Can stress cause high red blood cell count?
No, anxiety itself does not directly cause an increase in red blood cell count. Red blood cells are a type of cell found in the body that is responsible for delivering oxygen throughout the body and other organs. High levels of red blood cells, or erythrocytosis, can be a sign of certain medical conditions such as heart or lung disease. However, anxiety can potentially lead to some physiological symptoms that may mimic the symptoms of certain medical conditions. Such anxiety-induced symptoms may include rapid breathing, increased heart rate, chest tightness, and elevated blood pressure.
Although high red blood cell count is not caused directly by anxiety alone, it is possible that underlying physical health issues could be triggered by stress or excessive worrying. For example, if an individual was already at risk for developing a cardiovascular condition due to family history or lifestyle habits and then experienced a significant amount of stress due to anxiety or other sources, they may be at higher risk of developing an illness that can result in abnormally high levels of red blood cells.
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