If tiredness knocked your door too, and lately you notice various symptoms such as a yellow or pale face, decreased endurance, shortness of breath, tachycardia, difficulty in concentrating, and fainting tendencies, it may be time for some blood test!
Although your doctor will tell you which indexes you need to check, it’s easier when you understand what this is all about! Besides, most of us today want to know what is happening in our body and how we can deal with it.
Hematocrit is a value that indicates the percentage of volume occupied by red blood cells in our blood. Red blood cells are those cells that contain hemoglobin, a protein that transports oxygen to tissues and which is responsible for the red color in the blood!
Red blood cells are produced in the bone marrow. To do so, some nutrients such as iron, folic acid and Vitamin B12 are vital! When they are absent from the body due to poor diet or due to a disease, there is a difficulty in producing red blood cells, their amount in the blood is reduced and the result is low hematocrit!
Low hematocrit: When is it observed?
Low hematocrit is often observed in:
- Nutritional deficiency or malnutrition
- Hormonal disorders
- Bone marrow diseases
- Kidney disease
- Taking various medicines
- Overload with liquids
A small decrease can be seen in viral infections, body fatigue, intense stress, and insomnia! When the hematocrit value is low, oxygen becomes difficult to reach body’s organs. Along with the value of hemoglobin, we can see if someone has anemia.
Further tests that can show the causes of low hematocrit are ckecking iron, B12, folic acid, and ferritin levels!
Ferritin is a protein that stores iron and, under normal conditions, reflects the total iron stores in the body. It is a reliable marker and its level disruptions can mean serious problems for our body.
Low levels of ferritin indicate iron deficiency, which can lead to iron deficiency but also associated with hypothyroidism, weakness in the legs, difficulty in breathing and fainting. Low ferritin can result in skin, hair and nail lesions.
When the levels of ferritin are high then this means that the body has been overloaded with iron, a condition of particular concern, as it may indicate some liver problem, the presence of inflammation, and some studies show an increased risk of atherosclerosis in men (1).
Foods that increase hematocrit
If low hematocrit is due to iron deficiency, then you should put in your diet foods rich in it such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and dark green vegetables and seeds. Beware that vegetable sources of iron do not combine with dairy products as their absorption is reduced. Also choose fruits and vegetables rich in Vitamin C, which helps iron get better absorbed, such as oranges, kiwi, strawberries, tomatoes and more.
If low hematocrit is due to vitamin B12 deficiency, focus on food of animal origin, whereas if folic acid (vitamin B9) is the problem, find it in whole grains, legumes, spinach, avocados, asparagus and others.
Surely your doctor or nutritionist will give you specific instructions and if he thinks it necessary, he or she may recommend a food supplement with iron, folate or B12 depending on the deficiencies that will be identified.
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