How to increase hematocrit
Are you wondering how to increase hematocrit and reverse anemia? There are many options available!
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), anemia affects 1.62 billion people all over the world. The NHS defines anemia as when the number of healthy red blood cells in a person’s blood is lower and smaller than normal. From the WHO statistic, men have the lowest risk of becoming anemic while women of child-bearing age make up the highest number of people affected by this condition.
What is hematocrit?
The hematocrit test measures the percentage and the size of red blood cells in the body. The blood is made up of red blood cells and white blood cells, but the hematocrit test determines the number of red blood cells per volume of blood. If you have anemia and need to know how to increase hematocrit, this test will determine the level of your problem.
How to measure hematocrit
To measure a person’s hematocrit, the complete blood count (CBC) is used to assess both the hematocrit and the concentration of hemoglobin. The spun crit is another simple way of measuring hematocrit.
What percentage of hematocrit is normal?
If you want to know how to increase hematocrit, you will need to understand what the normal levels are for your age, sex, where you live, pregnancy status, and the testing method you used.
These are the normal hematocrit levels according to age, sex and pregnancy:
Adult men – 45-54%
Adult women – 38-46%
Pregnant women – 36-46%
Men living in high altitudes – 46-61%
Women living in high altitudes – 41-56%
What does it mean to have a low hematocrit?
If your tests show that your hematocrit is low, it means your red blood cells are lower than the recommended percentage for your age, sex, pregnancy status and location. It also means that you may have anemia.
Since red blood cells are responsible for carrying oxygen to your organs and tissues, low levels mean that your body won’t get enough oxygen. This can make you feel tired all the time. In this case, you should talk to your doctor about the condition to find out possible treatment and the dietary changes you need to make.
Causes of low hematocrit
• A decrease in the production of red blood cells from cancer, medication and bone marrow suppression
• Bleeding or hemorrhage from ulcers, menstruation, internal bleeding
• Nutritional issues like iron deficiency and malnutrition
• Not getting enough iron in your diet
Symptoms of low hemoglobin
A complete blood count is the best way to know for sure, but before you get the test, there are other signs and symptoms that should alert you to the problem to include:
• Tiredness or fatigue
• Shortness of breath
• Pica or craving for non-food items like clay, chalk, charcoal, soap
• Cold extremities like hands and feet
• Brittle nails that break easily
• Dry skin and hair
• Sore and swollen tongue
• Heart palpitations
What can you do if you want to know how to increase hematocrit?
1. A lifestyle change
If you want to increase your hematocrit levels, you will need to give up caffeine, chocolates with high caffeine content, and foods that are high in calcium and fibre.
There are studies to back up the claim that athletes have more blood cell volume than non-athletes.
Depending on the severity of your condition, your doctor may prescribe some drugs to boost your hematocrit. These medications combat anemia by increasing the body’s ability to produce red blood cells.
If want to know how to increase hematocrit, you should know that some foods can help you get your iron levels back up. But what kinds of foods should you eat?
Iron deficiency is one of the causes of anemia, and to counteract this, you’ll have to eat foods that contain Vitamin C and iron. Vitamin C helps your body absorb iron, and that’s why you have to eat iron-rich foods like:
Leafy green vegetables
Breakfast cereals fortified with iron
• Foods that contain folate
Folate is a type of vitamin found in foods. It helps in the production of normal red blood cells. To get this vitamin, you should eat beans, whole grains, tomato juice, broccoli, okro, spinach, green leafy vegetables like ugu, orange juice, and asparagus.
• Foods rich in Vitamin B-12
If your low hematocrit is as a result of A vitamin b-12 deficiency, you will need B-12 injections alongside oral supplements. However, a few dietary changes can also go a long way. Food like eggs, red meat, fish, chicken, yoghurt, milk, and breakfast cereals like fortified cornflakes can help boost your hematocrit.
5. Blood transfusion
If you try all the tips on how to increase hematocrit and nothing works, you might need a blood transfusion. This procedure can only be done in a medical facility under the supervision of qualified medical personnel.
Final words on how to increase hematocrit
Anemia can lower a person’s quality of life. But you can overcome this condition by reading this article on how to increase hematocrit and following the steps outlined.
Read Also: Did you know about these folic acid uses?