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Red Cell magnesium


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The Magnesium RBC Blood Test is a specialized test that measures the level of magnesium present in the red blood cells. This test is considered the "gold standard" for evaluating magnesium deficiencies as it provides a more accurate reflection of the body's cellular magnesium levels compared to a standard serum magnesium test.

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Purpose of the test

The primary objective of the Magnesium RBC Blood Test is to determine the level of magnesium stored in red blood cells. This test is particularly sensitive to magnesium deficiencies and can detect them even when serum levels appear normal. It's crucial for assessing bone and muscle health, and early detection can help prevent the onset of more chronic health issues.

1. To diagnose magnesium deficiency: Magnesium deficiency can lead to several health problems, including muscle weakness, fatigue, and irregular heartbeat. The magnesium blood test can help diagnose magnesium deficiency and determine the appropriate treatment.

2. Monitor treatment of magnesium deficiency: If you have been diagnosed with magnesium deficiency, your healthcare provider may recommend that you take supplements or make dietary changes to increase your magnesium levels. The magnesium blood test can be used to monitor your response to treatment and to make sure your levels are within a healthy range.

3. To diagnose other medical conditions: Abnormal magnesium levels in the blood can be an indicator of other medical conditions such as kidney disease, diabetes, or alcoholism. The test can help diagnose these conditions and guide appropriate treatment.

4. Assess overall health: Magnesium is an essential mineral that plays a critical role in several bodily functions. A low level of magnesium in the blood may indicate an underlying health problem that needs attention.

Detecting this early with this test is important because untreated deficiencies or excesses can lead to serious health problems such as heart disease, osteoporosis, and seizures.

Failing to perform this test may result in delayed diagnosis and treatment of underlying medical conditions related to abnormal magnesium levels in the body. This could lead to serious complications and long-term health consequences.

The Magnesium Blood Test is a valuable tool in the diagnosis and management of various medical conditions related to abnormal levels of magnesium in the body. It provides important information about a patient's overall health and helps healthcare professionals make informed decisions about appropriate treatment options.

Who Should Get Tested

The test is typically ordered for individuals who might be experiencing symptoms of a magnesium deficiency. These symptoms can include cardiac arrhythmias, seizures, muscle cramping, and weakness. Additionally, those with conditions like malnourishment, alcoholism, anorexia or bulimia nervosa, diabetes, and certain gastrointestinal disorders might also be recommended for this test.

Blood Test Preparation Guidelines
Time of day
It is recommended to schedule your appointment for blood tests in the morning hours between 7:00-10:00.
It is recommended to fast for approximately 12 hours before blood sampling. The last meal of the previous day should ideally be consumed around 6:00 p.m. On the day before the test, avoid heavy and fatty meals as well as alcohol.
Stay hydrated
Drinking water prior to testing can help with sample collection.
Other factors
Tests should not be performed after a sleepless night or intense physical activity. It is recommended to avoid exercise and stress immediately before blood collection and to not smoke. A short rest is recommended.
Medications and supplements:
Blood samples should be collected before the morning dose. Some drugs can interfere with test results. Consult with your doctor whether you can delay your dose because of lab tests.
Biotin supplements:
High doses of biotin supplements can affect test results, causing false elevation or reduction. It's recommended to avoid taking biotin for at least 72 hours before blood collection. If you are taking biotin, inform the personnel collecting the blood so that they can provide specific instructions.
Interpreting Test Results

Test results are generally reported in millimoles per liter (mmol/L). A standard reference range for magnesium levels in red blood cells is between 10 and 40 mmol/L. If levels are outside this range, it may indicate a magnesium deficiency or an excess. Lower levels can be indicative of conditions like malnourishment, prolonged use of diuretics, or gastrointestinal disorders. Elevated levels might suggest issues related to kidney failure, thyroid disorders, or the intake of certain medications containing magnesium.
Interpretation of the results depends on whether the magnesium level is too high or too low:

1. Low magnesium levels (hypomagnesemia): A low level of magnesium in the blood may indicate a deficiency, which can be caused by various factors such as malnutrition, alcoholism, or certain medications. Symptoms of hypomagnesemia include muscle weakness, fatigue, and irregular heartbeat.

- Mild hypomagnesemia: 1.2-1.6 mg/dL or 0.5-0.65 mmol/L
- Moderate hypomagnesemia: 0.9-1.2 mg/dL or 0.4-0.5 mmol/L
- Severe hypomagnesemia: <0.9 mg/dL or <0.4 mmol/L

2. High magnesium levels (hypermagnesemia): High levels of magnesium in the blood may indicate excessive use of supplements or certain medications, kidney disease, or other medical conditions.

- Mild hypermagnesemia: >2.3 mg/dL or >0.95 mmol/L
- Moderate hypermagnesemia: >3 mg/dL or >1.25 mmol/L
- Severe hypermagnesemia: >4 mg/dL or >1.65 mmol/L

You should always have your results interpreted by a healthcare professional who has access to your complete medical history and other relevant information.

In general, the Magnesium Blood Test is a valuable tool for diagnosing and managing various medical conditions related to abnormal levels of magnesium in the body. The results of this test can provide valuable information to healthcare professionals about a patient's overall health and help them diagnose and treat any underlying medical conditions related to magnesium deficiency or excess.

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