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Low hematocrit: causes and possible consequences

Hematocrit is a measure of the level of red blood cells in relation to the amount of blood. Sources of low hematocrit are factors associated with diseases, injuries, abnormal lifestyles, changes in the physiological state - during pregnancy.

  • males: 0.44 - 0.48%,
  • women: 0.36 - 0.43%,
  • newborns: 0.44 - 0.62%,
  • children up to 3 months: 0.32 - 0.44%,
  • one year old: 36 - 44%,
  • up to ten years: 37 - 44%.

Given the age and condition, the index changes and makes up a different clinical picture.

  • 18 - 45 years: 39 - 49%,
  • 45 and over: 39 - 50%.

  • 18 - 45 years: 35 - 45%,
  • 45 and older: 35 to 47%.

For women during pregnancy, the tolerable limit is 31 - 35%.

Causes of low hematocrit

Hematocrit is reduced in people suffering from anemia, which can be caused by a number of blood diseases, in particular hemolysis - the breakdown of red blood cells. Also a source of reducing the number of red blood cells in the blood can be prolonged inflammatory processes, the inability to move for a long time - bedridden patients. Hematocrit is lowered due to staying on a diet, especially for women. With insufficient intake of nutrients, especially in a child. When kidney disease will be lowered hematocrit in the blood. People who suffer from liver disease must be vigilant, since a strong decrease in hematocrit often indicates the development of cirrhosis, and late treatment of the disease is fatal. The basis for a comprehensive survey are hidden diseases and flowing, such as malignant neoplasms - tumors, since there are no pronounced symptoms of the disease.

Who is at risk

Decreases in hematocrit do not depend on age or gender, but there are categories of people who are most affected by this:

  • children whose diet is unbalanced,
  • rapidly developing children,
  • women during pregnancy
  • women in the first six weeks after delivery,
  • patients with chronic diseases
  • patients with cardiovascular diseases,
  • alcoholics and smokers,
  • hereditarily predisposed to cancer.

If a hematocrit is detected in infants, it is necessary to conduct a comprehensive examination to find out the full picture and the intended diagnosis. The driving factors for lowering hematocrit are: delayed formation of red blood cells, a high rate of their breakdown, increased accumulation of protein in the blood, or excessively liquefied blood.

In an older child, a decrease in hematocrit is observed in most cases due to anemia. What does it mean? First of all, malnutrition. Due to the lack of blood saturation with iron. A healthy child’s menu should include foods rich in iron: meat, eggs, liver, nuts, apples.

During pregnancy, a drop in the volume fraction of blood is triggered by overhydration. This is a failure of the ratio of water and salt, during which the tissues and organs are supersaturated with water, due to which the blood cells experience a lack of oxygen and nutrients.

Postpartum periods last 6-8 weeks. If there were no complications and illnesses during the entire period of childbearing and the childbirth, during this time all indicators will return to normal.

Chronic diseases act as a catalyst for lower hematocrit, especially in old age. During the development of the disease, the immunity decreases so much that it is not able to produce red blood cells in the bone marrow, significantly reducing their number in the blood.

In smokers and alcohol abusers, the primary cause of the blood cell imbalance is labored breathing. During dyspnea, the lack of oxygen for entering the lungs is replaced by oxygen from blood cells.

A person who has cases of cancer in the family should carefully monitor their health. The percentage of hereditary diseases is too high to neglect.

In an adult, the symptoms of low hematocrit appear depending on the pathology that caused a violation of the hematocrit level. The first sign of illness is apathy, drowsiness, chronic fatigue, shortness of breath. Then there are pains all over the body - back, in the ribs, aching pain in the abdomen, chest, swelling appear on the arms and legs. Each painful syndrome occurs in different ways, with different duration and intensity. The body temperature rises or falls, there is no appetite, the jaundice of the skin, wounds in the oral mucosa is manifested. Sensitivity decreases, vision drops. We should not forget that the majority of oncological diseases are almost asymptomatic, so you should not postpone the visit to the doctor for later.

