A Note About Sex And Gender
Sex and gender exist on spectrums. This article will use the terms, male, female, or both to refer to sex assigned at birth. .
RBCs are the most common component of human blood. The cells contain hemoglobin, a protein that carries oxygen around the body. Hemoglobin is also responsible for bloods red color.
Having a low RBC count can cause symptoms that may include:
- people taking blood thinners
Heavy periods can cause iron deficiency anemia due to increased blood loss, but iron deficiency anemia in pregnancy is usually the result of a deficiency of iron in the diet.
Anemia is also common in young children. This is also often due to a lack of iron in their diet. The World Health Organization estimates that globally, 42% of children under the age of 5 years old are anemic. Older adults may also be more likely to have a low RBC count due to malnutrition.
People following restrictive diets as a means for weight loss are also at risk of having a low RBC count. This is common in young females.
Eating disorders can severely affect the quality of life of people living with these conditions and those close to them. Early intervention and treatment greatly improve the likelihood of recovery.
Anyone who suspects that they or a loved one has an eating disorder can contact the National Eating Disorder Association for advice and support via:
- phone or text at 800-931-2237
- online chat, by going to this link
Many other resources are available, including:
Bleeding And Low Platelet Counts
A mild or moderate decrease in platelet counts usually doesn’t cause bleeding. However, if you have a severely low platelet count, you may experience:
- Excessive bleeding from cuts or bruises
- Pinhead-sized bleeding points in the skin, called petechiae, especially on the lower legs and ankles
- Black-and-blue spots on the skin from minor bumps without any apparent injury
- Reddish or pinkish urine
- Black or bloody bowel movements
- Bleeding from the gums or nose
- Pain in joints and muscles
Once therapy is completed and the platelet count is restored to a sufficient level, these side effects rapidly fade. However, if you need to receive additional treatment and your platelet count remains low, you may need a platelet transfusion. Certain medications can weaken the platelets and worsen bleeding problems as well.
Can I Take The Test At Home
Most CBC and RBC tests are done in a medical setting, and limited options are available for taking these tests at home.
In some cases, you may be able to take an RBC count with a self-collection test. In this type of test, you use an at-home kit to prick your finger and place a drop of blood on a special test paper. You then mail this blood sample to a laboratory where it can be analyzed, and your results are delivered through a website or smartphone app.
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What Is A Low Red Blood Cell Count
A low red blood cell count is a condition known as anemia.There are three causes of anemia:
- Blood loss due to wounds, lesions, ulcers, hemorrhoids, inflammation of the stomach, and cancers of the gastrointestinal tract.
- Faulty or decreased red blood cell production due to sickle cell anemia, iron deficiency anemia, vitamin deficiency anemia, and diseases of the bone marrow and stem cells.
- Excessive destruction of red blood cells.
Treatment Of The Cause Of The Anemia
Depending on the cause of the anemia, treatment may include:
- stopping certain medications that cause the anemia
- taking certain medications such as immunosuppressants, synthetic erythropoietin , corticosteroids
- analgesics to alleviate painful symptoms as in sickle cell disease
- in the most serious cases, bone marrow transplants, blood transfusions, removal of the spleen.
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Other Tests For Evaluation Of Anemia
Serum bilirubin and lactate dehydrogenase can sometimes help differentiate between hemolysis and blood loss both are elevated in hemolysis and normal in blood loss. Other tests, such as vitamin B12 and folate levels and iron and iron binding capacity, are done depending on the suspected cause of anemia. Other tests are discussed under specific anemias and bleeding disorders.
Reporting And Interpreting The Results
Your CBC test results are usually reported along with a reference range of expected or desired values to help guide your doctor in interpreting them. Reference ranges reflect the numeric values found in healthy people however, a small number of healthy people have values that are higher or lower than the ones shown in the reference range. Thus, values higher or lower than those in the reference range might or might not indicate a medical condition.
In addition to the reference range, your doctor will consider other factors when interpreting your CBC test results. These factors include your personal and family medical history, results from a physical exam, and other test results. Your doctor will also consider factors that might cause an incorrect test result such as improper sample collection or handling. Therefore, its important that you talk with your doctor about the meaning of your test results.
This brochure includes a brief description of the items included in the CBC test report. The descriptions can help you understand your results so you can have a more meaningful discussion with your doctor. Additionally, items in the CBC are summarized in the table at the end of this brochure for quick reference.
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What Diseases Cause Blood Loss
The main causes of blood loss in dogs include:
- trauma or injury to blood vessels or damage to internal organs, causing persistent bleeding
- heavy infestations of blood-sucking parasites, such as fleas, ticks, and hookworms
- tumors of the intestinal tract, kidneys, urinary bladder, and spleen that begin to bleed
- diseases that prevent proper blood clotting
Expert Review And References
- Understanding chemotherapy: a guide for patients and families. American Cancer Society. American Cancer Society. American Cancer Society 2013.
