How can I get my Hematocrit up?--FAST!

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    I am excited because I just found out that I can donate blood. For my whole life, I thought that I was prevented from doing so, because I had Hep A when I was 5 (the was an epidemic at the time...).

    The blood bank tells me, though, that my hematocrit is 37%, and I have to have a 'crit of 38% in order to donate.

    They gave me a list of things to eat which are high in iron...but I'm wondering...does anyone have any suggestions as to what is the BEST thing to eat, the FASTEST way to get my 'crit up? (Okay, going to Mt. Everest is NOT an option... .

    BTW -- in the "nursing issues" I have posted something about tattoos and health professionals, because you can't donate for 12 mos after having a tattoo. I invite folks to comment...

    Thanks,

    NurseFirst
    Last edit by NurseFirst on Nov 19, '04
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  4. 18 Comments so far...

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    I often run into the same problem. Just eat what they tell you. Usually a few days before I'm going to donate, I'll eat some beef, raisins, and oranges; more than I normally would.
  6. 0
    You could also take supplements. there is one brand called "slow-fe" or something like that (can't remember exactly) that is a little easier on your digestive tract.
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    I only take Country Life iron supplements, any other supplement goes straight to the toilet. Cut caffeine, sodas out, they'll inhibit absorption. And cook with cast iron.
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    Make sure your anemia is from iron deficiency and not something that mimics it. I have thalassemia minor, which appears at first glance like the typical iron anemia, but is a genetic hemolytic trait that's often mild and easily missed. If it's the primary reason, iron will not correct it, and can be dangerous if you get too much. Best to check your iron, total iron binding, and iron sat levels first to make sure that's all you need.
  9. 0
    Quote from wooh
    I only take Country Life iron supplements, any other supplement goes straight to the toilet. Cut caffeine, sodas out, they'll inhibit absorption. And cook with cast iron.

    Well....not quite true - yes your garden variety vitamins you buy at the grocery do not ever dissolve (drop one in a glass of water - you'll see) but there are many that do dissolve (even in water without the presence of stomach acid)- Melaleuca and Blubonnet are a couple I know of.
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    I remember eating a lot of tuna fish and stuff like that for about a week before giving blood. Even then, my hematocrit was borderline...just enough to get by (maybe because I drink caffeinated drinks to keep me awake on night shift--that might have negated the effect of the iron-rich foods a bit).

    These days I'm so worried about being turned away as a blood donor after standing for hours in line that I rarely give anymore. It's embarrassing and depressing to have someone tell you "sorry, your iron's too low" :imbar
  11. 0
    A little dehydration would make the hct higher wouldn't it? Not that it's a good idea. You could ask them to respin your blood and maybe it would be higher the 2nd time.
  12. 0
    Quote from P_RN
    A little dehydration would make the hct higher wouldn't it? Not that it's a good idea. You could ask them to respin your blood and maybe it would be higher the 2nd time.
    Now you have me worried! The nurse asked me what I'd had to drink today, and when I said 12 oz of (caffienated) diet coke, she gave me some water to drink because she felt I would be dehydrated. (Personally, I think I drink so much diet coke that my body has adapted...I'd probably bloat up if I stopped drinking it ). Maybe my hct was as high as it was because I was dehydrated...

    Thanks everyone for your great suggestions!!!

    NurseFirst

    PS -- Yes, having only had 12 oz was an unusually light "coke" day for me.
  13. 0
    Quote from MultipurposeRN
    Make sure your anemia is from iron deficiency and not something that mimics it. I have thalassemia minor, which appears at first glance like the typical iron anemia, but is a genetic hemolytic trait that's often mild and easily missed. If it's the primary reason, iron will not correct it, and can be dangerous if you get too much. Best to check your iron, total iron binding, and iron sat levels first to make sure that's all you need.
    37% isn't in the anemic range; just too low to give blood. They figure you will drop a few points after giving blood, so they don't want you to be anemic (<35%) after donating. But thank you very much for your thoughts...!!!

    NurseFirst


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