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Red Cells and Haemaglobin

Red cells contain haemoglobin (Hb), which gives the blood its red colour and transports oxygen from the lungs to all parts of the body. The body uses this oxygen to create energy.

The normal haemoglobin range for a man is approximately 130 - 170 g/L.
The normal haemoglobin range for a woman is approximately 120 -160 g/L.

Red cells are by far the most numerous blood cell and the proportion of the blood that is occupied by blood cells is called the haematocrit. A low haematocrit suggests that the number of red cells in the blood is lower than normal.

The normal haematocrit for a man is between 40% and 52%.
The normal haematocrit for a woman is between 36% and 46%.


Anaemia is a reduction in the number of red cells or low haemoglobin. Measuring either the haematocrit or the haemoglobin will provide information regarding the degree of anaemia.

If you are anaemic you will feel run down and weak. You may be pale and short of breath or you may tire easily because your body is not getting enough oxygen. In this situation a red cell transfusion may be given to restore the red cell numbers and the haemoglobin to more normal levels.