Thursday, April 1, 2010


About a month ago I got a physical exam with CBC (complete blood count) at MIT Medical. The results were all normal except for my hematocrit, which is 32.8% (normal is 36-47%) and my MCV (mean corpuscular volume) which is 69.6 (normal is 80-99). Hematocrit is the % of blood volume that has red blood cells (RBC). MCV is a measure of RBC size. So not only do I have very few RBC, they're tiny. (I had an idea of my anemia before getting the CBC because my dad told me not to give blood but I was never really sure why.)

The small size of RBC can be due to iron deficiency or abnormal proteins in the RBC. But my iron levels were normal so the doctor said I probably have alpha-thalassemia, which is a form of anemia that is characterized by a decreased amount of alpha chains (normal hemoglobin has two alpha and beta chains each). It's common in Asians. =P

Anyway, so what does this mean for me? Apparently nothing! Since I've had this anemia for my entire life, my body compensates for it and I'm perfectly fine. The only time I need to be concerned about it is when Bryan and I want to have kids (hopefully not soon). But I'm pretty sure he doesn't have it and since it's a recessive disorder it doesn't really affect us. =P