Anemia is a major medical condition which is most horrible in developing countries like India, Bangladesh and others. It is part of major disease which affects world populace. Anemia may be a temporary or long term medical problem and can apparent in mild or severe forms. Mainly, women throughout the world suffered from this disease. Many innocent women do not have awareness about the dangerous consequences of it. If proper treatment is no given at time, it can lead to infertility in women of childbearing age, premature delivery in pregnant women, and in severe cases, fainting, and mental confusion in women of any age. People are anemic when red blood cells are reduced in number. Red blood cells are a chief constituent of blood and serve the vital function of delivering oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the tissues in the body. When a person is under grip of anemia, the body is deprived of the oxygen it needs to function properly. Anemia may be a outcome of a chronic disease, medication, or excessive alcohol consumption. In some cases, hereditary conditions that produce blood a defect which leads to anemia.
There are several types of anemia and their treatments differ. Commonly people have iron-deficiency anemia, folic acid-deficiency anemia, anemia from vitamin B12 deficiency. Iron-deficiency anemia is the most common type of the ailment and major causes of this anemia is too much blood loss. When there is a loss of blood, it loses iron which is the chief part of red blood cells. Iron is required to make hemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen. Slow, prolonged blood loss from heavy menstruation is the main cause of iron-deficiency anemia in women. Anemia can also occur from gastrointestinal bleeding from hemorrhoids, a stomach ulcer, or an inflammatory bowel condition. Many cases of anemia have been observed in blood loss due to colon cancer and other intestinal cancers. People have anemia by taking long-term use of aspirin or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen and naproxen which trouble the stomach lining and cause bleeding. Pregnant or lactating women sometimes become anemic when their iron requirements are not fulfilled by diet. Children, who are in developing stage, also need more iron. They may be anemic if proper diet is not given. It states that improper diet is also the cause of iron-deficiency anemia.
Another type of anemia is Folic acid deficiency that occurs when person consume negligible amount of folic acid in the diet, or when it is not properly absorbed in the body. It is the requirement of body. Folic acid is essential to make red blood cells. Deficiency of folic acid results in red blood cells that are abnormally large and die too early. The body does not store folic acid in large amounts and therefore folic acid levels need to be sustained through diet. Insufficient intake or inability to absorb the vitamin leads to folic acid-deficiency anemia. In many conditions such as during pregnancy and breast-feeding, the body requires more folic acid than in normal condition. Doctors advise most pregnant women to take a supplement which also prevents birth defects and the government now requires that many foods (cereals, breads, pastas) be fortified with the vitamin. People who have gastrointestinal disorders and cancers may have problems absorbing folic acid and become anemic. It can also occur when people take certain drugs like anticonvulsants, antibiotics, birth control, pills, anticancer agents which have trouble absorbing or metabolizing folic acid. Pernicious anemia is a type of anemic condition which is a rare condition but if occurs in people; it can have serious effects. It is developed when the body cannot absorb vitamin B12. Pernicious anemia is a disorder in which the immune system attacks cells in the stomach that produce intrinsic factor (IF). I is a substance needed to transport vitamin B12. Without IF, a B12 deficiency develops and red blood cells grow too large and die too early. Pernicious anemia occurs after intestinal surgery or from an intestinal problem. Older people are more prone to it because deterioration of the stomach lining) and subsequent failure to produce IF is a common among them.
Major causes of anemia are nutritional deficiencies, inherited genetic defects, medication-related side effects, and chronic disease. It can also occur because of blood loss from injury or internal bleeding, the damage of red blood cells, or insufficient red blood cell production.
Symptoms of anemia include shortness of breath, fatigue, weakness, headaches and lapses of concentration. An anemic person may feel tired and weak and look whitish. Other symptoms of anemia are getting winded and having chest pains during exercise. In severe cases, there are heartbeat irregularities or patient exhibit neurological symptoms like confusion, irritability, and numbness or tingling in the extremities appear.
