signal to the physician that the patient may be suffering from anemia, while an abnormal platelet count may signify hemorrhage.

It should be pointed out that abnormal values usually require additional tests because a number of possibilities have to be eliminated. For example, when the WBC level is abnormally high, it may indicate an inflammation, infection, leukemia or cancer. If the WBC level is too low, it may signify an infection, autoimmune disorder, bone marrow problems, or that the patient is taking a medication that can reduce WBC levels. The MCV may be abnormally low because of thalassemia or iron deficiency and it may be too high because of the lack of folate or Vitamin B12. The platelet level may be too low when there is bleeding somewhere in the body. On the other hand, it may be too high because of chemotherapy, leukemia, hypersplenism, pernicious anemia or systemic lupus erythematosus.

It should be noted that the normal ranges will be different for children and babies. There are no requirements before taking test although it is recommended not to eat a fatty meal right before having your blood sample taken.

Jessica Watson is a health writer for Come visit today and signup to our FREE newsletter and receive 10% off your next blood test!

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Why Kidney Failure Patients Should Pay Attention To Their Potassium Intake

Patients experiencing kidney failure should take care of their potassium intake since they are at a high risk for potassium metabolism disturbance. The kidneys help in the maintenance of normal serum-potassium level by removing excess potassium from the body. A person is most likely going to experience high levels of potassium in the body if the kidneys do not work effectively.

Patients with chronic kidney disease should limit their intake of potassium as this will help them to reduce the risk of fatigue, cramping, confusion, muscle weakness, myasthenia, arrhythmia, nerve damages, digestive problems, nausea, vomiting and stomach pain.

For patients who have lost about 50% kidney function, their diets should be low-fat, low-protein, and low-potassium. This is because the body cannot effectively remove excessive electrolytes and water from their blood. Therefore, proper diets help in reducing kidney burdens and also slow down the rate of kidney function decline.

NOTE: it is important to note here, that not all kidney disease sufferers will have high potassium levels. The majority will, but definitely not all. Therefore it is crucial that when you visit with your doctor you get your blood potassium levels checked! As you may be in a small percentage of people that can consume potassium freely.

For kidney disease patients, high concentrations of potassium can cause cardiac arrhythmia, metabolic acidosis, low blood calcium and muscle weakness. This can stop the heart from beating resulting in death.

The Recommended Potassium Intake For Kidney Disease Patients

Though the allowed amount of potassium varies from case to case, it should generally range between 1500mg-2700mg daily. Foods that have more than 250mg of potassium per serving are high potassium foods. The most common foods that are rich in potassium include salmon, lobster, tomatoes, potatoes, legumes, beans, beet, dried fruits and avocados. Kidney disease patients should therefore stay away from consuming these foods.

Foods To Choose

Most, if not all, foods contain some potassium. Kidney disease patients should therefore aim foods that have less than 250mg per serving. Examples of foods low in potassium include chicken, eggs, grapes, onions, green peas, berries, plums, raspberries, tangerine, kales, peaches and asparagus.

Foods To Reduce/Avoid

Foods that have more than 250mg of potassium per single serving are considered to be rich in potassium. Most dairy products and vegetables contain high levels of potassium. Examples of foods that should be reduced or avoided include black-eyed peas, avocados, corn, spinach, potatoes, bananas, apples, kiwi fruit, water melon, beans and oranges.


Too much potassium in the body can cause irregular heartbeat. As the kidney disease is being treated, the patient should reduce his intake since the kidney cannot remove the excess potassium.

Apart from doing away with foods rich in potassium completely, the patient can alternatively remove the potassium by soaking the vegetables in water. The ions will then seep out, after which he can then cook and eat the vegetables. This method is called “potassium leaching”.