Treatment of low hematocrit is ambiguous due to the fact that the cause of the disease of a different nature. If it is a peptic ulcer, you should contact your gastroenterologist and undergo a full course of treatment, including drug treatment or, if necessary, surgery. Drugs prescribed for ulcers, aimed at eliminating the acute symptoms of the disease - anabolic, antiemetic drugs, antispasmodics, analgesics, and directly treatment - antacids, anticholinergic drugs, reparants. To maintain immunity during treatment - vitamins, immunostimulants. Inflammatory processes in the kidneys are best treated with antibiotics, sulfonamides, uroseptics, anti-inflammatory drugs, nitrofurans, physiotherapy. Anemic syndrome is treated depending on the severity of the disease, they are distinguished by three: mild anemia - hemoglobin 90-110g / l, average anemia - hemoglobin 90-70g / l and severe anemia - hemoglobin from 70g / l or less.

The treatment is carried out in several stages:

  1. Impact on the source. The use of antitumor and anthelmintic drugs, surgery.
  2. Preventing the development of the disease by taking iron supplements, vitamin B12.
  3. Red cell count replacement - donor red blood cell transfusion.


In order to avoid health problems associated with the violation of the circulatory system, it is necessary to closely monitor the health, following the rules of prevention:

  • to give up smoking,
  • alcohol rejection
  • proper balanced nutrition
  • daily exercise in the open air,
  • timely examination,

Observe food control by consuming foods that are saturated with iron, vitamin B12, amino acids, proteins, folic acid, vitamin C, copper, manganese, iodine, chromium, zinc, fructose: vegetables, fruits, meat, liver, cereals - buckwheat, rice, honey. Avoid products containing substances that inhibit the absorption of iron. Dairy products are harmful in their presence of calcium. Cocoa, coffee, black and some types of herbal tea - polyphenols. Nuts, bran, legumes - phytic acid. Spinach, cabbage, beets, strawberries - oxalates. Exclude all types of preservatives and drugs that reduce acidity.


Under this value is commonly understood as one of the parameters of the blood test. Its essence boils down to a quantitative assessment of certain components of the liquid connective tissue, taking into account the relationship to each other.

The term “hematocrit” is rarely used in the medical field. It is most often replaced by "hematocrit". In fact, this approach to the question is not quite correct. The last term is called the labeled test tube, by means of which the laboratory technician evaluates the hematocrit value.

However, he got so tightly into the practice that he became familiar both to medical workers and to ordinary citizens..

An important component of blood is plasma. It contains platelets, red blood cells and white blood cells. In this case, the red blood cell has the most. For example, an indicator of 5 trillion of these bodies is considered normal in the blood of a healthy person.

The basis of the hematocrit number of scientists proposed to take the ratio of red blood cells to all other elements.

Determination of hematocrit

To find out this figure, you must pass the usual blood test. Material sampling for subsequent examination is performed from a vein. An anticoagulant is first added to the blood (it interferes with the coagulation process) and then placed in a centrifuge.

In this apparatus, the tube spins up to speed limits. As you know, all blood elements are characterized by different weights. Therefore, in a centrifuge, it is sufficient to simply divide them and determine the volume of each component.

After completion of the procedure for markup on the tube, the technician can easily evaluate the parameters of red blood cells. Since these elements are more weighty, they will occupy most of the flask below. Behind them, leukocytes and platelets will take their place, and plasma will remain on top.

To determine this indicator as accurately as possible, a 100% markup is made on the tube, and 100 ml of material is placed into it. The resulting figure should be considered a hematocrit number.

Norm for children and adults

The hematocrit number, like many other blood parameters, varies throughout a person’s life. This is not surprising, because the body is growing, and the volume of liquid connective tissue is constantly increasing. At the same time, the number of uniform elements does not increase in direct proportion.

  • The highest parameters of hematocrit are observed in newborn babies and are approximately 60%. A child in 1 year, this figure will be lower, approximately 38%.
  • In adolescence, changes occur again. For this period, the rate is considered to be 50%. This is the so-called lower threshold of the normative value.
  • In an adult male, hematocrit may vary from 49 to 54%, and in women, from 33 to 47%.

The change of the listed parameters downwards is the reason for going to the doctor. Sometimes this symptom indicates a minor health problem, but more often it signals a serious pathology.

Why is hematocrit below normal?

A deficiency of red blood cells always negatively affects the functioning of the body. With this disorder, a person constantly complains of fatigue and discomfort. His skin may turn pale, headaches appear, and his heartbeat quickens. In the fair sex, this disorder is usually manifested by excessive hair loss.

What is the described clinical picture caused by? Red blood cells are responsible for supplying oxygen and nutrients to the cells. After their successful transportation, they take carbon dioxide.

