Hematocrit is a measure of the percentage of red blood cells in your blood. A high hematocrit indicates that you have more red blood cells than normal, while a low hematocrit means that you have fewer red blood cells than usual. Many factors can affect your hematocrit, including your age, gender, altitude, and smoking status.
While a high or low hematocrit isn’t always caused for concern, it can be a sign of an underlying medical condition. For example, low hematocrit levels can indicate anemia, which means your body doesn’t have enough oxygen-carrying capacity. Anemia can make you feel tired and weak.
That’s why it’s important to talk to your doctor if you think your hematocrit is outside of the normal range. In addition to helping diagnose an underlying condition, they can also help you understand what factors may be affecting your hematocrit and how to keep it within a healthy range.
What are the causes of abnormal hematocrit levels?
One of the most common causes of high hemoglobin count is dehydration. When the body is dehydrated, it concentrates the red blood cells and causes the hemoglobin count to increase. Other causes of high hemoglobin include smoking, certain medical conditions and medications such as testosterone.
One of the most common side effects of testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) is an increase in hematocrit levels. Fortunately, there are several ways how you can lower hematocrit levels while on TRT. One of the most effective methods are to donate blood regularly and stay well hydrated.
Smoking causes the body to produce more red blood cells in order to get oxygen to the lungs, and certain medications can increase red blood cell production. disorders that can cause an increase in hemoglobin levels include polycythemia vera, a rare blood disorder, and sickle cell disease. Some cancers can also cause an increase in hemoglobin levels.
The most common cause of low hematocrit is anemia, which can be caused by a lack of iron in the diet or by blood loss. Other common causes of low hematocrit include chronic illnesses such as kidney disease or cancer and certain medications that can affect the production of red blood cells.
Why do you need to get a hematocrit test?
Hematocrit tests are commonly performed to check for anemia, which is a condition in which the blood doesn’t have enough healthy red blood cells. Doctors may also use hematocrit tests to check for other conditions that can cause anemia, such as bleeding or bone marrow problems.
During a hematocrit test, a small sample of blood is taken from a vein in the arm. The blood is then placed in a special tube that is centrifuged or spun very fast. This separates the blood cells from the liquid part of the blood so that the percentage of red blood cells can be measured.
The results of the test are typically available within a few minutes. In most cases, no preparation is needed before having a hematocrit test. However, it’s important to tell your doctor if you have any medical conditions or are taking any medications that could affect the results of the test.
What are the normal ranges of the hematocrit test?
The average hematocrit for men is between 38-48%, and for women it is between 35-45%. A normal hematocrit level indicates that there are enough red blood cells present to carry oxygen to the body’s tissues.
What to do if your levels are abnormal
Low hematocrit levels can have a variety of causes, ranging from blood loss to an underlying medical condition. In some cases, lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking or increasing iron intake, may be enough to raise hematocrit levels. However, if the cause is an underlying medical condition, more specific treatment may be necessary.
If you have abnormally low hematocrit levels, there are a few things you can do to help increase them.
- Eat a balanced diet that includes plenty of iron-rich foods. You may also need to take iron supplements.
- Get regular exercise. Exercise helps to increase the production of red blood cells, which can help to raise your hematocrit levels.
If you have high hematocrit levels, it is important to see a doctor so that the underlying cause can be diagnosed and treated. There are several things you can do to help prevent high hematocrit levels, including staying hydrated, quitting smoking, and avoiding dehydrating medications. Also, there are treatments available that can help to lower your hematocrit levels and improve your health.