T Nation

Low Hemocrit


#1

Yesterday I went to donate blood and register to be a bone marrow donor. Part of the process involved having my hemocrit levels tested. I did not what hemocrit was until today and I was at the low level for donating blood (41). I did a Google and T-forum search but could nor find out much info about the cause(s) and what to do about it.

I have been eating a fairly balanced diet, not low carb, and doing mostly a big boy basics workout and little to no cardio.

Any suggestions T-Gurus?


#2

41 isnt that low


#3

Blood donors are not allowed to donate blood if their hematocrit (iron) levels are too low. It's happened to me before, too, Sully.

The restriction is for your safety and ensures that after donating blood your hematocrit levels will still be within the normal range.

Hematocrit levels can fluctuate daily so it does not necessarily mean you are anemic. But you can help increase your hematocrit levels by eating foods high in iron such as red meat, dark green vegetables and raisins or by taking a multivitamin that contains iron.


#4

I knew I could count on an intelligent response from Tampa-Terry. I thought it was mostly a genetic thing and not diet related. I will follow your suggestions.

I nominate T-T for the most helpful T-magger of them all. Always the first online to help.


#5

Well, normal adult male levels fall between 40-54ml/100ml, so at 41, you're still within the medically accepted normal range.

There are generally three stages to iron deficiency and its assessment. The third occurs when a lack of iron limits hemoglobin production. As a result, the hemoglobin precursor, erythrocyte protoporphyrin begins to accumulate as hemoglobin and hematocrit values decline.

Hemoglobin and hematocrit tests are quick and easy, and are therefore common tests of iron deficiency. However, other nutrient deficiencies and medical conditions can influence their values, so it's not necessarily an issue with iron. A deficiency in folate or Vitamin B12 can also cause this.

More accurate tests or iron deficiency include:

  1. Serum ferritin
  2. Transferrin saturation
  3. Erythrocyte protoporphyrin

#6

and the only way to assess iron deficiency anemia properly is to use all three of those tests, with at least 2/3 classifying as IDA


#7

Actually folks, the hematocrit is nothing more than a percentage of blood cells per whole blood volume. If he had a 41%, then 41% of his blood is cellular, and 59% is plasma. Obviously, we don't want donors with a low hematocrit because the product we get from them would be a lot of plasma and not as many cells as we would like. Also, there is the detrimental health issue for the donor which is really a minor one. Donating a unit of blood isn't going to kill anyone who can walk in the door under their own power.

I would agree with whoever said that 41% isn't bad. Don't fret about it.


#8

Actually TT, I disagree. Hematocrit does NOT directly reflect iron levels, but instead the relative concentration of cells per given volume of whole blood. Anemia is a broad term used to define either a decrease in the number of red cells, a decrease in the hemoglobin amount, or a decreased volume of red cells in the sample.

The reason why the H and H is done prior to donating blood is because it is a simple way of estimating the total volume of red cells, and thus whether or not a person may be affected by losing some blood. Sully's hemoglobin and hematocrit were on the low end of normal, and donating blood would have dropped him below normal due to the physical loss of red cells. Nothing to lose sleep over even if he did donate. We see people walking around in the hospital with hemoglobins MUCH lower than Sully's and functioning fine (I'm assuming it was around 13?).

Sully, if you're truly concerned about any type of anemia, have a workup done in which the red blood cell indices and the iron tests Thunder mentioned are analyzed. The indices refer to the actual size of the cells, concentration of hemoglobin in the cells, etc. A blood smear would also help to diagnose anemias based on the color and shape of the cells, but I don't think this is indicated here.

Sully has no reason to think he is iron-deficient being a male w/no menstrual blood loss and assuming he eats meat. I would recommend a multivitamin without iron due to the fact that many people complain that supplemental iron causes stomach irritation.


#9

Damn! There are a lot of really smart people out there in T-land.

Thanks to all for the help and I will follow Thunder's advice and get the blood work up done and Scrub's multi vitamin advice.

Give life. Be a blood and bone marrow donor.


#10

Thanks for clearing that up, Scrub! The info came from my local blood bank. (chuckling)


#11

Bumping this thread for a response from Scrub, Thunder,MD & Tampa-Terry et al.

I recieved a notice from United Blood Services today stating that they could nor use my blood due to a Positive Direct Antiglobulin test(DAT). I am not an any meds or over the counter drugs, and drink only in moderation(2-3) two or three time a week. No iv drugs or tattoos either.

What tests should I request and what should I ask my Doctor.


#12

Forgot to add that my sister has been diagnosed with lupus for about 20 years.

I am 39 years old.


#13

Boy, Sully, this one's out of my league. Scrub is online intermittently due to a heavy course load, I'm sure. Why don't you try PM'ing him and asking him to stop by and comment on the thread.

I'd also be asking everyone questions; the blood bank, your doc, etc.

Good luck, Sully!!!


#14

I have a Dr. appointment for Tuesday.

From what I have read the positive DAT could mean Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, which would explain some of the tendonitis problems, or Hemolytic Anemia.


#15

Sully,
A positive DAT is basically when your red blood cells are coated with antibodies from your own immune system.

Medically, the positive DAT is not good news. It's not the end of the world, either, but damn. The list of maladies which convert you to a positive DAT are scary. Cancer, Leukemia, Lupus, Syphilis, just to name a few.

But, it could also be Mononucleosis, A drug interaction or sensitivity, a mycoplasma infection (a kind of atypical pneumonia), and these aren't so bad. Also, rarely some people just test out positive with no underlying medical problem.

I don't mean to scare you, here, but let's make sure it's not something serious, huh? Going to see the doctor is a good idea. Have him run some more blood tests. I suggest that you ask your doctor for a CBC, Mono screen, RPR, and a Lupus Anticoagulant screen. You said your sister has Lupus? Hmmm. That doesn't mean that YOU have it, too, but it couldn't hurt to be sure.

Good luck. Keep us posted.


#16

Sully,

You may very well be into the realm of the less then common medical illnesses. Make sure you are dealing with a highly competent doc (e.g. find one associated with a major teaching hospital). Consider getting a second opinion, and if you are given some scary label e.g. lupus consider alternative treatments (e.g. LEF.org) before letting anyone give you any nasty western drugs (this applies to many of the drugs used to treat lupus e.g. steroids and I don't mean the good kind).


#17

Lothario1132 & ScottL

Thanks for the support and the much need info on the tests I should have done.

This is just a problem looking for a solution. Went to the life extension site and found some interesting info.