Anaemia is a condition in which the haemoglobin level decreases or the total amount of healthy red blood cells decreases in the blood or decrease in the oxygen carrying ability of the red blood cells. The main part of the red blood cells is haemoglobin which binds to oxygen and carry it to the cells.
When the level of haemoglobin or red blood cells decrease or become abnormal so, the body cells will not get enough oxygen and develop the anaemia symptoms such as fatigue, weakness, increase heart beat particularly with exercise, pale skin, insomnia, dizziness, frequent headache and leg cramps. The symptoms related with severe anaemia are fainting, chest pain, angina and heart attack. Additional symptoms are related with a particular form of anaemia.
Types and causes of Anaemia
A- Anaemia classified in to main three types such as anaemia due to decrease in the production of red blood cells, blood loss or increase in the breakdown of red blood cells.
1-Causes of the decrease production of red blood cells:
- Iron deficiency
- Lacks vitamin B12
- Neoplasms of the bone morrow
2-Causes of blood loss:
- Gastrointestinal bleeding
3-Increased breakdown causes by:
- Sickle cell anaemia
- Infections such as septicaemia and malaria
- Autoimmune disorders for example; autoimmune haemolytic anaemia
B-On the bases of red blood cell size and haemoglobin level in each cell anaemia is classified into;
- Microcytic anaemia (small sized cells)
- Macrocytic anaemia (large sized cells)
- Normocytic anaemia (normal sized cells)
C-Classification of anaemia on the basis of severity;
- Mild (when the haemoglobin level is 11 g/dl)
- Moderate (Haemoglobin level is 8 g/dl to 11 g/dl)
- Severe (Haemoglobin level is less than 8 g/dl)
Diagnosis of the anaemia depending on the causes and required a number of tests involving:
- Medical history of the patient such as physical examination, any chronic illnesses and regular medications an
- Blood tests such as full blood count (including the number, haemoglobin content, size, volume and red blood cells)
- Measured the levels of vitamins required for red blood cells production, vitamins B12 and folate.
- Measured the level of the serum ferritin and blood level of the iron.
- To investigate the rare causes of anaemia special tests are required such as red blood cell fragility, clotting, defects of enzyme, immune attack on red blood cells and haemoglobin.
- Urine and faecal occult blood test (to detect blood)
- To measure the level bilirubin and reticulocyte count.
- Gastroscopy, colonoscopy and in rare cases the bone marrow biopsy is required to investigate the cause of anaemia.
Treatment for Anaemia
The treatment of anaemia depends on the severity and cause, but may consist on:
- Oral and injectable iron (when the amount of iron is low)
- Vitamins and mineral supplements
- Vitamin B12
- Blood transfusion (if required)
- Oxygen therapy
- Antibiotics (in case of infection)
- Erythropoiesis-stimulating agent
How to prevent anaemia
The types of anaemia can´t be prevented because that cause by a breakdown in the cell-making process. The anaemia which is due to dietary deficiency can be prevented by taking dairy foods, fresh vegetables, legumes, lean, nuts and meats and fresh vegetables. The vitamins and mineral supplements should be taken by vegan on a regular basis. It is important to talk to a doctor and dietitian about your diet.
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