Hematocrit is an indicator that determines the content of red blood cells (red blood cells) in its total volume. Measured in percent. Determined by a general blood test. Hematocrit determines the ability of the blood to carry oxygen to the tissues of the body.
In adults, a lower hematocrit suggests that there is a risk of anemia. When the hematocrit is lowered, extreme caution and attention to one's health are obligatory - the reasons are ambiguous.
For the correct diagnosis, special tests are carried out to determine the percentage of red blood cells to the volume of plasma. They are able to provide information to specialists to accurately determine the causes of low hematocrit.
Before we talk about reducing the level of hematocrit in the blood, it is necessary to know the standard values of the indicator, based on gender and age of the patient.
Hematocrit rates for:
- newborn child - 44-62%;
- the child of the first year of life - 36-44%;
- children under ten years old - 37–44%;
- adult males - 40-52%;
- adult women - 30-46%.
- in most women, hematocrit during pregnancy is lowered - this is a normal consequence of an increase in total blood volume.
Since a low level of hematocrit speaks of anemia, it is natural that the causes of anemia are the factors that reduce this indicator. All factors that contribute to the development of anemia will also be the reasons for lowering hematocrit in the blood in adults.
What does hematocrit mean?
Lack of red blood cells affects the overall condition of the body. With a low hematocrit in an adult there is general malaise, high fatigue, shortness of breath, blanching of the skin, frequent heartbeat, headaches, hair loss.
This is due to the fact that the red blood cells supply nutrients and oxygen to each cell, while taking carbon dioxide. With low hematocrit, the volume of erythrocytes per liter of blood becomes less than normal, therefore, human cells experience oxygen starvation. At the same time, the acid-base balance and the mode of operation of each of the organs are disturbed.
Symptoms of low hematocrit are:
- prolonged feeling of tiredness;
- hair loss;
- pale skin.
These symptoms are clearly pronounced during pregnancy and acute anemia. However, in order to confirm the diagnosis, it is necessary to pass a blood test.
Causes of low hematocrit
Why is adult hematocrit lowered, and what does it mean? As mentioned above, anemia can cause low hematocrit. This disease occurs when there is a lack of red blood cells. Therefore, any function or action to reduce life expectancy, can directly talk about the appearance of anemia.
In addition to anemia, low hematocrit occurs:
- with very strong blood loss;
- during pregnancy;
- may be observed during prolonged stay in the prone position.
- if red blood cells form slowly;
- if blood volume is increased;
- in the process of fasting or unhealthy food;
- in cases of rapid destruction of red blood cells;
- if blood is liquefied.
Also, lower hematocrit in the blood below the norm is observed in the following diseases:
- cancer of the bone marrow, malignant tumors, leading to reduced production of red cells;
- kidney disease (renal artery stenosis, renal failure, polycystic kidney disease);
- chronic inflammatory processes;
- anemia, in which the number of red blood cells is reduced;
- diseases of the blood vessels or liver.
All data that show low hematocrit are a serious reason to conduct a full examination. But do not worry ahead of time. With the help of surveys you can identify the cause of the disease, and what exactly can cause a decrease in hematocrit. When the hematocrit is normal, and it will show the analysis, only then you can be sure that everything is normal with you.
Hematocrit during pregnancy
In women during gestation, the hematocrit may be below normal. This results from the fact that the blood volume increases at the expense of plasma. During this period, this figure may be 33%, and this is considered normal.
What to do with low hematocrit
In adults, the main principle in the treatment of low hematocrit is to eliminate the causes that caused them to fall below normal. If the cause of low hematocrit is anemia, in many cases it is enough for the patient to change his diet in order to gradually increase the level of red blood cells and hemoglobin in the blood.
To do this, it is recommended to eat more foods rich in iron, such as chicken, dried fruits, beans, eggs, red meat, offal (especially liver), seafood, greens. In addition, vitamin C intake should be increased because it improves iron absorption. In some cases, for the treatment of anemia, the doctor may recommend supplementation with iron supplements.