Reticulocyte count, retic
This test measures the number of reticulocytes in your blood.
Reticulocytes are immature red blood cells that are still developing. The test finds out whether your bone marrow i is making red blood cells the way it should.
Red blood cells flow throughout your bloodstream. They bring in oxygen and take away carbon dioxide.
If your body doesn't make enough red blood cells, you may have a condition called anemia. Anemia can be caused by low iron levels (iron-deficiency anemia), or by having a kidney or blood disease (thalassemia) that affects your body's ability to make red blood cells.
This test can be used to diagnose anemia and find out why you have a disease. The test can also help determine how serious the disease is. The test is also used to evaluate how your bone marrow is functioning.
You may need this test if your healthcare provider suspects that you have anemia. The signs and symptoms of anemia may include:
Feeling weak and quite tired
Headaches, feeling short of breath, or chest pain
Cracks in your mouth
Swelling of your tongue
Feeling cold or numb in your hands or feet
Getting sick often
Craving nonfood substances, such as dirt or starch, which is a condition called pica
Your healthcare provider may also order other tests, including:
Complete blood count, or CBC, to measure other substances in the blood, including hematocrit, white blood cells, platelets, and hemoglobin
Blood tests to measure the levels of iron in your blood
Tests to measure the levels of hormones, including thyroid hormones, in your blood
Fecal occult blood test to check for internal bleeding
Children may have tests to measure the levels of lead in their blood.
Test results may vary depending on your age, gender, health history, the method used for the test, and other things. Your test results may not mean you have a problem. Ask your healthcare provider what your test results mean for you.
Results are given as a percentage. The normal level of reticulocytes in the blood is between 0.5% and 2%. Lower or higher levels may mean that you have a type of anemia.
The test is done with a blood sample. A needle is used to draw blood from a vein in your arm or hand.
Having a blood test with a needle carries some risks. These include bleeding, infection, bruising, and feeling lightheaded. When the needle pricks your arm or hand, you may feel a slight sting or pain. Afterward, the site may be sore.
Other factors aren't likely to affect your results.
Tell your healthcare provider about all medicines, herbs, vitamins, and supplements you are taking. This includes medicines that don't need a prescription and any illegal drugs you may use.