Why is there a decrease in hematocrit in the blood and how to increase it

Lowered hematocrit: what does it mean?

1 34 - 21Let’s start 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 erythrocytes to the total amount of blood in the venous and arterial vessels.

The overwhelming number of particles are erythrocytes, therefore it is generally accepted that hematocrit (Hst) is an indicator of the number of erythrocytes to blood volume (it is counted in liters).

Now about erythrocytes: the duties of these blood particles include the delivery of oxygen to the blood and the removal of carbon dioxide from it. A certain (normal) number of them cope with this task. Accordingly, if there are fewer red blood cells, then the hematocrit will also be reduced, which means that various pathologies may develop.

For this reason, this topic requires special attention and careful study, since there can be many reasons for the decline. To determine its level, special laboratory tests are prescribed, diagnostics are carried out, with the help of the results of which a diagnosis is made.

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How is the blood test done

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

To lead the topic of lowered rates, you first need to understand the rate indicators.

The average HST level is 0,45 L/liter (450 ml) – this is 40-45 percent of the total amount of blood.

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

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

Since low Нst warns of the development of anemia, it means that the factors influencing the appearance of anemia will also affect the decrease in hematocrit.

What does a decrease in hematocrit mean?

2 4 24 - 25Erythrocytes are to some extent responsible for the state of the whole organism, since they provide oxygen to each of its cells, and these elliptical bodies are also required to take carbon dioxide from the cells.

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

Its level lowered in blood causes:

  • Fatigue and general malaise,
  • Palpitations and tachypnea
  • Headaches and hair loss
  • Marbling of the skin.

These indicators are lowered very often if a 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.

Causes of low hematocrit

Anemia can develop as a result of a lack of blood cells according to the ml/liter scheme in such cases:

  • 5 21 - 27During pregnancy (especially in the second half of the term),
  • During blood loss, including during menstruation, after injuries, gynecological diseases, fractures and internal bleeding,
  • If, on the contrary, the volume of blood is increased relative to the number of red blood cells (fluid accumulation or overhydration may be associated with intravenous infusions or infectious infections),
  • If the blood is very thin,
  • Those who are fasting, are on a rigid, exhausting diet, or are malnourished,
  • As a result of the slow formation of red blood cells and low hemoglobin levels in the blood,
  • With hyperproteinemia (with multiple myeloma),
  • With liver dysfunction,
  • If you take biological material for analysis from a person who is in a horizontal position, or if a person is seriously ill and is forced to lie down for a long time.

6 13 - 29Hematocrit is influenced by a myriad of factors – even people living at different altitudes relative to sea level will have different HCT values. A large percentage of red blood cells – a person has polycythemia (increased Hst), and if it is very low – then anemia.

What disease can develop with a decrease in indicators:

  • Vascular and hepatic pathologies,
  • Nephropathy (with polycystic kidney disease, renal artery stenosis, renal failure),
  • Anemia (decreased blood cell count)
  • Chronic inflammatory pathological processes,
  • Oncological diseases in the bone marrow area, dangerous tumors (cancer).

All these ailments are very dangerous for human life and health, but they can be avoided if you conduct an examination in time: take an analysis and determine what exactly affected your body and lowered the level of blood cells.

False results

This can happen when blood was taken from a place where the hand was squeezed for a long time (for example, with a tourniquet), or the person previously took a drug that thinned the blood. Also, an underestimated level in the analysis will show if an infusion was made into a vein or a person was lying when they took fluid from him for analysis.

3 30 - 31How is the analysis carried out in the laboratory and the blood gets into the test tube? Directly on the day of sampling, such a test tube is usually already prepared, treated with a substance that prevents blood from clotting, because otherwise it will not be possible to take an analysis from it.

The sample is sent to the laboratory, where there is a special apparatus in which the tubes are placed and rotated with centrifugal force (centrifugation occurs). After that, the blood is separated: less dense (plasma, the main part of which, 90% is water, 8% is protein and 2% is hormones) rises, and more dense (white cells or platelets, there are less than 1% of them, and red blood cells – 45%) – goes down (settles to the bottom).

And then, during the diagnosis of blood cells, the amount (or percentage) of hematocrit is already determined (it is equal to the volume of red cells divided by the total blood volume).

What level does the hematocrit show in pregnant women?

7 12 - 33As already mentioned, this indicator is lowered in pregnant women. Such a decrease is due to a sharp increase in the amount of plasma (up to 33 percent), and this is considered normal for such a situation and does not require additional treatment. Because already at the end of pregnancy, the HCT indicator will recover and return to normal. But it is necessary to monitor its indicator in pregnant women especially carefully, since it can manifest itself in the form of iron deficiency anemia, which is associated with overhydration.

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

  • Severe toxicosis,
  • Pregnancy of a woman at a very young age,
  • Pregnancy with multiple fruits,
  • Re-pregnancy after a very short period of time,
  • Lack of iron in food,
  • If the woman has been diagnosed with anemia before pregnancy.

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

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

8 4 - 35It is worth noting that if a low vitamin B12 level is also noted in the mother’s body, then the child may be born with pathologies of the central nervous system.

What is HCT responsible for in children?

A decrease in hematocrit is possible:

  • Due to the decreased rate of red blood cell formation in the bone marrow,
  • Due to the increased amount of circulating blood through the arteries and veins,
  • With internal and external bleeding,
  • Due to the increase in total protein levels,
  • As a result of accelerated hemolysis of erythrocytes.

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Hypoxia – low oxygen content in the body or individual organs and tissues

HCT in children most often indicates the development of anemia, therefore, it is necessary to diversify the child’s diet, make it complete, since the child will be lethargic, get tired quickly, and he will lose interest in everything.

Who is at risk for hematocrit?

The following categories of people are most at risk:

  • 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 are sharply stretched in growth and lack food,
  • People who are bedridden and in a horizontal position for a long time
  • People are addicted to tobacco.

Treatment of abnormal hematocrit levels

To independently return the indicator to normal, you need to revise your diet and start using those foods that “know” how to increase the hematocrit:

  • Iron-fortified foods (eggs, beans, dried fruits, beef liver, greens, red and chicken meat and seafood),
  • Foods rich in vitamin C (currants, sea buckthorn, rose hips, cauliflower and red cabbage, broccoli, viburnum, strawberries, tomatoes) – improves the absorption of iron by the body,
  • Iron supplements – if the person is also allergic to the above foods or to vitamin C.

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If anemia is the cause of the low hematocrit, you should eat foods rich in iron.

Regarding pregnant women, in order to avoid the development of fetal pathologies, a course with iron injections and vitamin complexes is attributed.

Video determination of hematocrit number


A decrease in hematocrit does not in itself indicate a specific disease. This is only confirmation of the fact of a low level of red blood cells, which can 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 every organ.

So get tested, get tested on time and don’t let the disease ruin your life.

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Tatyana Jakowenko

Editor-in-chief of the Detonic online magazine, cardiologist Yakovenko-Plahotnaya Tatyana. Author of more than 950 scientific articles, including in foreign medical journals. He has been working as a cardiologist in a clinical hospital for over 12 years. He owns modern methods of diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular diseases and implements them in his professional activities. For example, it uses methods of resuscitation of the heart, decoding of ECG, functional tests, cyclic ergometry and knows echocardiography very well.

For 10 years, she has been an active participant in numerous medical symposia and workshops for doctors - families, therapists and cardiologists. He has many publications on a healthy lifestyle, diagnosis and treatment of heart and vascular diseases.

He regularly monitors new publications of European and American cardiology journals, writes scientific articles, prepares reports at scientific conferences and participates in European cardiology congresses.