Anemia: cause and symptoms

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Anemia is a condition in body when blood lacks sufficient red blood cells or hemoglobin.   

Red blood cells contain hemoglobin that is red coloured iron-rich protein. Lower hemoglobin count means that blood cannot bind to enough amount of oxygen. This causes fatigue since organs are not getting enough metabolic energy to function properly. Women in the childbearing years and people with chronic diseases are more prone to getting infected with anemia. Older adults have greater risk of developing anemia because of poor nutrition and associated medical conditions. Certain variants of anemia are hereditary that means new borne could catch anemia infection from mother. The anemia is caused due to blood loss, decreased or faulty blood cell production and destruction of R.B.C.

Anemia leads to conditions such as pale skin, fatigue, dizziness, headache, cognitive problems, weakness, Shortness of breath and irregular heart beat.

Anemia caused by blood loss results from Chronic bleeding i.e. slight slow bleeding that lasts for a long time such as Gastrointestinal ulcers, gastritis (inflammation of the stomach), and cancer.

In second type of anemia body produces few blood cells or abnormal red blood cells or a lack of minerals and vitamins needed for red blood cells to work properly. This leads to Iron-deficiency anemia (lack of the mineral iron in the body), Sickle cell anemia (transferable to children from parents in African-Americans population), Bone marrow and stem cell problems and or Vitamin deficiency. Iron deficiency anemia is caused by iron-poor diet, blood donation and caffeinated drinks.  Vitamin deficiency anemia is caused by deficiency of vitamin B12 and folates in pregnancy & alcohol abuse and poor Vitamin B12 intake in diet. Anemia resulting from bone marrow or stem cell problems leads to Aplastic anemia where stem cells number is reduced, due to bone marrow injury by medications, chemotherapy, infection or radiation. Thalassemia is genetic disorder in Mediterranean, African, Southeast Asian and Middle Eastern populations.

Anemia caused by destruction of Red Blood Cells is characterized by hemolytic anemia where blood cells rapture as a result of circulation stress (stressor elements infections, sickle cell anemia, thalassemia and toxins) or by immune triggered infection by spleen.

Consult your doctor when you feel stressed or experience fatigues or have family history of anemia. Anemia is diagnosed by a physical exam and blood examination to estimate complete blood count i.e. the number of red blood cells known as hemotocrit (40-52% in male and 35-47% in female) in sample of your blood.  Microscopic examination of size and shape of your red blood cells is done to confirm the cause. Normal adult hemoglobin values are 14-18 g/dL for men and 12-16 g/dL for women. Anemia is usually treated by dietary improvement, chemotherapy or bone marrow transplantation. Blood transfusion (plasmapheresis) assists in improving body health. Surgical removal of spleen is also helpful in treatment of anemia. A cancer drug hydroxyurea is used to treat sickle cell anemia.

To improve hemoglobin count in body you should include Iron-rich food beans, legumes, lentils, dark green leafy vegetables, dried fruit, citrus fruits, melons and berries, cereals and soy products-- soy milk.

 

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