What Is Low red blood cell count?
Haemoglobin is the protein which is present in the red blood cells and carries oxygen to the various parts of the body.
Typically, the normal haemoglobin level for men is more than 13.5 gm/100ml and for women, it is more than 12 gm/100ml. When the haemoglobin or the red blood cell count is lower than the normal level, the condition is known as anaemia.
What Are The Symptoms Of Low red blood cell count?
Some of the symptoms of anaemia are:
- Feeling tired
- Getting fatigued very easily
- Pale skin or/and pale gums
- Developing palpitations or the racing of the heart
- Shortness of breath
Some other symptoms include:
- General feeling of being unwell (malaise)
- Hair loss
- Heart problems becoming worse
What Are The Causes Of Low red blood cell count?
There are over 400 kinds of anaemia, which are essentially categorised into 3 groups:
- Anaemia due to loss of blood.
- Anaemia due to faulty production of red blood cells.
- Anaemia due to the destruction of red blood cells.
Anaemia due to loss of blood
The causes of this are:
- Gastrointestinal ailments such as gastritis (stomach inflammation), ulcers, haemorrhoids and cancer
- Usage of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS like ibuprofen, aspirin, etc.) that can cause gastritis and ulcers.
- Menstruation and childbirth (in women).
Anaemia due to faulty production of red blood cells
- Iron-deficiency anaemia.
- Sickle cell anaemia (genetic defect).
- Problems of the stem cell and bone marrow.
- Vitamin deficiency (deficiency of folate and vitamin B12).
Megaloblastic anaemia (vitamin B12 and/or folate deficiency).
Pernicious anaemia (poor B12 absorption due to removal of part of intestine or stomach, parasitic infection of the intestine, infection with HIV, or Crohn’s disease).
Other causes of vitamin deficiency: some medications, alcohol abuse, pregnancy, intestinal diseases like celiac disease and tropical sprue.
Chronic diseases like infection, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, cancer and diabetes
- Anaemia due to the destruction of red blood cells
The red blood cells become very fragile and rupture leading to haemolytic anaemia due to:
- Generic conditions like thalassemia and sickle cell anaemia.
- Infections, spider or snake venom, drugs, some foods.
- Prosthetic heart valves, tumours, vascular grafts, severe burns, clotting disorders, severe hypertension.
- Attack by the immune system.
- Enlarged spleen.
- Toxins from kidney or liver disease.
What Are The Things One Should Do To Manage Low red blood cell count?
- Exercise regularly, like running, cycling, jogging, swimming, aerobics, spinning, etc., as this helps to create healthy red blood cells.
- Balance both activities and rest.
- Drink plenty of fluids and water and stay hydrated.
What Are The Things One Should Avoid To Manage Low red blood cell count?
- Avoid alcohol consumption, as drinking too much alcohol causes lowered red blood cells.
What Are The Best Foods For Low red blood cell count?
- Iron is the main component that is used by the body to make haemoglobin. Eating iron-rich foods such as oysters, mussels, clams, spinach, tuna, prune juice, tofu, beef, lentils, chicken liver, white beans, etc. helps to prevent anaemia.
- Vitamin B12 is essential for the production of new red blood cells. Eating foods such as milk, cheese, shellfish, fish, red meat, soymilk, almond milk, soybeans, nutritional yeast that are rich in vitamin B12 prevents low red blood cell count.
- Food like garbanzo beans, lentils, spinach and asparagus, enriched bread and grains are rich in folate or folic acid (vitamin B9), which helps to prevent anaemia.
- Vitamin C helps the body to absorb more iron that prevents anaemia, so eat foods rich in vitamin C like such as oranges, grapefruit juice, strawberries, red pepper, kiwifruit, etc.
- Copper improves the ability of the body to utilise iron. So, eating foods rich in copper such as shellfish, cashew nuts, sunflower seeds, beef liver and lentils help to prevent anaemia.
- Foods such as carrots, sweet potato, beef liver, kale, collard greens, cod liver oil, mango, cantaloupe, etc. are rich in vitamin A that prevent anaemia.
What Are The Worst Foods For Low red blood cell count?
- Processed grains and foods like white rice, white bread, pasta, refined flour, etc. worsen the condition of anaemia.
- Chocolate has a compound that removes iron from the body. So, if you’re suffering from low red blood cell count, then it is a good idea to avoid chocolate.
- Bran is a source of insoluble fibre, which traps and eliminates iron from the body during digestion. So, it is best to avoid bran.
- Calcium binds with the iron present in the foods and hampers the absorption, so it is best to avoid dairy foods like milk, cheese, etc. if you are suffering from anaemia.
- Avoid caffeine based beverages such as coffee, tea, energy drinks, as this block the absorption of iron and worsens the condition of low red blood cells.
- Avoid soda, cola and other fizzy drinks as they are full of sugar and blocks iron absorption.
What Are The Medicines For Low red blood cell count?
What Are The Tips To Manage Low red blood cell count?
Some home remedies to prevent low red blood cell count (anaemia) are:
- Beetroot is rich in iron and helps to prevent anaemia. You can make juice with 1 beetroot, half a sweet potato and 3 carrots and drink it once daily. You can also include beetroots in your cooking or in your salads.
- Mixing a tablespoon of blackstrap molasses with a cup of hot milk or water and drinking it 1-2 times in a day or adding 2 teaspoons of blackstrap molasses with 1 cup of apple cider vinegar helps to prevent anaemia.
- Drinking a glass of fresh spinach juice with 2 teaspoons of honey daily or drinking spinach soup twice a day will help to increase the red blood cell count.
- Pomegranate is rich in iron and drinking a cup of pomegranate juice with 2 teaspoons of honey and 1/4th teaspoon of cinnamon powder or eating a medium-sized pomegranate every morning on empty stomach or drinking a cup of warm milk with 2 teaspoons of dried pomegranate seed powder 1-2 times daily helps to prevent anaemia.
- Soaking 2 tablespoons of black sesame seeds in water for 2-3 hours and making a paste of the seeds and having the mixture daily with a tablespoon of honey will help to increase the red blood cell count.
- Soaking 2 dates overnight in a cup of milk and drinking the milk and eating the dates on an empty stomach in the morning or eating dry dates on an empty stomach along with a cup of warm milk can help to prevent anaemia.
- Eating green apples daily or mixing fresh apple juice, beetroot juice and some honey and drinking this twice in a day can help to treat anaemia.
- Eating bananas can help to stimulate the production of red blood cells. So, you can eat a mashed ripe banana with 1 tablespoon of honey 2 times in a day to treat low red blood cell count.
- Soaking 10-12 blackcurrants in water overnight and eating them on an empty stomach can help to treat anaemia.
- Fenugreek helps to produce red blood cells and also maintains the iron in the body. So, you can add 2 teaspoons of fenugreek to your rice and eat it once in a day for 2-3 weeks or you can use fenugreek leaves in your recipes to treat anaemia.