Can Anxiety Cause High Red Blood Cell Count?

Anxiety itself does not directly cause a high red blood cell count (polycythemia). Polycythemia is a medical condition characterized by an increased number of red blood cells in the bloodstream, and it is typically caused by underlying factors unrelated to anxiety.

There are two primary types of polycythemia:

  • Primary Polycythemia (Polycythemia Vera): This is a rare disorder caused by a genetic mutation in the bone marrow that leads to an overproduction of red blood cells.
  • Secondary Polycythemia: This type is more common and can be caused by various factors, such as chronic hypoxia (low oxygen levels), living at high altitudes, smoking, certain medical conditions (e.g., chronic lung diseases, heart problems), or the use of certain medications.

While anxiety itself does not cause polycythemia, it is possible for anxiety to trigger certain physiological responses, such as increased heart rate and breathing rate, which can temporarily raise the red blood cell count. However, this is typically a transient effect and not the underlying cause of polycythemia.

If you suspect you have a high red blood cell count or are concerned about your health, it’s essential to consult with a healthcare professional. They can perform appropriate tests and examinations to determine the cause of your symptoms and provide the necessary medical advice and treatment.