Low Blood Count Causes

Red blood cells, white blood cells, plasma, and platelets are all grouped together as blood elements which make up your blood. When you have a complete blood count done, the test looks for these elements and other measurements which help the doctors determine accurate results. There are a multitude of low blood count causes that can be determined by these tests. This is why it is important that you contact your doctor if you have, or believe you have any one of the medical conditions which may cause a low blood count.

Low Blood Count Causes

Low Red Blood Cell Count Causes

Low red blood cell count, low hemoglobin, or low hematocrit is commonly classified together. This is because the hemoglobin is what carries oxygen in your red blood cells (this is also what gives it the red color). The hematocrit is the percentage of red blood cells you have compared to the plasma in your blood.

Causes include:

  • Trauma
  • Destruction of red blood cells due to hemolytic anemia, sickle cell anemia, thalassemia, or an abnormality in the red blood cell membrane
  • Kidney disease causes your kidney to produce too little erythropoietin, which can lead to low blood cell counts
  • Failure of your bone marrow or other damage done to your bone marrow
  • Multiple Myeloma which is also a cancer, but it affects the plasma cells in the bone marrow
  • Other bone marrow disorders such as leukemia, myelodysplasia, lymphoma, or any other cancer which may spread to the bone marrow.
  • Malnutrition or nutrition deficiencies such as low iron, copper, folate, vitamin B12, and vitamin B6
  • Hemolysis, also known as RBC destruction, can occur after a transfusion, injury to a blood vessel, or other causes
  • Sudden acute or chronic bleeding in the digestive tract or other areas that may cause large amounts of blood loss
  • Chronic inflammation or other medical conditions
  • Pregnancy
  • Many drugs can also lower your red blood cell count, such as chemotherapy drugs, chloramphenicol, quinidine, and hydrations

Low White Blood Cell Count Causes

White blood cells are the main components of the body’s immune system. When they are low, your body is unable to keep itself healthy. Low blood count causes of this kind include:

  • Damage to you bone marrow due to chemotherapy, radiation therapy, toxins, and drugs
  • Many bone marrow disorders such as myelodysplastic syndrome and vitamin B12 or folate deficiencies
  • Lymphoma and other cancers that spread into the bone marrow
  • Any autoimmune disorders which attack the white blood cells
  • Dietary deficiencies, vitamin deficiencies, malnutrition
  • Chronic infections or infections which block the function of the bone marrow
  • HIV and other immune diseases that destroy T cells
  • Aplastic anemia
  • Several antibiotics and diuretics
  • The spleen destroying blood cells, commonly known as hypersplenism
  • Low neutrophil production
  • Lupus
  • Diseases caused by parasites

Low Platelet Count Causes

The main function of blood platelets is to help your blood clot so that you do not bleed out. When they are low, your health is in danger. Below you will find some of the most common causes of low blood count in terms of platelets.

Medical conditions which affect the bone marrow:

  • Aplastic anemia
  • Vitamin B12 and iron deficiencies
  • HIV, Epstein-Barr virus, and other viral infections
  • Cancer treatments
  • Imbibing in alcohol
  • Cirrhosis
  • Various forms of cancer

Medical conditions which destroy the platelets:

  • Diuretics, seizure medications, and many other medications
  • Having an enlarged spleen
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Pregnancy
  • Infections in the blood caused by bacteria
  • ITP & TTP – idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura & thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura
  • Hemolytic uremic syndrome
  • DIC – disseminated intravascular coagulation

Symptoms of Low Blood Count

Your blood is made up of various elements. When you have a complete blood count, each of these is measured to help determine the low blood count causes. Part of your blood is made up of red blood cells which carry oxygen throughout your body. The red blood cells are able to do this because of the oxygen carrying protein called hemoglobin, which is another element measured. As your red blood cells are counted, the percentage of red blood cells to the plasma is also calculated; this is known as your hematocrit. The other part of your blood is made up of white blood cells, which have the main function of fighting infections, and platelets to help your blood clot.

There are a few symptoms of low blood counts that you may notice; when you notice them, it is important to consult your doctor for a proper treatment plan.

Symptoms of Low Red Blood Cell Count

  • Tiredness or extreme fatigue
  • Inability to focus like you believe you should
  • Lack of appetite or unintentional weight loss
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Pale skin
  • Increased heart rate
  • Lowered ability to exert yourself

Symptoms of Low Platelet Count

  • Bruises that don't heal
  • Bleeding that doesn't clot
  • Heavier periods
  • Regular nose bleeds
  • Small red spots under your skin caused by bleeding
  • Gums that bleed easily, especially after a visit to your dentist

Symptoms of Low White Blood Cell Count

  • Fevers and infections that continually return
  • UTI or bladder infections
  • Infections in the lung that cause you to cough continuously and have difficulty breathing
  • Sores in your mouth
  • Stuffy nose or other sinus infections
  • Infections on or in your skin
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