If the hematocrit is lowered, the volume of erythrocytes per 1 liter of blood is significantly reduced. As a result, the body's cells begin to experience oxygen deficiency, which necessarily affects the functioning of the whole body.

Hematocrit is a ratio of magnitudes expressed as a percentage. It depends only on two parameters: the number of red blood cells and the volume of liquid plasma. Any changes in these parameters can trigger a decrease in hematocrit. Among the main reasons for the decline in indicators, doctors call the following:

  • drop in red cell count
  • reduction of red blood cells
  • gradual accumulation of fluid in the body,
  • an increase in the number of proteins that prevent excess liquid from leaving the body.

These disorders are considered to be the immediate causes of why there may be low hematocrit in the blood. However, this problem is sometimes provoked by other, already more serious factors.

Diseases accompanied by a decrease in hematocrit

Among the pathological processes that create favorable conditions for reducing the hematocrit number, experts identify the following:

  1. Significant blood loss due to car accident or serious injury.
  2. Very rapid destruction of red blood cells due to infectious processes or toxic poisoning.
  3. Tumor pathology, accompanied by long-term treatment.
  4. Chronic inflammatory diseases.
  5. Hodgkin's lymphoma.
  6. Anemia of various etiologies.

Low hematocrit is very often observed in people who are dieting or restricting their diet. With the development of this kind of disorder in a small child, the causes most often remain the same. However, due to the greater sensitivity of the young body, the violation may be severe.

False Results

By a false hematocrit, it is customary to understand such a test result, in which the hematocrit level is defined as low, but the person himself is absolutely healthy. Why is this possible?

This clinical picture is usually the result of blood thinning. In rare cases, reduced rates appear if the material was taken in a horizontal position. As a rule, the doctor recommends to retake tests and come again to the reception.

Features violations in pregnant women

After conceiving a baby, a woman’s body begins to undergo enormous changes, thus preparing for a new function. Of course, this is reflected in the basic indicators of blood. For example, the plasma volume gradually increases, and the hematocrit number decreases slightly. This ratio is regarded by doctors as a variant of the norm.

If the hematocrit during pregnancy is lowered significantly, the woman may develop anemia. This, in turn, negatively affects the functioning of the whole organism.

The heart begins to experience a huge load, followed by the kidneys and liver. The condition of the pregnant woman can worsen dramatically. Usually, women complain of weakness, severe headache, or increased blood pressure. To confirm anemia or identify another disorder without the help of a doctor is not enough.

Features of the disorder in young patients

Hematocrit rates in children differ significantly from those in adults. With age, the percentage of red blood cells is reduced. For example, in infants this figure is about 44–62%, and in a one-year-old baby it is 37%.

What can be due to a low level? This blood count is rarely associated with serious illnesses. To establish the true cause of the disorder, a complete diagnostic examination will be required. Only a doctor can recognize pathology.

Among the most common reasons why hematocrit is lowered in infants, pediatricians distinguish:

  • excessively slow red blood cell nucleation,
  • bleeding
  • anemia,
  • high rate of erythrocyte decay,
  • large amounts of blood in the body.

As in pregnant women, low hematocrit in young patients is most often caused by developing anemia. You can change this figure if you radically revise the diet of the crumbs. Pediatricians usually recommend varying the diet with eggs, apples, nuts, mostly red meat.

With a lower hematocrit in children, specialists also recommend giving hematogen.. This is not only a tasty delicacy, which is sold in almost all pharmacy chains, but also a good preventive measure.

In particularly serious cases, when the diet correction is ineffective, the child may be prescribed medication. The choice of drugs depends on the root cause of the disease. The specific tool and its dosage are selected individually.

Another method to combat the disorder is the appointment of vitamin complexes. Modern pharmacological companies produce this kind of medicine in large quantities, so even experienced parents can get confused in this variety. And in this matter can not do without consultation with pediatricians.

The doctor will prescribe a particular drug based on the overall clinical picture, the needs of the baby and the results of his tests.

Recommended Therapy

Specific treatment of this disorder has not been developed. Therapy is prescribed by a doctor only after a full examination of the body. Most often it is aimed at eliminating the root cause of the disease.

For example, in the case of anemia, iron-based medications are prescribed and nutritional recommendations are given. Infectious processes in the body require the destruction of the main pathogen through the use of antibacterial drugs.

