If you are reading this, chances are you don’t know what hematocrit is yet (or even how to pronounce it). You’re not alone. Hematocrit [huh-ma-tuh-krit] is the amount of red blood cells in your blood. Hematocrit test results, or hematocrit levels, are given as a percentage of the total volume of your blood. This is related to hemoglobin, which is measured every time you donate blood.
Hemoglobin vs. Hematocrit
Your hematocrit level is important because having too many or too few red blood cells can cause health problems. You also need to have the right amount of hemoglobin within your red blood cells. Hemoglobin delivers oxygen to your organs and tissues and carries carbon dioxide back to the lungs to be expelled.
A hemoglobin test measures the amount of hemoglobin in your blood. Normal hemoglobin range for adult males is 13.5 to 17.5 grams per deciliter (g/dL); for adult females it is 12.0 to 15.5 g/dL.
Females need at least 12.5 g/dL to safely donate blood, males need 13.0 g/dL. For the automated donation known as Power Red, where two units of red cells are donated as opposed to one, hemoglobin levels need to be higher.
Donating blood can help monitor your health
Every time you donate blood, you receive a mini-physical where not only is your hemoglobin checked, but also your blood pressure, pulse and cholesterol levels. You will also find out your blood type.
Test results are posted in your private online donor account, so you can keep track of this information and share it with your health care provider.
Every 2 seconds, someone in the U.S. needs blood. Your blood donations are truly lifesaving, no matter your blood type. All blood types are constantly needed to keep the blood supply well-stocked for hospital patients.