Anemia is a disorder that results in reduced red blood cell count or lower hemoglobin levels in the blood. It is caused due to decreased hemoglobin secretion or excess loss of hemoglobin or increases damage to red blood cells.
Anemia is diagnosed based on the level of hemoglobin, in men if the hemoglobin level falls below 13g/dl and women the hemoglobin of less than 12g/dl.
Red blood cells comprise the protein-bound hemoglobin which gives it’s the colour. Hemoglobin functions include carrying oxygen from the lungs to all other parts of the body and carbon dioxide from the body to the lung which is exhaled. The red blood cells are mainly produced in the bone marrow and the body needs vital nutrients iron and vitamin B12 to secrete red blood cells. Also Read: Experiencing Fatigue, Breathlessness? Could Be Iron Deficiency
Anemia is caused due to several factors which include reduced production of hemoglobin due to iron deficiency, vitamin B12 deficiency, thalassemia disorder, and bone marrow disorder.
Genetic conditions like sickle cell anemia, infections, and autoimmune disorder resulting in an increased breakdown of red blood cells.
Anemia is also categorized based on the size of red blood cells, if the cells are small it is termed as microcytic anemia and if cells are large then it termed as macrocytic anemia.
Anemia ranges from mild to severe form, however, anemia needs immediate medical attention as it may be a warning sign of other serious health conditions.
Certain factors can increase the risk for anemia which includes a poor diet, intestinal problems such as celiac disease and Crohn’s disease, menstruation and menopause, pregnancy, chronic disease -cancer and kidney failure, genetic factors, alcoholism and exposure to toxic chemicals.
The signs and symptoms of anemia differ depending upon the causes. Symptoms of anemia get worse as the condition becomes more severe.
Lack of concentration
Shortness of breath
Cold hands and feet
Diagnosis And Treatment
The doctor generally diagnoses anemia by doing a complete physical assessment and medical history. The doctor also suggest certain blood tests such as CBC to determine the underlying cause of anemia. Also Read: Top 5 Iron Rich Foods To Boost Your Child’s Immunity
Treatment usually depends upon treating the underlying causes which include - iron, vitamin B 12, folic acid and vitamin C supplements are provided to improve the hemoglobin level. If anemia is caused as a result of chronic diseases then blood transfusion is recommended to boosts iron levels, bone marrow transplantation and also treating other underlying conditions is vital.