Thus, therapies for low hematocrit do not exist. Modern medicine offers to deal exclusively with the root cause of the disorder.

Ways to Prevent Disorder

In order to avoid health problems caused by impaired functioning of the circulatory system, doctors recommend adhering to the following rules:

  • Abandon all addictions. Even a small consumption of alcohol or smoking 1–2 cigarettes a day can negatively affect the work of the whole organism.
  • It is necessary to monitor the daily diet. A balanced diet (eating fats, proteins and carbohydrates in the right proportions) is the key to a lack of health problems. Также следует отказаться от «пищевого мусора» и фастфуда.
  • Крайне важно заниматься посильными видами спорта. Если нет возможности ходить в спортзал, такого рода тренировки можно заменить ежедневными пешими прогулками.
  • Периодически нужно проходить обследование у врача. The timely detection of health problems allows you to immediately begin therapy.

Compliance with such simple rules helps to forget about drugs and pills, queues to see a doctor.

Hematocrit: normal values

Each person in his body contains about 4.5-5 liters of blood. It consists of heavy red blood cells and a light, light-colored plasma. When defending red blood cells fall down, and the plasma rises to the top, if the blood was taken using an anticoagulant.

If the assay is taken in a dry tube, the blood coagulates, forming a fibrin clot. It will contain red blood cells and serum. It differs from the plasma in a lighter color, since there is no fibrinogen (protein component). In the human body, blood is represented by plasma with platelets dissolved in it, red blood cells and white blood cells, as well as other proteins. In the serum, most of the components are missing.

Normal hematocrit readings for different patient categories:

Males: 0.44-0.48, and sometimes to 0.52. Such high values ​​are indicators of the norm, since male blood is updated less often than female.

Females: 0.36-0.43. During pregnancy, starting from the 20th week of the period, the hematocrit begins to decline.

Children: 0.44-0.62 - for newborns, 0.32-0.44 - for babies up to 3 months, 0.36-0.44 - for children up to a year, 0.37-0.44 - for children up to 10 years. Further indicators of the norm are determined by the sex of a person and his state of health.

The decrease and increase in blood hematocrit indicates the degree of concentration of red blood cells in it.

Low hematocrit

The smaller the red blood cells and the smaller their size, the lower the hematocrit. If the hematocrit value drops to 20-25%, then the person is diagnosed with anemia. The cause of this condition may be a decrease in the level of red blood cells in the blood. This condition is called erythrocytopenia. Also, low hematocrit is observed when water accumulates in the body - this condition is called overhydration. Hematocrit will decrease with an increase in the level of proteins in the body, which contribute to the retention of fluid in it. This condition is called hyperproteinonemia.

Causes of low hematocrit:

Bleeding. The volume of circulating blood is replenished quickly due to the introduction of infusion solutions, but in order for the erythrocyte counts to return to normal, it will take some time.

Anemia and leukemia, taking cytostatics and anticancer drugs, kidney paresis, which are accompanied by insufficient production of red blood cells in the bone marrow.

Hemolytic anemia, which develops during a person’s life or is inherited from blood relatives, leads to intoxication of the body with hemolytic toxins, for example, heavy metal salts, as well as diseases such as malaria and typhoid fever lead to the death of red blood cells.

The introduction of significant volumes of fluids in the vein of patients with impaired renal function. This entails an increase in total blood volume, but the erythrocytes in it will remain the same amount.

The second half of pregnancy. This increases the plasma level, and the level of red blood cells is maintained at previous elevations.

Anemia, regardless of their nature.

Hyperhydration of the body during water intoxication, circulatory failure, impaired kidney function and other excretory systems.

Increased blood protein levels against vomiting, diarrhea, myeloma, Hodgkin's lymphoma, and other pathological conditions. The level of the liquid component of the blood increases, but the level of erythrocytes at the same time remains at the same level.

In children, the hematocrit will decrease for the same reasons as in adult patients. However, pathologies in a child often have a much more pronounced clinical picture and are more severe.

Hematocrit elevation

An increase in the hematocrit level in the blood is observed against the background of an increase in the number of red blood cells, with their increased bone marrow production, as well as with an increase in their size.

The following violations can lead to this:

Erythremia, in which there is an excess production of red blood cells. A person suffers from pain in the head and in the heart, from discomfort in the fingers and toes. The skin becomes red in this disorder.

