Blood is a liquid tissue that runs throughout our body and is composed mainly of red and white blood cells and platelets.
Red blood cells, also known as erythrocytes or red blood cells, have a pigment that gives our blood its color. Red blood cells also contain a protein called hemoglobin, which is responsible for carrying oxygen from the lungs throughout the body.
This work of providing the entire body with something as vital as oxygen, gives red blood cells a capital importance in our health. For this reason, it is important to know the number of red blood cells that we have in the blood and doing an analysis of the components of the blood is what is necessary to know it.
Hematocrit is a test that measures the percentage of red blood cells in the blood. When you do a complete blood count or blood count, this test is part of the measurement to indicate the number of red blood cells.
Knowing the percentage of hematocrit is important, as it helps to know if you have blood problems, if you are dehydrated or have another medical condition. So to know for sure, if we are healthy or not, it is essential to know if we have the level of low hematocrit and what it means for our health.
As we mentioned before, it is a percentage that indicates the number of red blood cells in relation to the overall volume of the blood.
For example, a hematocrit of 50% indicates that 50% of the overall volume of the blood is made up of red blood cells. The level is used to identify blood disorders, which can be caused by having a low or high hematocrit level.
A low hematocrit may suggest a anemia, while a tall one may suggest a polycythemia vera. In other words, if you have anemia, there are not enough red blood cells in your blood, whereas if you have polycythemia vera, you have too many red blood cells.
Normal or recommended values
The percentage of normal or recommended hematocrit varies from one medical laboratory to another, but is usually within the following ranges:
- For Men, the percentage ranges from 38 to 54%.
- For Women, it ranges from 35 to 48%.
- For Children, from 37 to 45%.
These values for the percentage are for reference only.
What does a low Hematocrit percentage mean?
Having a low hematocrit percentage is typical of anemia and many times, it means that hemoglobin is also low. This is due to the close relationship between hemoglobin, existing in red blood cells, and hematocrit.
A low percentage can indicate:
- Insufficient presence of red blood cells.
- Mineral deficiency, such as iron.
- Vitamin deficiency, such as B12 or folic acid.
- Recent or long-standing bleeding.
- High volume of white blood cells from an infection, a long illness, or a disorder in the white blood cells, such as lymphoma or leukemia.
In fact, anemias are mostly due to one of these five causes, which we just mentioned. The most common anemias are:
- Iron deficiency anemia, which is caused by a lack of iron, the most common of all.
- Post-hemorrhagic anemia, caused by severe bleeding.
- Megaloblastic anemia, produced by vitamin deficiency As the folic acid wave b12 vitamin.
- Aplastic anemia, due to a dysfunction of the bone marrow.
- Hemolytic anemia and thalassemias, motivated by failures in the production of hemoglobin.