Jump to content

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

Posted

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

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.

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.

I only take Country Life iron supplements, any other supplement goes straight to the toilet.:rolleyes: Cut caffeine, sodas out, they'll inhibit absorption. And cook with cast iron.

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.

gauge14iv

Specializes in ICU, ER, HH, NICU, now FNP. Has 23 years experience.

I only take Country Life iron supplements, any other supplement goes straight to the toilet.:rolleyes: 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.

boulergirl, CNA

Has 5 years experience.

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

P_RN, ADN, RN

Specializes in ORTHOPAEDICS-CERTIFIED SINCE 89. Has 30 years experience.

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.

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.

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 (

NurseFirst

actually i learned something today i too didn't know about being able to donate p hep a

check other physical problems...did you note that connie rice was having surgery [ablation?] for uterine fibroids that is one of the sx

does anyone know about giving blood or organs post ca??

dianah, ADN

Specializes in Cath Lab/Radiology. Has 46 years experience.

I've taken OTC megavitamin with iron for years, as my pre-donation blood would always "float" without the iron supplement. Haven't had a problem since.

Hmmm, and just a thought re: vitamins not dissolving in H2O: perhaps they do dissolve when placed the the stomach acid and its churning environment. Any comments or studies??

If they don't dissolve at all, I must have VERY healthy stools. :D :D :D

P_RN, ADN, RN

Specializes in ORTHOPAEDICS-CERTIFIED SINCE 89. Has 30 years experience.

I believe organ donation is not permitted post Ca except for corneas. I think the red cross will take if it has been over 5 years. Probably ought to check your local organizations to make sure.

NurseyBaby'05, BSN, RN

Specializes in Neuro/Med-Surg/Oncology.

Vit C also enhances Iron absorption. (Esp when taken with the Iron supp.)

gauge14iv

Specializes in ICU, ER, HH, NICU, now FNP. Has 23 years experience.

I bought a cheap brand once - noticed that they came out whole in stool (TMI I know but relevant to the discussion) Not surprising but those also didnt dissolve in water!

:p

It's still important to get your actual iron levels checked, since again some forms of hemolytic anemia traits mimic iron deficiency and the extra iron can damage organs. I only knew that because I have friend who also has thalassemia and thought for years she had iron deficiency, as did I. Sometimes it's so subtle that your counts can be normal or near normal. I ended up having almost panic iron levels when I was pregnant and actually had to avoid supplementation.

Some pills will come out whole in stool, but the actual medication is absorbed. They're referred to as "ghost tablets," and just the wax matrix and other binding agents used to make the pill.

vampiregirl, BSN, RN

Specializes in Hospice. Has 11 years experience.

In regards to iron levels and blood donation, here is the address for an article that I've found that covers iron pretty comprehensively: http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/iron.asp

Also, another good source of information in regards to blood donation is http://www.aabb.org. This organization, the American Association of Blood Banks, sets the standards from which blood banks operate.

I hope this helps!

Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.