Inclusion of compensatory mechanisms on the part of the heart and vessels in conditions of hypoxia, for example, with heart defects, with renal diseases, when a person is at considerable heights. At the same time, the body produces a substance called erythropoietin, which causes the bone marrow to produce red blood cells in large volumes. As a result, the hematocrit rises. It is worth noting that the level of erythropoietin increases during pregnancy, which also causes a jump in hematocrit.

Indirect causes that can cause an increase in hematocrit include:

The accumulation of fluid in the lumen of the intestine against the backdrop of its obstruction.

Inflammation of the tissues of the peritoneum.

The presence of a person at significant heights (mountain sickness).

Hematocrit as a single indicator is not able to confirm any definite diagnosis, as it gives only generalized information about the state of human health. Therefore, it is important to know other indicators of blood, allowing to suspect certain violations. However, pathological changes in the blood hematocrit level should alert the doctor and become a reason for a high-quality and complete examination.

Video lesson on erythrocytes and blood functions:

Article author: Maxim Shutov | Hematologist

Education: In 2013, the Kursk State Medical University was completed and the diploma in “General Medicine” was obtained. After 2 years, the residency in the specialty "Oncology" was completed. In 2016, completed postgraduate studies at the National Medical and Surgical Center named after NI Pirogov.

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AST, AsAT, AST or aspartate aminotransferase is one and the same concept meaning one of the enzymes of protein metabolism in the body. This enzyme is responsible for the synthesis of amino acids that make up cell membranes and tissues. Not all organs AST manifests.

What is hematocrit in a blood test?

Patients, getting hands on the results of the tests, seeing the hematocrit, what the parameter is and what they are responsible for do not know. This term is used to denote the ratio of the volume amount of formed elements to a unit volume of whole blood. The indicator is expressed as a percentage, less often - as a decimal fraction with a two-digit value after the decimal point. Often, experts call it the term hematocrit indicator. To calculate hematocrit, the number of erythrocytes is compared with the volume of plasma, then multiplied by 0.01 (for conversion to percentages).

What is hematocrit responsible for?

It follows from the above that hematocrit is a quantitative indicator. Hematocrit is a reflection of the cellular composition of the blood circulating in the human body. It does not depend on factors affecting the synthesis of intracellular hemoglobin. In this case, the value is actively used by doctors in case of suspicion of hidden diseases, anemia. The analysis is often prescribed after surgery and during pregnancy. This is done to eliminate the risk of loss of a large volume of blood.

The hematocrit value is the primary indicator in the diagnosis of pathologies. Deviation from existing standards becomes an indication for further comprehensive examination of the patient. To find out why the hematocrit is below normal, what it means is you need to undergo more than one examination. Among the indications for analysis include:

  • phlebeurysm,
  • autoimmune diseases,
  • liver disease,
  • high risk of bleeding.

Hematocrit - normal

Studies conducted by physicians have shown that the hematocrit value changes with the age of the patient. In addition, due to the physiological characteristics of girls, the values ​​are lower than those of men. Given this feature, when deciphering the analysis for hematocrit, the rate for women is set below. Among the determining factors during the evaluation of the result - and the patient's age. Blood hematocrit changes as follows:

  1. Children:
  • newborns - 35–65,
  • up to 1 year - 32–40,
  • 1–11 years old - 32–41,
  • girls 12–17 years old - 35–45,
  • boys 12–17–34–44.
  1. Adults:
  • women 18–45 years old - 39–50,
  • men 18–45 years old - 34–45,
  • women over 45 - 40–50,
  • women after 45 years old - 35–46.

Hematocrit lowered - what does this mean?

The deviation of values ​​from existing standards is an indication for further examination of the patient. To find out why the hematocrit is lowered, what it means in a woman, hardware-based research methods are prescribed:

  • Ultrasound of the pelvic organs,
  • Liver ultrasound,
  • examination of the gastrointestinal tract.

To find out why the hematocrit is below the established norm, what this means, doctors take into account the time of the analysis. During menstruation and a few days after its completion, the hematocrit level in girls decreases. Hematocrit is below normal in pregnancy, which a woman in a short time often does not know.

