Hematocrit low and high. Causes of abnormality
Each of us at least once in his life did a blood test. The purpose of the meeting, along with other characteristics of our blood, is to determine Ht, the hematocrit index. Well, if it is normal, because both high and low hematocrit indicate any pathologies in the body. However, the deviation of Ht in one direction or another does not at all mean that the subject has an incurable disease. It only means that you need to conduct a more in-depth examination and find the cause of such indicators of blood analysis.
What is hematocrit
Hematocrit (Ht) is also called a hematocrit number or value. This indicator determines what part of the unit volume of blood is the volume of red blood cells. Sometimes the number of Ht is an indicator of what part of the unit volume of blood is occupied by red blood cells with leukocytes and platelets.Taking into account the fact that red blood cells account for 99% of these three particles, the difference between the two readings is very small. Hematocrit is measured in percent, less often in milliliters per liter. In the latter case, the indicator is calculated to the second decimal place. For example, 35% = 0.35 = 350 ml of red blood cells per liter of blood.
In addition to the blood index, hematocrit is also called a special measuring device - a thin glass tube with a scale. With its help, the level of red blood cells, leukocytes and platelets in the blood is measured.
It is believed that the average value of normal hematocrit for men is in the range of 0.4 - 0.48, and for women in the range of 0.36 - 0.46. Although some physicians are inclined to believe that for men between the ages of 15 years, readings of Ht 0.35-0.5, and for women (also from 15 years), 0.34-0.47 is also the norm. There is also a gradation of Ht relative to the age of the patient. The younger the person, the lower the hematocrit readings. In newborns, hematocrit is usually 20 percent higher than in adults. This is considered normal. Gradually, babies experience a decrease in hematocrit, and by about a year or two, its value becomes slightly lower than in adults. In addition to age, the size of erythrocytes affects the Ht value.There are various reasons due to which the level of red blood cells increases or decreases. For example, iron deficiency causes a reduction in the size of red blood cells. In this case, their volume and, consequently, the readings of Ht will be low, but their total number per unit volume of blood may be normal.
Than hematocrit increased
By analogy with hemoglobin, some patients tend to assume that only hematocrit is lowered is dangerous. However, if its number is equal to or higher than 0.55, it is necessary to conduct additional examinations. A high level of red blood cells in the blood leads to its thickening and contributes to the formation of blood clots. Elevated hematocrit can be caused by various diseases, such as: diseases of the hematopoietic system; tumors in the uterus; adrenal gland diseases; diseases of the lungs and kidneys; extensive burns; peritonitis. In healthy people, such a state of blood can be observed:
- high in the mountains, where the atmosphere is rare;
- at open-hearth furnaces or with a long stay in the zone of high temperatures;
- during dehydration.
Causes of Low Hematocrit
Low hematocrit can be caused by the following reasons:
- cancer of the bone marrow;
- cirrhosis of the liver;
- Acquired or hereditary anemia;
- bleeding, large blood loss;
- pathological hemolysis (erythrocyte rupture);
- transplantation of an artificial heart valve;
- violations in the system of reproduction of hemoglobin;
- overhydration (when a person receives a lot of liquid drugs intravenously);
- chemical poisoning (fungi, bites of poisonous insects and snakes, and others);
- lack of iron in the body, vitamin B12 or folic acid;
- improper nutrition;
- the last months of pregnancy.
What is dangerous low hematocrit
Red blood cells - red blood cells - are very important for human life, as they are suppliers of nutrients and oxygen to all cells of the body. Also, erythrocytes take carbon dioxide from their cells. If the hematocrit is lowered, that is, the volume of red blood cells per liter of blood is less than the norm, the cells of the human body experience oxygen starvation, the acid-base balance is disturbed and the order of work of all organs. If Ht is much lower than normal, the person may experience general malaise, high fatigue, shortness of breath, and frequent headaches. The most common cause of low hematocrit is anemia.Many people are not serious enough about such a diagnosis, because in the first stages nothing hurts. However, anemia (or even say - anemia) is a syndrome of a number of diseases. Pregnant women have a low hematocrit due to the fact that a large amount of iron is consumed for the formation of the erythrocytes of the future baby. Its lack of mom leads to a decrease in the formation of its own red blood cells and, as a consequence, the development of anemia.
What to do if hematocrit is higher or lower than normal
If the results of the blood test showed that the hematocrit is low or high, do not panic. Doctors will definitely conduct additional examinations to find out the reason for the deviation from the norm. If necessary, treatment is prescribed, but often, especially with low hematocrit, the patient is required to organize proper nutrition, including all the necessary vitamins, as well as to reconsider his attitude to smoking and alcohol. Pregnant women who have low Ht due to iron deficiency are prescribed medications containing this element. As a rule, the use of drugs as prescribed by a physician fully restores the hematocrit in the blood.