Friday, March 1, 2024

Reasons For Low Blood Count

Whats The Outlook For Anemia

My white blood count is low: Should I Worry?

The long-term outlook for anemia depends on the cause and the response to treatment. Anemia is often very treatable, but it can cause serious complications if its left untreated.

The outlook for anemia due to deficiencies in iron or vitamins is typically good, provided you receive timely replacement of these important nutrients.

Going forward, its important to pay attention to your diet to ensure that youre getting the recommended daily amounts of iron, folate, and vitamin B12. It may also be helpful to consider taking a daily multivitamin.

For anemia due to other causes, the outlook can vary. Its possible that youll need long-term treatment to manage your anemia or the underlying health conditions that cause it.

Talk with your doctor about what to expect in your individual situation, including if youre considering supplementation and whether its right for you.

Other Causes Of Inflammation That May Lead To Anemia

While anemia of inflammation typically develops slowly, anemia of critical illness is a type of anemia of inflammation that develops quickly in patients who are hospitalized for severe acute infections, trauma, or other conditions that cause inflammation.

In some cases, older adults develop anemia of inflammation that is not related to an underlying infection or chronic disease. Experts think that the aging process may cause inflammation and anemia.

Causes Of Iron Deficiency Anaemia

In pregnancy, iron deficiency anaemia is most often caused by a lack of iron in your diet.

Heavy periods and pregnancy are very common causes of iron deficiency anaemia. Heavy periods can be treated with medicine.

For men and for women whose periods have stopped, bleeding in the stomach and intestines is the most common cause of iron deficiency anaemia. This can be caused by:

  • inflammation of the bowel or food pipe
  • cancers of the bowel or stomach but this is less common

Any other conditions or actions that cause blood loss could also lead to iron deficiency anaemia.

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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.

Tests For Causes Of Anemia

What Does a Low White Blood Cell Count Mean? The Answer Isn

A complete blood count is a blood test that measures your hemoglobin level and other characteristics of your red blood cells . This test not only shows if you have anemia, but it can also help your doctor figure out what might be causing it.

You might also need other tests to help to find what is causing it. These could include:

  • Blood chemistry tests to check organ function and levels of vitamins and minerals
  • A blood test called a reticulocytecount
  • A bone marrow exam to make sure your bone marrow is working as it should
  • Blood tests to look at your iron, vitamin B12, and folate levels
  • A test of your stool to check for blood

Your doctor or nurse can use the results of these tests, along with your medical information and a physical exam, to get an idea of what might be causing your anemia. Sometimes no cause can be found other than anemia of chronic disease. This type of anemia is often found in people with long-lasting problems like congestive heart failure, inflammatory diseases, or cancer.

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What Lifestyle Changes Can Patients With Low Blood Counts Make To Help To Improve Their Condition

Similar to treatment, beneficial lifestyle changes depend very much on the type of low blood count present in the patient. For patients with very low counts of white cells, we often give advice and education to the patient to try and minimise the risk of infection, as this they have an elevated predisposition to this. If patients with a low white cell count have a temperature, feel unwell or have any symptoms which are suggestive of infection, they should have an immediate doctor review.

Patients who have a low platelet count have an elevated risk of bleeding and its important that they are aware of this, particularly if they are planning to visit the dentist, for example.

If the red cells are low, the lifestyle advice will often relate to whatever aspect is causing that anaemia, such as a dietary deficiency. Advice from the haematology team and having a good awareness of the individual implications of your low blood count can help you to manage it, along with treatment.

If you are concerned by issues related to low blood count and wish to book a consultation with Dr Wrench, you can do so by visiting his Top Doctors profile.

What Causes Low Blood Counts

The most common reason cancer patients experience low blood counts is as a side effect of chemotherapy. Chemotherapy involves the use of drugs to destroy cancer cells. Chemotherapy works by destroying cells that grow rapidly, a characteristic of cancer cells. Unfortunately, chemotherapy also affects normal cells that grow rapidly, such as cells in the bone marrow that produce red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets.

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When Should I See My Healthcare Provider

If you have anemia, you should check with your provider if your symptoms get worse despite treatment or if you notice changes in your body that may be new symptoms of anemia.

When should I go to the emergency room?

Anemia may increase your risk of a heart attack. Call 911 if you have the following symptoms:

  • Trouble breathing.

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How Do Healthcare Providers Treat Anemia

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First, your healthcare provider will determine if you have anemia caused by a poor diet or a more serious health problem. They may refer you to a hematologist, a healthcare provider who specializes in blood disorders. Here are some examples of common anemia treatments:

  • Healthcare providers may recommend changing your diet or taking supplements if you have iron-deficiency anemia or pernicious anemia.
  • If you have anemia because you have a chronic disease, your provider will treat the underlying condition. They may prescribe medication to boost red blood cell production.

Providers may use medications like immunosuppressants or treatments like blood transfusions to treat anemias that happen when you have abnormal red blood cells, like aplastic anemia or hemolytic anemia.

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How Is Anaemia Treated

It is important to identify the cause of anaemia to be able to treat it effectively. This is usually done in 2 stages:

  • Stage 1 involves treating the anaemia itself by correcting the iron deficiency.
  • Stage 2 involves finding and treating the underlying cause of the iron deficiency, which should help prevent you getting anaemia again.