- Anemia. American Society of Clinical Oncology . Cancer.Net. Alexandria, VA.: American Society of Clinical Oncology 2009.
- Camp-Sorrell, D. Chemotherapy toxicities and management. Yarbro, CH, Wujcki D, & Holmes Gobel B. . Cancer Nursing: Principles and Practice. 7th ed. Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett 2011: 17: pp. 458-503.
- Haas ML. Radiation therapy: toxicities and management. Yarbro, CH, Wujcki D, & Holmes Gobel B. . Cancer Nursing: Principles and Practice. 7th ed. Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett 2011: 14: 312-351.
- Hockenberry MJ, Kline NE. Nursing support of the child with cancer. Pizzo, P. A. & Poplack, D. G. . Principles and Practice of Pediatric Oncology. 6th ed. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins 2011: 43:1288-1304.
- Hospital for Sick Children. AboutKidsHealth: Side Effects of Chemotherapy. Toronto, ON: Hospital for Sick Children 2009.
- Panzarella C, Rasco-Baggott C, Comeau, M., et al. Management of disease and treatment-related complications. Baggott, C. R., Kelly, K. P., Fochtman, D. et al. Nursing Care of Children and Adolescents with Cancer. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, PA: W. B. Saunders Company 2002: 11:279-319.
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Red Blood Cells & Your Cat’s Health
Red blood cells carry oxygen to a cats tissues. Hemoglobin are molecules that carry the oxygen within red blood to cells, which then use the energy the body needs to perform normal day to day activities.
Throughout this process, carbon dioxide is left behind as a waste product. Your cat’s red blood cells carry the carbon dioxide away from the tissues back to the lungs, where your cat exhales it.
What Causes Low Red Blood Cells
Causes of low red blood cells include:
- Loss of large amounts of blood: most common cause of iron deficiency anemia
- Inadequate dietary iron intake: seen more often in developing countries where there is a lack of foods containing iron, though it can also occur in infants who drink milk without iron
- Pregnancy and the postpartum period: may occur due to the increased iron requirements of a growing fetus and placenta and blood loss during delivery
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What Are The Symptoms Of Low Blood Counts
The symptoms of bone marrow failure diseases like aplastic anemia, MDS and PNH are caused by low blood counts. The specific symptoms depend on which type of blood cell is affected. Read the section below to see the symptoms for each type of cell.
You may have many of these symptoms or just one or two of them. And you may get a new symptom at any point in the course of your illness.
A low red blood cell count is called anemia. If you have a low red blood cell count, you may:
- Feel a little tired or very tired.
- Feel less alert or have trouble concentrating.
- Have a loss of appetite or lose weight.
- Have paler-than-normal skin.
How Does Anemia Affect The Body
Anemia can have other affects on your body in addition to feeling tired or cold. Other signs that you might be lacking in iron include having brittle or spoon-shaped nails and possible hair loss. You might find that your sense of taste has changed, or you might experience ringing in your ears.
Different types of anemia may lead to other serious problems. People with sickle cell anemia often have heart and lung complications.
If you have anemia that is not treated, it could lead to an arrhythmia , an enlarged heart or heart failure. You are also at greater risk of getting infections and becoming depressed.
You might have heard that iron deficiency is linked to chewing ice, which does happen. Chewing ice is a sign of pica, a condition that includes eating things that are not really food, like chalk or dirt. So pica is also a sign of iron deficiency. It is often seen in children with anemia.
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Bone Marrow Aspiration And Biopsy
Bone marrow aspiration and biopsy provide direct observation and assessment of RBC precursors. The presence of abnormal maturation of blood cells and the amount, distribution, and cellular pattern of iron content can be assessed. Bone marrow aspiration and biopsy are usually not indicated in the evaluation of anemia and are only done when one of the following conditions is present:
More than one cell lineage abnormality
Suspected primary bone marrow disorder
Cytogenetic and molecular analyses can be done on aspirate material in hematopoietic or other tumors or in suspected congenital lesions of RBC precursors . Flow cytometry can be done in suspected lymphoproliferative or myelodysplastic states to define the immunophenotype. Bone marrow aspiration and biopsy are not technically difficult and do not pose significant risk of morbidity. These procedures are safe and helpful when hematologic disease is suspected. Bone marrow aspiration and biopsy are usually can be done as a single procedure. Because biopsy requires adequate bone depth, the sample is usually taken from the posterior iliac crest. If myeloma is suspected or there is severe osteoporosis, an ultrasound-guided biopsy is done because it is the safest to avoid penetrating the pelvis.
Can Anemia Affect My Weight
Having enough iron may also be a factor in weight issues. Studies have found overweight people might lose weight if they address low iron in the blood. You might experience unintentional weight loss along with anemia if you have other conditions, such as cancer. People who have had weight loss surgery might become anemic due to vitamin and mineral deficiencies.
