Friday, February 23, 2024

What Does Low Red Blood Cells Mean

Red Blood Cells And Why They Are Important

The Role of Red Blood Cells in Anemia

What Are Red Blood Cells?

Red blood cells, or erythrocytes, are one of the components of blood. They are continuously produced in our bone marrow. Just two or three drops of blood can contain about one billion red blood cells in fact, thats what gives our blood that distinctive red color.

What Is the Function of Red Blood Cells?

Red blood cells carry oxygen from our lungs to the rest of our bodies. Then they make the return trip, taking carbon dioxide back to our lungs to be exhaled.

What Does a Low Red Blood Cell Count Mean?

A low red blood cell count, known as anemia, can cause fatigue, shortness of breath, dizziness and other symptoms. If untreated, anemia can lead to serious complications. In many cases, anemia occurs when we dont eat a nutrient rich diet choosing foods that are rich in iron and other vitamins and minerals can help raise the red blood cell count. Learn about heme iron and which foods are considered rich in iron.

Anemia can also be caused by pregnancy and certain medical conditions such as bleeding disorders and kidney disease. Talk to your doctor to determine the best course of treatment.

How Are Red Blood Cells Used in Medicine?

How Are Red Blood Cells Collected?

Red cells have a shelf life of up to 42 days, depending on the type of anticoagulant used when they are stored. They can also be treated and frozen for 10 years or more.

Why Donations Are So Important

Learn More About Blood Components


Why The Test Is Performed

The RBC count is almost always part of a complete blood count test.

The test can help diagnose different kinds of anemia and other conditions affecting red blood cells.

Other conditions that may require an RBC count are:

  • Bone marrow disorder in which the marrow is replaced by scar tissue
  • Disease that damages kidney blood vessels
  • Disorder in which red blood cells break down earlier than normal
  • White blood cell cancer

How To Deal With Low Red Blood Cell Count

Making changes in your lifestyle or diet can help in improving the RBC count.

Change Your Lifestyle

Making subtle changes in daily routine can help in dealing with anemia symptoms.

  • Not overdoing any physical activities, lying down when tired and lying flat on the bed when feeling dizzy help a lot.
  • Instead of getting up suddenly, it is better to sit on the bed for a while and ask for help when feeling unsteady on feet.
  • Maintain sleep patterns, move around hands and legs when you have been in bed for long.
  • Change positions slowly, be cautious not to get injured and be prepared for mood swings and change in interest.
  • Avoid using hot water bottles and heating pads.
  • Sexual activity during the morning should be preferred as the body has been rested overnight.

Keep a Healthy Diet

  • Incorporate green leafy vegetables and red meat in the diet to get a dose of iron, folic acid and vitamins which help increase the hemoglobin levels and build red blood cells.
  • Drink 8-10 glasses of water if there is no underlying heart or kidney problem.
  • Also, eat well-balanced meals will help.
  • Iron supplements can cause constipation to prevent it, include prunes in the diet when taking iron supplements.

Medical Treatment

The medical treatment for anemia will depend on the severity of the anemia. If the condition is not severe, over the counter iron supplements for daily use will be advised. For more severe condition, blood transfusion is ordered.

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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.

The Role Of Red Blood Cells In Anemia


Red blood cells carry hemoglobin, an iron-rich protein that attaches to oxygen in the lungs and carries it to tissues throughout the body. Anemia occurs when you do not have enough red blood cells or when your red blood cells do not function properly. It is diagnosed when a blood test shows a hemoglobin value of less than 13.5 gm/dl in a man or less than 12.0 gm/dl in a woman. Normal values for children vary with age.

When you have anemia, your body lacks oxygen, so you may experience one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Pounding or “whooshing” in your ears

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What Can I Do At Home To Treat Low Hemoglobin

Many things can cause low hemoglobin, and most of the time you cant manage low hemoglobin on your own. But eating a vitamin-rich diet can help maintain your red blood cells. Generally speaking, a balanced diet with a focus on important nutrients is the best way to maintain healthy red blood cells and hemoglobin. Here are some suggestions:

  • Red meat and meat from the organs, like liver.
  • Leafy vegetables, like kale and spinach.
  • Lentils, beans and peas.

What Does It Mean When Your Hemoglobin And Hematocrit Are Low

Around 37 percent to 49 percent of your bloods volume is made up of RBCs. Usually, a complete blood count makes a hematocrit a part thereof. But other components are taken into consideration to determine the proper result, such as hemoglobin, RBC count, RBC indices, reticulocyte count. Other factors, such as sex, age, and race, are also taken into account.