What Are Clinical Trials For Anemia Of Inflammation

Clinical trialsand other types of clinical studiesare part of medical research and involve people like you. When you volunteer to take part in a clinical study, you help doctors and researchers learn more about disease and improve health care for people in the future.

Researchers are studying many aspects of anemia of inflammation, including new treatments for this condition.

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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:

  • Unexplained anemia

  • 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.

At What Level Is Hemoglobin Dangerously Low

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Normal hemoglobin levels are different for men and women. For men, a normal level ranges between 14.0 grams per deciliter and 17.5 gm/dL. For women, a normal level ranges between 12.3 gm/dL and 15.3 gm/dL. A severe low hemoglobin level for men is 13.5 gm/dL or lower. For women, a severe low hemoglobin level is 12 gm/dL.

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Things You Can Do Yourself

If your diet is partly causing your iron deficiency anaemia, your GP will tell you what foods are rich in iron so you can eat more of them.

Eat and drink more:

  • dried fruit like apricots, prunes and raisins

Eat and drink less:

  • foods with high levels of phytic acid, such as wholegrain cereals, which can stop your body absorbing iron from other foods and pills

Large amounts of these foods and drinks make it harder for your body to absorb iron.

You might be referred to a specialist dietitian if youre finding it hard to include iron in your diet.

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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.

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 .

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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.

Chronic And Acute Anemia

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Anemia is a condition that is caused by a decrease in the production of either RBCs or hemoglobin. The symptoms of anemia, which we will discuss shortly, are caused by loss of blood, the destruction of RBCs, or the abnormality of hemoglobin in the blood.

Two general kinds of anemia exist: long-term or short-term .

The physiology of individuals suffering from chronic anemia may adapt to low oxygen levels, which can make the condition difficult to detect without proper blood tests.

In the case of acute anemia, people often experience a quick escalation of symptoms, even with relatively mild changes in the bodys hemoglobin levels.

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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
  • Anemia of inflammation or anemia of chronic disease
  • Caused by a long-term medical condition such as diabetes, cancer, chronic infections, or other chronic problems that cause the body to keep iron away from the red blood cells that are being produced
  • Patients may or may not have low iron
  • Autoimmune hemolytic anemia
  • A result of problems with the bodys immune system in which the immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys red blood cells
  • The cause is often unknown but may be related to:
  • Infections such as pneumonia and mononucleosis
  • Certain medications, including some antibiotics
  • Certain types of cancer, including chronic lymphocytic leukemia , multiple myeloma, and lymphoma
  • Autoimmune diseases such as lupus
  • Aplastic anemia
  • Caused by damage to bone marrow
  • Some people are born with damaged bone marrow
  • The cause is often unknown but other causes may include:
  • Some medications
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    What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Anemia

    Many people with anemia feel fatigue or muscle weakness. These symptoms can make it harder to cope with other physical and emotional effects of cancer treatment.

    Symptoms of anemia may also include:

    • Rapid or irregular heart beat

    • Occasional chest pain

    • Trouble staying warm

    • Bleeding problems

    Talk with your health care team about any symptoms you experience. This includes any new symptoms or a change in symptoms. Managing anemia and other cancer side effects is an important part of your medical care and treatment. This type of care is called palliative care or supportive care.

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    Chronic Conditions That Cause Anemia Of Inflammation

    Many different chronic conditions can cause inflammation that leads to anemia, including

    • other chronic diseases that involve inflammation, such as diabetes and heart failure

    In people with certain chronic conditions, anemia may have more than one cause. For example

    • Causes of anemia in CKD may include inflammation, low levels of EPO due to kidney damage, or low levels of the nutrients needed to make red blood cells. Hemodialysis to treat CKD may also lead to iron-deficiency anemia.
    • People with IBD may have both iron-deficiency anemia due to blood loss and anemia of inflammation.
    • In people who have cancer, anemia may be caused by inflammation, blood loss, and cancers that affect or spread to the bone marrow. Cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy may also cause or worsen anemia.

    What Can Cause A Low Blood Count

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    There are lots of causes as there are different blood counts that can be low red cells, white cells and platelets. Often, what we call a reactive process in the body or inflammation can lead to blood counts being low. A low blood count may also be caused by infection, medications, drugs or toxins. Patients exposed to other medical conditions, particularly immune conditions, can also develop a low blood count.

    Sometimes the bone marrow, the factory that makes the blood in adults dominantly, can malfunction and lead to a low blood count. This may be due to a primary disorder in the bone marrow or due to the influence of another factor on the bone marrow production apparatus. So, it may be a failure of the factory in that the bone marrow doesnt produce enough of the blood count or in other cases, the body can destroy blood counts through immune processes that dont function as they should.

    Additionally, when vitamin deficiencies are at play, there may not be enough of the ingredients required for the blood counts which can lead to lower than usual levels.

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    If I Have A Low Blood Count How Will This Be Diagnosed

    A low blood count is diagnosed using a test called a full blood count, where your blood levels are compared with the population average. This is performed in a lab and involves considering many factors, including your intake of caffeine, tobacco, alcohol, your diet, and even the time that you have a blood sample taken.

    If the doctor has detected a low blood count, it is likely that you will be referred to a haematologist for more tests to reach a diagnosis, and more specifically, to look for an infection or inflammation.

    Treatment will depend on the underlying condition found, but in the case of a low white blood cell count, you may be given treatment to boost your white cells to help you fight off disease. You will also be given advice on how to avoid infections.

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