All you need to know about Anemia

Written by: Dr. Ali Khatau

Posted at: 2021-01-25 12:35:42

Anemia is a disorder that develops when your blood lacks enough healthy Red Blood Cells (R.B.C’s) or hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is a main part of the Red Blood Cells and carries oxygen to cells. If your blood consists of few or abnormal Red Blood Cells, your body cells won’t receive enough oxygen. Anemia is the most common blood disease worldwide. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), anemia affects a staggering 24.8% of the global population which amounts to a massive 1.62 billion people. What causes anemia? There are three main causes of anemia. It can be caused by blood loss, decreased production of Red Blood Cells or increased destruction of Red Blood Cells. • Anemia caused by blood loss can be caused by a variety of conditions like Gastrointestinal problems including ulcers and hemorrhoids as well as menstruation and childbirth in women, hookworms which feed on blood and even physical injury like accidents which causes bleeding. • Anemia caused by decreased RBC production can be due to iron-deficiency, vitamin deficiency, bone marrow problems and sickle cell anemia. • Anemia can also be caused by increased destruction of the RBC’s which can be due to inherited conditions like thalassemia and sickle cell anemia, toxins from liver or kidney disease, stressors like infections, drugs and snake venom. What are the symptoms and signs? Different types of anemia lead to different symptoms & signs. The ones that commonly occur in most types of anemia include: • Easy fatigue, tiredness and lack of energy • Rapid heartbeat • Shortness of breath • Headaches • Difficulty concentrating • Dizziness • Pale skin • Insomnia • Leg cramps How can anemia be treated? Treatment depends on severity of anemia. For mild to moderate anemia, certain medications called hematinics which increase the level of hemoglobin are given. For severe anemia, blood transfusions are usually done. None of these should be done without proper prescriptions from a qualified professional/medical doctor How can it be prevented? In order to prevent anemia, it’s vital to eat a healthy balanced diet which is rich in iron and other vitamins. These include foods like beef, lentils, green vegetables and plenty of fruits. Vitamin C rich foods may help increase the absorption of iron in the body. You may also want to reduce your tea and coffee intake as they make it difficult for the body to absorb iron.

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