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Can I Prevent Anemia Of Inflammation
Experts have not yet found a way to prevent anemia of inflammation. For some chronic conditions that cause inflammation, treatments may be available to reduce or prevent the inflammation that can lead to anemia. Talk with your doctor about treatments and follow the treatment plan your doctor recommends.
Anemia Causes And Treatments
Red blood cells contain hemoglobin, a protein that enables the blood to carry oxygen to every part of the body. Anemia develops when the body does not produce enough red blood cells or red cells are lost due to bleeding or other causes. In people with anemia, the blood is unable to supply enough oxygen to the body. This is also known as “low hemoglobin” or “low hgb.”
There are many possible causes of anemia. Symptoms of anemia can include:
- Shortness of Breath
Anemia can be a temporary problem or a chronic condition. Milder anemia can be treated with dietary changes, iron replacement and vitamin supplementation.
Patients with more severe anemia may receive various medications to boost red cell production or inhibit red cell destruction. Patients with very low red blood cell counts may require blood transfusion.
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Inherited And Acquired Conditions
Hereditary conditions such as sickle cell anemia or thalassemias can cause your body to destroy too many red blood cells, causing anemia .
Immune disorders, infections, certain medicines, or reactions to blood transfusions, can increase red blood cell destruction and cause hemolytic anemia .
Some infants are born without the ability to make enough red blood cells. This condition is called aplastic anemia. Infants and children who have aplastic anemia often need blood transfusions to increase the number of red blood cells in their blood .
Acquired conditions or factors, such as certain medicines, toxins, and infectious diseases, also can cause aplastic anemia .
Which Foods Should I Eat And Which Foods Should I Avoid If I Have Anemia
With anemia, making good food choices is important. Eating junk food means you are getting calories without nutrients. You also have to consider other medical conditions that you have when you make your food choices.
Some things have been shown to impair iron absorption. You should not take calcium and iron supplements at the same time. In addition, you may want to avoid or limit these items:
- Tannin-containing items like coffee, tea and some spices.
In general, you should eat iron-rich foods and foods that provide vitamins B12, B9 and C. This means that you can enjoy plenty of good food that is for you, whether you eat meat or not. You can get iron from plant sources like lentils, spinach and pistachios. You can get iron from protein sources like lean beef and turkey. Whole grains and dark leafy vegetables are good sources of B vitamins. Some foods are even fortified with iron.
Citrus fruits, berries and other vitamin C-containing foods like peppers and tomatoes improve iron consumption. It is a good idea to get advice from your healthcare provider or perhaps from a registered dietitian about the best ways to eat when you have anemia. Also, make sure that grapefruit does not interfere with any of your medications.
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Mean Corpuscular Hemoglobin Concentration
MCHC indicates the amount of hemoglobin per unit volume of the red blood cell .
MCHC is the hemoglobin content divided by the volume of the red blood cell.
The normal values for MCHC are 34 ± 2 g/dl of red blood cells .
Increased MCHC values are seen in conditions such as autoimmune hemolytic anemia, in burn patients, and hereditary spherocytosis .
Again, your doctor is best positioned to determine the underlying cause of irregular MCHC and to help you develop an appropriate treatment or management plan.
What Is The Normal Red Blood Cell Count Range
The ability of the red blood cells to carry oxygen depends on the amount of hemoglobin. If the hemoglobin levels are low, the body is required to work a lot harder to supply oxygen to all the body tissues. Low hemoglobin level means the person is anemic and can result in symptoms like fatigue and shortness of breath.
The normal range of RBC is:
Male: 4.7 to 6.1 million cells per microliter
Female: 4.2 to 5.4 million cells per microliter
The normal ranges can differ for different laboratories and also differ depending on the measurements or samples. Usually, ranges given above are common measurements, but doctor should be consulted for the specific test results.
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Red Blood Cells Transporting Oxygen Throughout The Body
RBCs play a vital role in transporting oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. These oval-shaped cells contain hemoglobin, the protein that binds oxygen while it is being carried to all the stationary cells in the body . The chemical process that converts the nutrients found in food into energy requires oxygen. All the stationary cells require energy to function thus, they need oxygen and are dependent on the RBCs to transport it.
Blood Transfusions To Treat Anemia
A blood cell transfusion is a safe and a common way to treat anemia in people with cancer. It can help the patient feel better and helps oxygen get to vital organs. While blood transfusions can help symptoms very quickly, sometimes the relief is temporary depending on the cause of anemia.
Whether a blood transfusion might be needed depends on how severe your symptoms are and your hemoglobin level. A transfusion might be done if your hemoglobin level reaches a certain number or if your symptoms get too bothersome
A blood transfusion requires careful matching of donated blood to the recipients blood. Blood products are tested to be sure they are safe and the same kind of blood type as the recipient. But, receiving a blood transfusion also has some risks
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