If you have low hematocrit with low hemoglobin, this is usually a sign that you have anemia. Other reasons may include

  • Destruction of RBCs like hemolytic anemia

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Platelet Counts Assessing Your Bodys Ability To Clot Blood

A CBC includes the number of platelets and the mean platelet volume . MPV is a measurement of the average size of the platelets. A higher MPV roughly indicates better platelet function. Some medical conditions are associated with a high MPV and some are associated with a low MPV. Thus, the MPV can sometimes be helpful in telling apart different disorders.

A decreased number of platelets is associated with bleeding. Some causes include certain rare inherited disorders, leukemia, autoimmune disorders and medications. A falsely low platelet count, which is not associated with bleeding, can be caused by a rare error in blood sample collection: instead of staying in a liquid form, the sample clots , thus using up the platelets.

An increased platelet count is less common and is associated with clotting disorders such as thrombocythemia. Platelet counts can also be increased in some cancers and following infections or other medical conditions.

Aspirin can decrease the platelet function, so its important to consult with your doctor when taking large amounts of aspirin or when taking aspirin for an extended period of time. Many over-the-counter medications contain aspirin, which may be listed as acetylsalicylic acid, salicylate, or 2- benzoic acid.

High Rbc Count Treatment

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If you have a high RBC count:

  • Exercise to improve your heart and lung function.
  • Eat less red meat and iron-rich foods.
  • Avoid iron supplements.
  • Avoid diuretics, including coffee and caffeinated drinks, which can dehydrate you.
  • Stop smoking, especially if you have COPD or pulmonary fibrosis.
  • Avoid the use of steroids, erythropoietin, and other performance-enhancing drugs.

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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 Is Anemia Of Inflammation

Anemia of inflammation, also called anemia of chronic disease or ACD, is a type of anemia that affects people who have conditions that cause inflammation, such as infections, autoimmune diseases, cancer, and chronic kidney disease .

Anemia is a condition in which your blood has fewer red blood cells than normal. Your red blood cells may also have less hemoglobin than normal. Hemoglobin is the iron-rich protein that allows red blood cells to carry oxygen from your lungs to the rest of your body. Your body needs oxygen to work properly. With fewer red blood cells or less hemoglobin, your body may not get enough oxygen.

In anemia of inflammation, you may have a normal or sometimes increased amount of iron stored in your body tissues, but a low level of iron in your blood. Inflammation may prevent your body from using stored iron to make enough healthy red blood cells, leading to anemia.

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What Are Red Blood Cells

Every second, your bone marrow makes 2-3 million red blood cells. Also called erythrocytes, red blood cells contain the protein hemoglobin that carries oxygen from the lungs to the tissues.Red blood cells are the most common type of cell found in the blood. And its not surprising. The oxygen they carry is essential for cell metabolism.In their mature state, red blood cells are small and biconcave in shape. When they pass through small blood vessels, they transform into a bell-like shape so that they can squeeze through.As red blood cells mature in your bone marrow, they get rid of their nuclei. This extrusion of nuclei by mature red blood cells happens right before they leave the bone marrow. It creates more space for hemoglobin.In people with certain medical conditions, red blood cells have abnormal shapes. For example, in individuals with pernicious anemia, red blood cells appear oval-shaped and in sickle-cell anemia, crescent-shaped.

How Is Anemia Diagnosed

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Doctors use a blood test called a complete blood count to diagnose anemia. The test results include your number of red blood cells.

There are several ways to check your red blood cell count, including measuring hemoglobon and hematocrit. Hemoglobin is the iron-rich protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen. Hematocrit is the percentage of blood that is made up of red blood cells.

People with specific types of cancer or who are receiving certain cancer treatments may have regular CBC tests to monitor their health. In addition to anemia, a CBC looks for other blood-related problems. If the test shows that you have anemia, you may need other tests to find the cause.

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How Is Anemia Treated

Doctors treat anemia based on the cause and symptoms. Here are some examples.

Blood transfusion. If anemia is causing symptoms or problems, you may need a red blood cell transfusion. During the transfusion, healthy red blood cells from a donor go into your body through a needle into a vein.

Medication. If chemotherapy causes anemia, your doctor may prescribe medications called erythropoiesis-stimulating agents . ESAs are forms of erythropoietin made in the laboratory. They work by telling your bone marrow to make more red blood cells.

ESAs include epoetin alfa and darbepoetin work equally well for treating anemia from chemotherapy. They also have similar risks. Epoetin and darbepoetin are injected in the body at regular intervals. They can take several weeks to start working.

