For thick blood: causes, symptoms and treatment

Causes: How thick blood develops

Blood that is too thick is medically referred to as polycythemia. This condition describes an excessive proportion of solid blood components such as red blood cells. If there are too many red platelets in the blood, it becomes viscous, thicker and must be pumped through the veins with much greater effort. Red blood cells are formed in the bone marrow and contain the blood pigment hemoglobin. Using hemoglobin, the red platelets can bind oxygen molecules in the fine branches of the lungs and from there transport them throughout the body. However, if the brain and organs do not get enough oxygen from the blood, the hormone erythropoietin is released. This hormone stimulates the production of extra red blood cells from the bone marrow. With the increased production of red blood cells, the normal transport of oxygen through the body should then be ensured.

So a possible cause of blood being too thick is due to too many solid blood components external oxygen starvation. So at high altitudes, such as mountains, where the air contains less oxygen than at sea level, our blood thickens to absorb more oxygen from the air. This is also the case with heavy smoking. Cigarette smoke allows less oxygen to enter the body; the blood becomes thicker.

In addition to the external lack of oxygen, thick blood can also affect you internal lack of oxygen indicate. If you have lung disease or heart problems that cause less oxygen to be pumped around the body, the body can react by producing more red blood cells, which make the blood thicker. So the internal and external causes of polycythemia can be:

  • heart defects
  • lung diseases
  • stay at great heights
  • genetic predisposition
  • Bone marrow disease
  • dehydration
  • heavy smoking

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Blood that is too thick due to lack of fluid

The viscosity or flow rate and viscosity of the blood may also be due to an unbalanced fluid balance in the body. If the body lacks fluid, the proportion of blood plasma also decreases. Blood plasma is the part of the blood that is free of solid blood components such as white blood cells and red blood cells. If the body now loses a lot of water and fluid, the proportion of solid blood components increases relative to plasma. The result: the blood becomes thicker and tougher. Reasons for this thickening of the blood due to lack of fluid, known in medicine as “apparent polycythemia”, can be:

  • severe diarrhea
  • severe burns
  • Loss of water from excessive sweating in hot weather

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Symptoms: These are signs of polycythemia

Blood that is too thick means maximum performance for the body and especially for the heart. The risk of thrombosis, heart attack or stroke can be increased with viscous blood. If your blood is too thick, you can see it on a few typical signs. Common symptoms are:

  • headache
  • dizziness
  • tinnitus
  • facial flushing
  • itching all over the body

If you have these or similar symptoms, be sure to have them examined by your family doctor. Blood tests and blood tests can be used to determine if the percentage of solids in the blood is actually too high. The value of hematocrit is particularly relevant when assessing blood counts. Hematocrit is the blood value that indicates the proportion of blood cells in the total volume of blood. The higher the hematocrit, the thicker the blood. In men, the hematocrit value should ideally be between 42 and 50 percent. For women, a slightly lower than normal ratio of solid to liquid blood components is considered to be between 37 and 45 percent.

Treatment: What to do if your blood is too thick

The treatment of polycythemia depends entirely on the underlying causes. If your blood is too thick because you are dehydrated, the simplest treatment is to drink more fluid. You should always drink enough water when the temperature is particularly sweaty or when you play sports. Even with gastrointestinal diseases like diarrhea, you need to keep your fluid balance in balance with regular water intake.

If the thickening of the blood occurs as a result of a longer stay at great heights, you do not need to act yourself. As soon as you have returned to normal height and there is no longer a lack of oxygen, the formation of new red blood cells regulates itself again.

If doctors have determined from the hemocrit value that your blood is actually too thick, start looking for clues. By treating possible underlying diseases, the polycythemia is then also treated.

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Natural Blood Thinners: Proper Nutrition If Your Blood Is Too Thick

There are a number of natural remedies that can help dilute the blood naturally or stimulate circulation. However, if you are already taking blood-thinning medication, be sure to talk to the doctor treating you and get information about the possible risks. Too thin blood can also lead to serious side effects such as stroke. Never discontinue medication on your own, and do not replace prescription treatment with special forms of nutrition on your own.

Some natural blood thinners that can contribute to normal blood flow and blood composition as part of a balanced diet include:

  • Garlic: The essential fats have an anti-inflammatory effect and stimulate blood formation
  • Chili: The capsaicin, which gives the pods their wild heat, relaxes blood vessels and muscles. This allows the blood to flow more easily through the veins.
  • Ginger: May have a positive effect on blood composition and relieve circulatory disorders.
  • Basil: Contains a lot of magnesium, which has a relaxing effect on the vessels and can stimulate blood circulation.

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