Hematocrit lowered - causes

When the hematocrit is lowered, what is the violation and what is the reason - only a specialist can determine. Decoding analysis is performed exclusively by doctors who have information about the general condition of the patient, his diseases and chronic pathologies. Among the disorders and conditions, accompanied by a decrease in hematocrit:

  1. Aplastic anemia - provoked by congenital and hereditary diseases, toxic damage to the bone marrow.
  2. Hemolysis is the resolution of blood cells in case of congenital abnormalities of red blood cells, a decrease in their elasticity, and diseases of the spleen.
  3. Hyperhydration - the introduction into the body of a large amount of fluid during infusion.
  4. The increase in the volume of proteins and salts in the plasma, which leads to a relative decrease in the concentration of blood cells.
  5. Pregnancy.

What is dangerous low hematocrit?

Reduced hematocrit in the blood indicates insufficient production of red blood cells - red blood cells. These shaped elements are responsible for delivering oxygen and certain nutrients to the organs and tissues of the body. The decrease in their concentration is fraught with the development of chronic hypoxia - constant oxygen starvation. This phenomenon has a negative impact on the brain. Memory impairment, reduced ability to concentrate, mental activity are directly related to the hypoxia of the brain.

Hematocrit below normal (what it means - as indicated above) is the cause of the development of anemia. As a result, there is a violation of blood formation processes. Such patients are more often prone to colds and infectious diseases, constantly experiencing weakness and fatigue. Other negative effects of low hematocrit include:

  • heart disease,
  • disruption of the liver,
  • deterioration of the kidneys (toxins are poorly excreted from the body, intoxication is possible).

How to increase hematocrit?

Before you raise the hematocrit in the blood, to begin treatment for abnormalities, doctors conduct a comprehensive diagnosis. Establishing the direct cause of the violation is the main task of specialists. Often the exclusion of a factor provoking a decrease in hematocrit leads to the normalization of the index. Among the main directions of treatment of this disorder:

  • therapy with iron-containing drugs - Sorbifer, Maltofer, Ferrytab,
  • enrichment of the diet with products containing iron: meat, eggs, nuts, liver, pomegranate,
  • reduction of physical stress on the body,
  • frequent walks in the fresh air.

Hematocrit lowered during pregnancy

Hematocrit during pregnancy is always reduced. This phenomenon is physiological in nature. As gestation develops, the plasma volume increases, as a result of which the number of red blood cells per unit volume of blood decreases. The fall of the index begins approximately from the 4th week of pregnancy. In this case, the maximum minimum is fixed at the 32-3rd week - 31-35%. In this way, the body prepares for possible blood loss during childbirth. A decrease in the rate below 30% increases the risk of fetal hypoxia. With hematocrit, 14–25% of the pregnant are hospitalized and constantly monitored.

What does hematocrit mean?

Lack of red blood cells affects the overall condition of the body. With a low hematocrit in an adult there is general malaise, high fatigue, shortness of breath, blanching of the skin, frequent heartbeat, headaches, hair loss.

This is due to the fact that the red blood cells supply nutrients and oxygen to each cell, while taking carbon dioxide. With low hematocrit, the volume of erythrocytes per liter of blood becomes less than normal, therefore, human cells experience oxygen starvation. At the same time, the acid-base balance and the mode of operation of each of the organs are disturbed.

Symptoms of low hematocrit are:

These signs are clearly pronounced during pregnancy and acute anemia. However, in order to confirm the diagnosis, it is necessary to pass a blood test.

What to do with low hematocrit

In adults, the main principle in the treatment of low hematocrit is to eliminate the causes that caused them to fall below normal. If anemia is the cause of low hematocrit, in many cases it is enough for the patient to change his diet to gradually increase the level of red blood cells and hemoglobin in the blood.

To do this, it is recommended to eat more foods rich in iron, such as chicken, dried fruits, beans, eggs, red meat, offal (especially liver), seafood, greens. In addition, vitamin C intake should be increased because it improves iron absorption. In some cases, for the treatment of anemia, the doctor may recommend supplementation with iron supplements.

Hematocrit lowered: what does this mean?

To begin with, what is hematocrit? This is a conditional indicator, which is derived by determining the ratio of the number of shaped particles - platelets, leukocytes and red blood cells to the entire amount of blood in the venous and arterial vessels. The overwhelming number of particles is red blood cells, therefore it is considered that hematocrit (Nst) is an indicator of the number of red blood cells to the volume of blood (it is also considered in liters).