Chronic diseases such as cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, HIV/AIDS, or alcoholism, and certain medications can also lead to anemia. Patient of chronic kidney disease may also anemic. Person who consumes huge amount of alcohol, sometimes show symptoms of anemia because of a nutritional deficiency. Alcohol impedes vitamin absorption, and alcoholics tend to eat poorly. Certain medications can also cause anemia. Drugs that weaken the immune system and fight cancer can lead to aplastic anemia. This type of anemia occurs when the bone marrow doesn't make enough red blood cells. In addition to these factors, certain antibiotics, blood pressure medications and drugs used for heart treatment infrequently can cause hemolytic anemia. This type of anemia occurs when red blood cells are destroyed prematurely. Sickle cell anemia and thalassemia are innate. In sickle cell anemia, sickle-shaped red blood cells are stiff, and cannot pass through the blood vessels very well. As a result, they die after about 20 days. The consequential anemia, which affects about 0.6% of the population, is severe and can be fatal. Thalassemia is an inherited blood disease. It occurs due to defect in the rate at which hemoglobin is produced. Thalassemia can be very severe, but the condition is uncommon. It is more widespread in people of Mediterranean descent.
In diagnosis process, doctors generally prepare medical history of client; perform a physical exam and some order laboratory tests. Doctors ask patient to tell all symptoms, family medical history, diet, medications he has taken in any disease, alcohol intake, and cultural background. Doctor study carefully symptoms of anemia and other physical signs that created a disease. It is stated by medical professional that the results of blood tests will not only verify the diagnosis of anemia but also support to find the fundamental condition. Generally following blood tests are done:
Complete blood count (CBC), which decides the number, size, volume, and hemoglobin content of red blood cells, Blood iron level and serum ferritin level, the best signs of body's total iron stores, Levels of vitamin B-12 and folate. There are some special blood tests are done to detect unusual causes of anemia like an immune attack on red blood cells, red blood cell fragility, and defects of enzymes, hemoglobin and clotting. For assumed hemolytic anemia, tests are done to recognize the breakdown products of red blood cells in your blood and urine. In very exceptional cases, doctors advise to take a sample of bone marrow in order to verify the cause of anemia.
It is traditional fact that doctor can not treat anemia unless the fundamental cause has been found. There are different treatment techniques for various types of anemia. If mistakenly, patient follow general treatment for anemia, it can be dangerous for him. It has been observed that anemia can be cured by adding more iron or folic acid to the diet. If a patient has a deficiency of vitamin B12, he has to take intramuscular injections. An iron rich diet and iron supplementation can aid anemia. Iron from the natural food is best absorbed in the body. Best sources include fish, egg yolk, cheese and commercially available fortified breakfast cereals that can easily absorbable iron.
Diet has the main role of treating anemia. For good iron absorption, vitamin C must be included in diet. Patient must take orange juice along with iron fortified breakfast cereal or egg or stir-fried liver.
This will really help in iron absorption. Folic acid is found in green leafy vegetables which is also necessary along with iron to avoid anemia. It is always better to consume one serving of green leaf vegetable in a day, if necessary folic acid supplementation could also be taken. Iron supplementations in the form of iron sulfate tablets are also good for anemia patient. The quantity of supplement should be taken according to doctor's prescription. Doctor advice these supplement by assessing the severity of the deficit. It is recommended to take iron tablets in between meals because iron absorption is better on an empty stomach. if patient feel any side effects by consuming these tablets such as fullness, bloating or even stomach pain, then immediately consult doctor and follow instruction to reduce these side effects. Patient should not experiment on his body by regulating diet himself. He must consult a dietician or a specialist to switch over to a vegetarian diet.
Iron enriched cocktails can be avoided as these items contain very less iron and more expensive. Drugs such as cimetidine should not be taken concurrently with iron supplementation as they may slow down iron absorption. In severe condition, doctors sometimes advice to blood transfusion. Patient must strictly follow doctor's advice. Patient must know very important fact that he did not get iron deficiency in one or two days. Anemia develops over a period of time. It is advisable to continue treatment of doctor to reduce the symptoms and cure anemia. It is very necessary that attendants should observe the patient and report to doctor in time so that situation can be controlled if there are some severe symptoms. Note: This information is just for knowledge of disease. If such type of medical condition develops, consult your doctor.