Low Red Blood Cell Count
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Reviewed By:

Yoshinori Abe, MD

Yoshinori Abe, MD (Internal Medicine)

Dr. Abe graduated from The University of Tokyo School of Medicine in 2015. He completed his residency at the Tokyo Metropolitan Health and Longevity Medical Center. He co-founded Ubie, Inc. in May 2017, where he currently serves as CEO & product owner at Ubie. Since December 2019, he has been a member of the Special Committee for Activation of Research in Emergency AI of the Japanese Association for Acute Medicine. | | Dr. Abe has been elected in the 2020 Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia Healthcare & Science category.

Unnati Patel, MD, MSc

Unnati Patel, MD, MSc (Family Medicine)

Dr.Patel serves as Center Medical Director and a Primary Care Physician at Oak Street Health in Arizona. She graduated from the Zhejiang University School of Medicine prior to working in clinical research focused on preventive medicine at the University of Illinois and the University of Nevada. Dr. Patel earned her MSc in Global Health from Georgetown University, during which she worked with the WHO in Sierra Leone and Save the Children in Washington, D.C. She went on to complete her Family Medicine residency in Chicago at Norwegian American Hospital before completing a fellowship in Leadership in Value-based Care in conjunction with the Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management, where she earned her MBA. Dr. Patel’s interests include health tech and teaching medical students and she currently serves as Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Arizona School of Medicine.

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Content updated on Apr 4, 2024

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  • Diagnosed with low red blood cell count (anemia) on the most recent blood test

  • Low red cell count on the most recent blood test

  • Last blood test showed low red cell count

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About the Symptom

Anemia is a condition characterized by a deficiency of healthy red blood cells. This deficiency can result from a lower red blood cell count or a reduced oxygen-carrying capacity of the red blood cells. It is typically diagnosed through blood tests.

When to see a doctor

Seek professional care if you experience any of the following symptoms

  • Low red blood cell count

Possible Causes

Generally, Low red blood cell count can be related to:

  • Multiple Myeloma (MM)

    This is a cancer of a type of white blood cell in the blood, called a plasma cell. Cancerous cells multiply and "crowd out" other healthy, normal cells. Risk factors include positive family history, older age, and male sex. Symptoms include fatigue, bone pain, weight loss, and inability to fight infections.

  • Anemia

    Anemia is a disorder where the body's tissues don't receive enough oxygen due to a lack of healthy red blood cells. There are several types of anemia with various causes, the most common being iron-deficiency anemia, which results from insufficient iron. Iron is needed to produce hemoglobin, a substance in red blood cells that helps carry oxygen.

  • Vitamin B12 Deficiency

    Vitamin B12 deficiency anemia is a lack of vitamin B12 that leads to insufficient healthy red blood cells. Vitamin B12 is necessary for producing red blood cells, which transport oxygen in the body. It can result from inadequate B12 in the diet or an inability to absorb B12 in the small intestine, also known as pernicious anemia.

  • Castleman's Disease / TAFLO Syndrome
  • Behcet's Disease
  • Paroxysmal Nocturnal Hemoglobinuria
  • Rectal Cancer
  • Liver Cirrhosis
  • Sigmoid Colon Cancer
  • Liver Cancer

Doctor's Diagnostic Questions

Your doctor may ask these questions to check for this symptom:

  • Do you have anemia on your recent blood test?

  • Are you currently dizzy?

  • Do you have headaches or a heavy feeling in your head?

  • Are you having difficulty breathing?

  • Do you have chest pain?

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Reviewed By:

Yoshinori Abe, MD

Yoshinori Abe, MD (Internal Medicine)

Dr. Abe graduated from The University of Tokyo School of Medicine in 2015. He completed his residency at the Tokyo Metropolitan Health and Longevity Medical Center. He co-founded Ubie, Inc. in May 2017, where he currently serves as CEO & product owner at Ubie. Since December 2019, he has been a member of the Special Committee for Activation of Research in Emergency AI of the Japanese Association for Acute Medicine. | | Dr. Abe has been elected in the 2020 Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia Healthcare & Science category.

Unnati Patel, MD, MSc

Unnati Patel, MD, MSc (Family Medicine)

Dr.Patel serves as Center Medical Director and a Primary Care Physician at Oak Street Health in Arizona. She graduated from the Zhejiang University School of Medicine prior to working in clinical research focused on preventive medicine at the University of Illinois and the University of Nevada. Dr. Patel earned her MSc in Global Health from Georgetown University, during which she worked with the WHO in Sierra Leone and Save the Children in Washington, D.C. She went on to complete her Family Medicine residency in Chicago at Norwegian American Hospital before completing a fellowship in Leadership in Value-based Care in conjunction with the Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management, where she earned her MBA. Dr. Patel’s interests include health tech and teaching medical students and she currently serves as Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Arizona School of Medicine.

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