Facts about Anemia

There are many different reasons why you dontate blood and why blood is needed.  One of the main reasons people donate blood is to help others as well as helping out their community.   Even though you may feel healthy and fit, you may be “deferred” from giving blood, this occurs in about 10% of people who are trying to donate.   The most common reason for being deferred is a low blood count.  A low blood count is also referred to as Anemia.  There are some very simple measures that one can take to raise their blood count back to a healthy level.

Starting with discussing the situation with you doctor.  Your doctor will recommend what actions you need to take to bring your count up so that you can successfully donate blood in the future.  He will also try to determine exactly what caused this  to occur.  Knowing why your count is below the normal level will help in many ways.  Some of the reasons for this could be an iron deficiency,vitamin deficiency, or chronic illness.

An iron and vitamin deficiency may be the result of not eating properly.  Iron and vitamins are the nutrients that are found in all the foods that we eat therefore a proper diet is a must.  Iron  supports our muscle proteins, bones and helps to build up our red blood cells.    Your blood carries oxygen from your lungs to all parts of your body which gives you the strength and ability to do your daily routines.  When you do not have enough iron in your blood, it makes you feel tired and weak.  This results in inactivity and can develop into anemia.

Vitamins play a different roll.  A few examples of which vitamins perform different functions are:  B6 and B12 production and maintaining healthy nerves, folic acid assists in making both red and white blood cells.  

Symptoms of anemia may be fatigue, weakness, pale skin, chest pain just to name a few.  One symptom that many people may not be aware of is unusual food craving but specifically ice.  A lot of people constantly chew on ice cubes, whether straight from the ice bin or from the drinks that they have ordered while  in a restaurant, not knowing that this is a symptom of anemia.

One of the tests that your doctor may perform is a CBC blod test, this stands for Complete Blood Count and will advise your doctor what your hematocrit and hemogloblin levels are.  The healthy range depend on age and gender.

Treatment for anemia is as simple as changing your diet.  Eating foods that are high in iron would be easy for most people.  This would include beef, pork, poultry, and fish as these are very high in iron.  Iron is also found in eggs, dairy products and vegetables but this is sometimes harder to absorb the iron from these foods.  If you have a hard time absorbing the iron and vitamins that these foods are giving you, your doctor may prescribe a supplment for you to take as well.


General Heathly Hematocrit & Hemoglobin Values
Female/ Male
Hemoglobin 12.3 – 15.3g/dL 14.0 – 17.4g/dL
Hematocrit 36.0 – 45.0% 41.5 – 50.4%

Reference ranges for illustrative purposes only and may vary by age, ethnic group and pre/postmenopausal females. Perkins S. Wintrobe’s Clinical Hematology. 1998.22

Information obtained from http://www.anemia.org

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