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What causes low hematocrit levels?

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Quick Answer

Low hematocrit may indicate a low number of red blood cells, a large number of white blood cells, mineral or vitamin deficiencies, or blood loss, according to Mayo Clinic. This test measures the amount of red blood cells in comparison to other blood cells.

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Full Answer

The results of a hematocrit blood test most often come in the form of a percent, states Mayo Clinic. The normal range for men is between 38.8 and 50 percent. For women, the normal range is 34.9 to 44.5 percent. The results for children under the age of 15 varies based on their age and gender. The results of any hematocrit test help the doctor determine what the patient's symptoms may mean and how he should treat these symptoms to make the patient well.

In some cases, the results of a hematocrit test can be skewed based on a variety of complicating factors, such as altitude, recent blood loss and pregnancy, explains Mayo Clinic. A recent blood transfusion or dehydration may also skew the results of the test. The patient should make sure to tell the doctor if she falls into any of these categories before the blood test. If not, the doctor may order the test to be done again to ensure accuracy.

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