Hematocrit: what is it?

To determine the proportional composition of the blood composed of cells and liquid, used hematocrit. It is used for the detection and monitoring of diseases that have a negative effect on the erythrocytes.

What is hematocrit?

The hematocrit (Ht) is the percentage of erythrocytes to total blood volume in the blood stream. In the blood this figure is considered to be an integral part of it, along with the hemoglobin, leukocytes and platelets. Because the purpose of erythrocytes is to transport oxygen from the lungs to the tissues of the body, Ht is a measure of the ability of blood to perform its main function.

What is the hematocrit?

The definition of the Ht is often used to detect anemia, especially in combination with the analysis of hemoglobin. Also, this analysis can be used for screening, diagnosis and monitoring of various diseases that violate the proportional composition of the blood. The hematocrit can be used to:

  • Identify and determine the severity of anemia (low red blood cells, low hemoglobin and low Ht) or polycythemia (high RBC, high hemoglobin and high Ht).
  • Monitoring the effectiveness of treatment of anemia or polycythemia, and other diseases that affect red blood cell production or lifespan.
  • The decision about the need for transfusion of blood products or conduct other treatment in severe anemia.
  • Assess the level of dehydration.

When administered analyzed for hematocrit?

Hematocrit routine is defined in the composition of the blood. The level of hemoglobin and hematocrit levels are often determined by the presence of symptoms and signs of the disease, which affects the number of red blood cells in the blood (e.g., anemia and polycythemia). Symptoms of anemia include:

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  • General weakness and fatigue.
  • The lack of energy.
  • Faint.
  • Pallor.
  • Shortness of breath.

Some symptoms of polycythemia include:

  • Disturbances.
  • Dizziness.
  • Headache.
  • Tides blood to a person.
  • Enlargement of the spleen.

Determination of hematocrit can be assigned to people with signs of severe dehydration, which include thirst, dry mouth, and a small amount of urine. This analysis can be performed multiple times if the patient has bleeding, anemia or polycythemia, to determine the effectiveness of therapy. Also, it can routine be prescribed to people who carried out the treatment of malignant tumors, since tools can often damage the bone marrow.

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What are the normal hematocrit?

As the hematocrit is part of the General blood analysis, the assessment of its magnitude are taken into account, the number of erythrocytes and reticulocytes and hemoglobin. Also, its magnitude is influenced by age and gender. The normal levels of the Ht:

  • Newborn – 55 – 68%.
  • At the age of 1 week – 47 – 65%.
  • At the age of 1 month – 37 – 49%.
  • At the age of 3 months – 30 – 36%.
  • At the age of 1 year – 29 – 41%.
  • At the age of 10 years – 36 – 40%.
  • Adult men – 42 – 54%.
  • Adult women – 38 – 46%.

In some cases the hematocrit lowered?

Low hematocrit low red blood cells and hemoglobin indicate anemia. Some reasons for this:

  • Blood loss – due to trauma or bleeding from the gastrointestinal tract (e.g. due to ulcers, polyps or cancers), bladder or uterus (for example, women have a strong menstruation).
  • Nutritional deficiencies such as iron, folic acid, vitamin B12.
  • Bone marrow damage, for example caused by toxins, radiation exposure or chemotherapy, infectious agents or drugs.
  • Diseases of the bone marrow such as aplastic anemia, myelodysplastic syndrome, blood cancer (leukemia), lymphoma, multiple myeloma, metastases of malignant tumors in the bone marrow.
  • Renal failure – severe kidney disease leads to impaired synthesis of erythropoietin, a hormone that stimulates the production of red blood cells in the bone marrow.
  • Chronic inflammatory diseases.
  • The decrease of hemoglobin synthesis (e.g., in thalassemia).
  • Excessive destruction of red blood cells, e.g. hemolytic anemia caused by autoimmune reactions or defects in the red blood cells, which can occur in hemoglobinopathies (sickle cell anemia), abnormalities in the membrane (hereditary spherocytosis) or enzymes (deficit glukozo-6-fosfatdegidrogenaza) of these blood cells.
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Under what conditions and diseases increased hematocrit?

High hematocrit in combination with increased erythrocyte and hemoglobin is a symptom of polycythemia. Some reasons for the increase in Ht:

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  • Dehydration is the most common cause of increased hematocrit. As the fluid level in the blood is reduced, the percentage of red blood cells increases. Sufficient intake of fluid in the body hematocrit returns to normal.
  • Lung disease – if the person is unable to breathe normally, and the body fails to receive enough oxygen, this condition kompensiruet the production of more red blood cells.
  • Congenital heart defects – some of them are characterized by the presence of a pathological connection between the two sides of the heart, which leads to a decrease in the level of oxygen in the blood. The body tries to compensate this condition by increasing the number of red blood cells.
  • Kidney tumors – they can produce more erythropoietin.
  • Smoking.
  • Accommodation at high altitude (compensation reduce the amount of oxygen in the blood).
  • Genetic causes (problems with binding and release of oxygen by hemoglobin).
  • True polycythemia is a rare disease in which the body produces excessive amount red blood cells unnecessarily.