Anemia - Causes, Symptoms, Types, Diet & Treatment
December 20, 2018 | Dr Maria Altaf

Anemia - Causes, Symptoms, Types, Diet & Treatment

Anemia gets started when there is a major decrease in the red blood cells circulating in the body. The general population faces this disorder the most as it is one of the most common blood disorders. There are some symptoms of anemia which include pale skin, chest pain, and headaches. Sometimes anemia initiates itself when some other diseases start disrupting production of the healthy RCBs.

Some researches show that 24.8 percent people of the world are affected by anemia

Symptoms of Anemia

Anemia has many potential symptoms but fatigue and lack of energy are one of the most common causes of anemia whereas pale skin, abnormal heartbeat, breathing issues, headaches, and chest pain are other common symptoms of anemia. Sometimes in mild cases, anemia shows few or no symptoms at all.

The following is the list of different forms of anemia which shows different symptoms.

•  Aplastic anemia:  the symptoms of aplastic anemia are skin rashes, frequent infections, and fever

•  Folic acid deficiency anemia: the symptoms of this anemia are diarrhea, smooth tongue, and irritability

•  Hemolytic anemia: Abdominal pains, dark colored urine, jaundice, and fever are some of the symptoms of hemolytic anemia

•  Sickle cell anemia: This type of anemia shows symptoms like fatigue, feet swelling and jaundice.

Causes of Anemia

Our body depends upon red blood cells for survival. Red blood cells carry hemoglobin, a protein that contains molecules and those molecules are responsible to carry oxygen from lungs to every single part of the body. There are some diseases that lead human body to decrease in red blood cells.

As anemia has so many causes so it is always difficult to know the exact cause of the anemia but some of the causes are as follow

1) Anemia caused by blood loss

2) Anemia caused by decreased or faulty red blood cell production

•  Sickle cell anemia:

•  Iron-deficiency anemia:

•  Bone marrow and stem cell problems

•  Vitamin deficiency anemia

3) Anemia caused by the destruction of red blood cells

Excessive hemolysis (red blood cell breakdown) can occur for many reasons, including infections, certain drugs, for example, some antibiotics, snake or spider venom, toxins produced through advanced kidney or liver disease, an autoimmune attack, for instance, because of hemolytic disease, severe hypertension, vascular grafts and prosthetic heart valves, clotting disorders, enlargement of the spleen

Treatment of Anemia

There are several ways for the treatment of anemia and those all treatment ways lead to an increase in red blood cells but the treatment always depends upon the exact cause of anemia. Some of the treatments of anemia are as follow

•  Iron deficiency anemia: If you face the situation due to loss of blood then the first thing is to find the bleeding and stop it. After that, there are many dietary changes or iron supplements available to buy.

•  Vitamin deficiency anemias: This anemia can be treated by B-12 shots or by dietary supplements.

•  Thalassemia: Thalassemia is a well-known condition of anemia that can be treated by transplantation of bone marrow, spleen removal, folic acid supplementation and sometimes by transfusion of blood.

•  Anemia of chronic disease: A chronic underlying condition associated with anemia. There isn’t any specific treatment available for anemia of chronic disease and the focus is on the underlying condition.

•  Aplastic anemia: In aplastic anemia, the patient can be treated by transplantation of bone marrow or transfusion of the blood.

•  Sickle cell anemia: Sickle cell anemia condition can be treated in several ways which include pain relief, intravenous fluids, and oxygen therapy. There are many antibiotics available or the patient can go for transfusion of blood and folic acid supplements. There is another way for the treatment available for this type of anemia, which is the usage of the cancer drug named as droxia or hydrea.

•  Hemolytic anemias: In this type of anemia the medications should be avoided because it makes it worse. A patient may receive immunosuppressant drugs and infection treatment. There are some cases in which blood filtration or plasmapheresis will be required.

Dietary Changes in Anemia

If a patient is suffering anemia due to the deficiency in nutrition, a little change in iron-rich diet can help in reducing the symptoms. The following is the list of the foods which contain high iron levels:

•  Bread and iron-fortified cereals

•  Rich green leafy vegetables i.e. curly kale and watercress

•  Beans and pulses are highly rich iron foods

•  Brown rice & eggs

•  White & red meat

•  Dried fruits like apricots, prunes etc.

Risk factors of Anemia

Anemia can occur in people of all ages and race, both males and females. However, certain factors increase the risk.

These include:

•  Menstruation

•  Pregnancy and childbirth

•  Being born preterm

•  Being aged 1 to 2 years

•  Having a diet that is low in vitamins, mineral, and iron

•  Losing blood from surgery or injury

•  Long-term or serious illness, such as AIDs, diabetes, kidney disease, cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, heart failure, and liver disease

•  Family history of inherited anemias, such as sickle cell anemia

•  Intestinal disorders-affects absorption of nutrients

Outlook

The outlook for a person with anemia depends on the cause. Many cases of anemia can be prevented or solved through a change in diet.

Some types can last for a long time, and some can be life-threatening without treatment.

Anyone who feels persistently weak and tired should see a doctor check for anemia.

Diagnosis of Anemia

A complete blood count can help diagnose anemia.

There are different ways to diagnose anemia, but the most common is a blood test known as a complete blood count (CBC). This measures a number of blood components, including hemoglobin and hematocrit levels, or the ratio of the volume of red blood cells to the total volume of blood.

A CBC can give an indication of the person's overall health and whether they have any conditions, such as leukemia or kidney disease.

If the red blood cell, hemoglobin, and hematocrit levels are all below "normal," then anemia is likely.

However, it does not provide a definitive diagnosis. It is possible to be outside the normal range but still healthy.


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