Now about erythrocytes: the responsibilities of these blood particles include the delivery of oxygen into the blood and the removal of carbon dioxide from it. A certain (normal) number of them copes with this task. Accordingly, if the red blood cells become smaller, then the hematocrit will be reduced, which means that various pathologies can develop.

For this reason, this topic requires special attention and careful study, as there can be many reasons for the decline. In order to determine its level, special laboratory tests are assigned, diagnostics are carried out, using the results of which a diagnosis is made.

How is a blood test performed?

What are the normal hematocrit in men and women, as well as children?

To lead the topic of low rates, you must first understand the indicators of the norm.

The average level of Nst is 0.45 l / liter (450 ml) - this is 40-45 percent of the total blood.

But the average percentage differs from the norm for men, women and children, and also depends on their age.

  1. In children:
  • Newborns - 44-62%,
  • Grudnichkov - 36-44%,
  • From 2 to 5 years - 32-41%,
  • From 6 to 11 years old - 33-44%.
  1. In adult men:
  • From 18 to 45 years old - 39-49%,
  • After 45 years - 40-50%.
  1. Among women:
  • From 18 to 45 years old - 35-45%,
  • After 45 years - 35-47%,
  • Separately for a woman during pregnancy - hematocrit is usually below normal due to an increase in the total amount of blood.

Since low NST warns about the development of anemia, it means that factors affecting the appearance of anemia will also affect hematocrit.

What does hematocrit decrease tell you?

Erythrocytes are to some extent responsible for the state of the whole organism, since they supply every cell of it with oxygen, and these ellipsoid bodies are obliged to take carbon dioxide from the cells.

But when the supply of cells is disturbed (with a decrease in the number of red blood cells and their inability to cope with the task), hypoxia develops, which in turn will lead to disruption of the acid-base balance and dysfunction of each individual organ.

Low blood levels cause:

  • Fatigue and malaise,
  • Heart palpitations and tachypnea,
  • Headaches and hair loss
  • Marbling of the skin.

These figures are lowered very often if the woman is pregnant, but in order to confirm the diagnosis of anemia, you need to go for an additional examination and pass the appropriate analysis.

What level does hematocrit show in pregnant women?

As already mentioned, in pregnant women, this indicator is lowered. This decrease is due to a sharp increase in the amount of plasma (up to 33 percent), and this is considered normal for this situation and does not require additional treatment. Because at the end of the gestation period, the HCT index will recover and return to normal. But to monitor its rate in pregnant women need to be especially careful, as it can manifest itself in the form of iron deficiency anemia, which is associated with overhydration.

Especially low levels of HCT during pregnancy can be observed in cases of:

  • Severe toxicosis
  • Pregnancy women at a very young age
  • Pregnancy with multiple fruits
  • Re-pregnancy after a very short time,
  • Iron deficiency in food
  • If a woman was diagnosed with anemia before pregnancy.

Anemia adversely affects a woman, causing bleeding, premature labor and postpartum depression, but even more harming the fetus, since its development can occur with pathologies:

  • Underweight,
  • Defective (slow) physical development,
  • Congenital anemia
  • Pathologies of the nervous system and brain.

It is worth noting that if a low indicator of vitamin B12 is also noted in the mother's body, then the child can be born with pathologies of the central nervous system.

What is HCT responsible for in children?

The decrease in hematocrit is possible:

  • By reducing the rate of formation of red blood cells in the bone marrow,
  • Due to an excessive amount of circulating blood through the arteries and veins,
  • With internal and external bleeding,
  • Due to increasing levels of total protein,
  • As a result of accelerated hemolysis of red blood cells.
Hypoxia - low oxygen content in the body or individual organs and tissues

HCT in children most often indicates precisely the development of anemia, therefore it is necessary to diversify the child’s nutrition, make it full, as the child will be sluggish, get tired quickly, and he will lose interest in everything.

Who is at risk for hematocrit?

Such categories of people are most subject to risks:

  • Pregnant women in the second and third trimester, as well as women in labor,
  • People who have problems with the heart, blood vessels, liver and kidneys,
  • Children who are starving or lacking iron in their food,
  • Children who have dramatically pulled in growth and lack nutrition,
  • People who are bedridden and have been in a horizontal position for a long time,
  • People are tobacco-dependent.

