Anemia is a condition that develops when your blood lacks enough healthy red blood cells .
Anemia is a condition that develops when your blood lacks enough healthy red blood cells or hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is a main part of red blood cells and binds oxygen. If you have too few or abnormal red blood cells, or your hemoglobin is abnormal or low, the cells in your body will not get enough oxygen. Symptoms of anemia like fatigue occur because organs aren t getting what they need to function properly.
Anemia is the most common blood condition in the U.S. It affects about 3.5 million Americans. Women and people with chronic diseases are at increased risk of anemia. Important factors to remember are
Certain forms of anemia are hereditary and infants may be affected from the time of birth.
Women in the childbearing years are particularly susceptible to iron deficiency anemia because of the blood loss from menstruation and the increased blood supply demands during pregnancy.
Older adults also may have a greater risk of developing anemia because of poor diet and other medical conditions.
There are many types of anemia. All are very different in their causes and treatments. Iron deficiency anemia, the most common type, is very treatable with diet changes and iron supplements. Some forms of anemia like the anemia that develops during pregnancy are even considered normal. However, some types of anemia may present lifelong health problems.
2. Causes Anemia
There are more than 400 types of anemia, which are divided into three groups
Anemia caused by blood loss
Anemia caused by decreased or faulty red blood cell production
Anemia caused by destruction of red blood cells
Anemia Caused by Blood Loss
Red blood cells can be lost through bleeding, which can occur slowly over a long period of time, and can often go undetected. This kind of chronic bleeding commonly results from the following
Gastrointestinal conditions such as ulcers, hemorrhoids, gastritis inflammation of the stomach, and cancer
Use of nonsteroidal anti inflammatory drugs NSAIDs such as aspirinor ibuprofen, which can cause ulcers and gastritis
Menstruation and childbirth in women, especially if menstrual bleeding is excessive and if there are multiple pregnancies.
3. Signs and symptoms
Anemia goes undetected in many people, and symptoms can be minor or vague. The signs and symptoms can be related to the underlying cause or the anemia itself. Most commonly, people with anemia report feelings of weakness, or fatigue, general malaise, and sometimes poor concentration. They may also report dyspnea shortness of breath on exertion. In very severe anemia, the body may compensate for the lack of oxygen carrying capability of the blood by increasing cardiac output. The patient may have symptoms related to this, such as palpitations, angina if pre existing heart disease is present, intermittent claudication of the legs, and symptoms of heart failure. On examination, the signs exhibited may include pallor pale skin, lining mucosa, conjunctiva and nail beds, but this is not a reliable sign. There may be signs of specific causes of anemia, e.g., koilonychia in iron deficiency, jaundice when anemia results from abnormal break down of red blood cells in hemolytic anemia, bone deformities found in thalassemia major or leg ulcers seen in sickle cell disease. In severe anemia, there may be signs of a hyperdynamic circulation tachycardia a fast heart rate, bounding pulse, flow murmurs, and cardiac ventricular hypertrophy enlargement. There may be signs of heart failure. Pica, the consumption of non food items such as ice, but also paper, wax, or grass, and even hair or dirt, may be a symptom of iron deficiency, although it occurs often in those who have normal levels of hemoglobin. Chronic anemia may result in behavioral disturbances in children as a direct result of impaired neurological development in infants, and reduced scholastic performance in children of school age. Restless legs syndrome is more common in those with iron deficiency anemia.
Broadly, causes of anemia may be classified as impaired red blood cell RBC production, increased RBC destruction hemolytic anemias, blood loss and fluid overload hypervolemia. Several of these may interplay to cause anemia eventually. Indeed, the most common cause of anemia is blood loss, but this usually does not cause any lasting symptoms unless a relatively impaired RBC production develops, in turn most commonly by iron deficiency.See Iron deficiency anemia
5. Blood loss
Anemia of prematurity from frequent blood sampling for laboratory testing, combined with insufficient RBC production
Trauma or surgery, causing acute blood loss
Gastrointestinal tract lesions,causing either acute bleeds e.g. variceal lesions, peptic ulcers or chronic blood loss e.g. angiodysplasia
Gynecologic disturbances,also generally causing chronic blood loss
From menstruation, mostly among young women or older women who have fibroids
Infection by intestinal nematodes feeding on blood, such as hookworms and the whipworm Trichuris trichiura.
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Herbal Medicine - Anthrapachaka
Known as: Indian ipecac This climber grows all over the Indian plains. Its ‘viney’ nature reflects its ability to spread, diffuse and ascend upwards through the lungs. Anthrapachaka literally means ‘digestion in the entrails’ relating to its ability to remove parasites from the intestines.Benefits
Lungs Asthma, bronchitis, rhinitis, hayfever; allergic conditions of the respiratory tract. Human clinical trials report the efficacy of its antiallergenic effect, proving beneficial in reducing asthma (Bone 1996). Digestion Amoebic dysentery, diarrhoea; it has an antiprotozoal action and is antispasmodic. Seen as an effective replacement for ipecacuanha (Nadkarni 1954). Immunity Allergies, autoimmune disorders; arthritis (Nadkarni 1954).