Red Blood Cells (RBCs) are the oxygen carriers in the human body. The hemoglobin that it contains carries the oxygen and gives the red color to the blood. However, if these RBCs become very low and decrease below the accepted level, it has very severe and grave effects.
Causes of low RBC Count
The most common cause of a low RBC count is chemotherapy. Chemotherapy is used to tackle the disease of cancer. However, chemotherapy too has its side-effects. One of the most important side-effects of chemotherapy includes low RBC count. Due to the chemotherapy, a large number of blood cells get destroyed during the process. Thus, RBCs which are the largest in number among all the blood cells get destroyed the most.
The other cause of a low RBC count is an extremely low level of hemoglobin. Red blood cells carry hemoglobin which consists of oxygen which supplies oxygen to the different parts of the body. However, if this hemoglobin decreases, the red blood cell count too decreases. Hemoglobin decreases due to a deficiency of iron in the body. Iron is the most important factor in the hemoglobin. Red blood cells can also be low due to a deficiency of other vital nutrients like folic acid and vitamin B12. A lack of these vitamins can adversely affect the process of red blood production, thereby hampering the red blood cell count in the body.
The most common causes of decrease in red blood cell count also include Stomach ulcers, piles, ulcerative colitis (inflammation of the colon) and bowel cancer, bleeding due to kidney or bladder disorders, medical conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and cancer. Also, the causes of iron and vitamin deficiency are low iron intake in the diet, lack of nutritious substances like meat, green vegetables, milk, flour and eggs and an overall lack of iron containing substances in the diet.
The symptoms of low red blood cell count include breathlessness, dizziness, weak pulse and palpitations and severe fatigue.
A low red blood cell count can lead to fatal consequences. Severe external or internal bleeding results in such life-threatening results. Any form of bleeding must be addressed immediately to avoid any loss of red blood cells.