The American Society of Clinical Oncology and the American Society of Hematology provide these recommendations for using epoetin and darbepoetin:

Causes Of Low Red Blood Cell Count

In dogs, the low red blood cell count may be caused by:

  • Anemia, which is due to decreased levels of iron or poor nutrition
  • Autoimmune hemolytic anemia , which is often associated with the consumption of garlic or poisonous substances such as rat poison
  • Kidney failure may also cause a low RBC, due to the fact that the kidneys produce erythropoietin, which is a hormone that stimulates the activity of the bone marrow. If the hormone is no longer produced, the bone marrow may have a reduced activity
  • Injury or trauma to the bone marrow

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What Causes Hemoglobin Levels To Go Low

Several factors affect hemoglobin levels:

  • Your body doesnt make enough red blood cells. Your body produces red blood cells and white blood cells in your bone marrow. Sometimes, conditions and diseases affect your bone marrows ability to produce or support enough red blood cells.
  • Your body produces enough red blood cells, but the cells are dying faster than your body can replace them.
  • Youre losing blood from injury or illness. You lose iron anytime you lose blood. Sometimes, women have low hemoglobin levels when they have their periods. You may also lose blood if you have internal bleeding, such as a bleeding ulcer.
  • Your body cant absorb iron, which affects your bodys ability to develop red blood cells.
  • Youre not getting enough essential nutrients like iron and vitamins B12 and B9.

What affects red blood cell production?

Your bone marrow produces red blood cells. Diseases, conditions and other factors that affect red blood cell production include:

What affects red blood cell lifespan?

Your bone marrow constantly produces red blood cells. Red blood cells live about 120 days in your bloodstream.

Some factors that affect that lifespan include:

The Differential Visualizing The Cells

What is the Treatment for a Low Red Blood Cell Count

When performing a differential, a medical technologist looks at the various cells under a microscope. A differential provides information about the relative numbers of each type of WBC. Such information helps the doctor determine whether an illness is caused by a bacteria, a virus, or leukemia. A differential can be used to monitor patients with allergies and to determine how a patient is recovering from an illness or responding to therapy.

In addition to the cell types listed previously, certain cell types that dont normally appear in the blood can be reported in the differential. These cells include promyelocytes, metamyelocytes, blasts, etc. Presence of any of these cells indicates a need for follow-up with your doctor.Finally, the differential can provide information about the appearance of RBCs, since the cells are visualized under a microscope. The appearance of RBCs helps differentiate the various types of anemia.

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Causes For A Low Red Blood Cell Count

  • Iron deficiency anemia: The most common cause of low red blood cells is anemia due to iron deficiency. This can be caused by losing a lot of blood, a decrease in iron absorption from food by the body, reduced iron intake via yourdiet, malnutrition, etc. Pregnancy can lead to anemia due to the increase in demand for iron supply to the fetus.
  • Other types of anemia: A low red cell count could arise from other types of anemia, such as chronic diseases , autoimmune hemolytic anemia, and aplastic anemia.
  • Hemolysis: The breakdown or destruction of red blood cells is called hemolysis. Hemolysis can be caused by an autoimmune reaction to a blood transfusion, infection, or genetic diseases, such as sickle cell anemia.
  • Treatments: In cancer patients, chemotherapy or radiation therapy can cause mass destruction of red blood cells. The process involves strong chemicals and radiations that can be harmful to blood cells, thereby diminishing them.
  • Heavy menstruation: People who experience heavy period flow regularly may tend to have a low red blood cell count. If they do not compensate for the loss adequately through their diet, their blood count is reduced and does not get replenished, leading to a low red blood cell count.
  • Treating Abnormal Rbc Levels

    Treatment of an abnormal RBC count is typically focused on addressing the underlying condition. These treatments will vary widely depending on the cause.

    But if the cause is a nutritional deficiency, medication use, or a chronic condition, there may be things you can do to not only improve your blood count but your overall health too.

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    Platelets Helping To Clot Blood

    Platelets are the smallest blood cells. They are an important part of blood clotting. These small cells clump together and form a sticky mass that helps the blood to clot. Blood clots help your body handle injury by stopping or preventing bleeding. Blood clots can also cause problems, however, when they occur within the blood vessels or the heart such clots cause a blockage known as thrombosis.

    Is High Rdw Serious

    Definition of Sickle cell disease

    High results If your RDW is too high, it could be an indication of a nutrient deficiency, such as a deficiency of iron, folate, or vitamin B-12. These results could also indicate macrocytic anemia, when your body doesn’t produce enough normal red blood cells, and the cells it does produce are larger than normal.

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    What Is Considered Severe Anemia

    Mild anemia corresponds to a level of hemoglobin concentration of 10.0-10.9 g/dl for pregnant women and children under age 5 and 10.0-11.9 g/dl for nonpregnant women. For all of the tested groups, moderate anemia corresponds to a level of 7.0-9.9 g/dl, while severe anemia corresponds to a level less than 7.0 g/dl.

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