Treatment of hematocrit abnormalities

In order to return the indicator back to normal, you need to revise your diet and begin to use those products that "know" how to increase hematocrit:

  • Products enriched with iron (eggs, beans, dried fruits, beef liver, greens, red and chicken meat and seafood),
  • Foods rich in vitamin C (currants, sea buckthorn, wild rose, cauliflower and red cabbage, broccoli, viburnum, strawberries, tomatoes) - improves the body's absorption of iron,
  • Food supplements with iron - if the person is also allergic to the above products or to vitamin C.
If the cause of low hematocrit is anemia, it is necessary to eat foods rich in iron.

Regarding pregnant women, in order to avoid the development of fetal abnormalities, a course of injecting iron and vitamin complexes are attributed.

Video - determination of hematocrit

A decrease in hematocrit does not in itself indicate a specific disease. This is only confirmation of the fact that red blood cells are low, which may be the cause of the development of anemia, which in turn accompanies various human ailments.

Symptoms caused by anemia (fatigue, shortness of breath, headache, tachycardia) with oxygen starvation of cells disrupt the normal functioning of each organ.

So get tested, get tested on time and don't let an illness ruin your life.

Hematocrit norm

For men, the hematocrit value is normally equal to:

  • from 18 to 45 years old - 39-49%,
  • from 45 years old - 40-50%.

  • from 18 to 45 years old - 35-45%,
  • from 45 years old - 35-47%.

  • for newborns - 33-65%,
  • up to a year - 33-44%,
  • from 1 to 5 years - 32-41%,
  • from 6 to 11 years old - 33-44%.

For pregnant women, a slight decrease in hematocrit is allowed.

Most often, low hematocrit signals anemia. In addition, it can be reduced in some diseases, including dangerous ones. The main reasons for lowering hematocrit are as follows:

  • severe bleeding due to injuries, fractures of large bones, internal bleeding, gynecological diseases, menstruation,
  • rigid diet, starvation,
  • • sweat regimen for a long time,
  • slow formation of red blood cells, impaired hemoglobin synthesis in sickle cell anemia, thalassemia,
  • the premature death of red blood cells with genetically determined cell defects, autoimmune and toxic effects on them,
  • blood thinning
  • hyperproteinemia, or a high level of proteins in the blood, in connection with such pathological processes as myeloma, hemoblastosis and others,
  • large amounts of fluid in the body (hyperhydration) due to intravenous infusions, renal failure, infectious diseases,
  • pregnancy (second half).

The decrease in hematocrit is observed in the following diseases:

  • anemia, in which the number of red blood cells is reduced,
  • oncological diseases of the bone marrow, malignant tumors, resulting in reduced production of red cells,
  • chronic inflammatory processes,
  • vascular diseases
  • kidney disease (renal artery stenosis, renal failure, polycystic kidney disease),
  • liver disease.

Hematocrit during pregnancy

In women during gestation, the hematocrit may be below normal. This results from the fact that the blood volume increases at the expense of plasma. During this period, this figure may be 33%, and this is considered normal. Special treatment, as a rule, is not required, and in the third trimester, the index returns to normal in a natural way due to the intensive elimination of excess fluid. However, we must not forget that during pregnancy you need to constantly monitor the composition of the blood. Pregnant women often develop iron deficiency anemia, in which Ht is less than the norm. Its reduction in expectant mothers may be due to overhydration.

Reduced hematocrit in children

If a child has a hematocrit value below normal, what does this mean? For clarification required to conduct a survey. The reasons for lowering the hematocrit in a child may be several, among them:

  • reduced rate of formation of red blood cells in the bone marrow,
  • the rapid breakdown of red blood cells
  • high blood protein levels
  • large volume of circulating blood
  • bleeding.

Anemia is the most common cause of low hematocrit in a child.

Who is at risk?

This category includes:

  • pregnant women with a period longer than 4 months
  • women immediately after childbirth,
  • suffering from chronic cardiovascular, hepatic and renal diseases,
  • children whose diet is not enough foods rich in iron,
  • fast growing children who do not get enough nutrition
  • smokers
  • people who are stationary for a long time.


The deviation from the norm of the number of Ht is not the basis for diagnosis. If a person has a hematocrit below normal, this means that the red blood cell level is lowered. Most often this indicates anemia, which, in turn, may accompany some diseases. In addition, a person experiences malaise, shortness of breath, headaches, heart palpitations due to oxygen starvation, which can lead to disruption of any organ. It is important to undergo an examination and to clarify the diagnosis in order to start treatment on time, if necessary.