Clinical Hematology , MD, MBBS
Anemia (or anaemia) is a medical condition which generally occurs in a human body because of the lack of required healthy red blood cells (RBCs) or hemoglobin in the blood. Diagnosis of anemia is done through a blood test, a man is anemic when his hemoglobin level is less than 13.5 gram/100 ml and a woman is anemic when her hemoglobin level is less than 12.0 gram/100 ml.
Risk factors: People suffering from long-term or chronic diseases such as cancer are more susceptible of developing anemia. Hemoglobin is the salient constituent of red blood cells and is an iron rich protein. It provides the red color to the blood and binds oxygen. Red blood cells carry this oxygen to all the vital tissues and organs of the body. Due to lack of appropriate amount of red blood cells, the amount of blood required in a body to function normally is also low. One of the most prominent causes of occurrence of anemia is the deficiency of required amount of nutritional iron, vitamin B-12, and folate in the body. This iron is needed for the formation of hemoglobin. Apart from these causes, the other causes of anemia comprise of the following:
Loss of blood
Insufficient production of red blood cells (inadequate intake of iron, vitamin B-12)
Fast rate of destruction of red blood cells (disorders of liver and hemorrhage)
Diagnosis: It is relatively easy to detect an anemic person. The symptoms of anemia include pale appearance, complaint of cold, giddiness, unsteadiness, laziness, particularly when the person is in action or is standing up. Sometimes people suffering from anemia crave for eating clay, ice, or even dirt. Also, there are complains of exhaustion along with issues of constipation and concentration. Other indications of anemia are brittle nails, gasps for breath even in mild activities, and pain in the chest. Since the level of oxygen in the blood is low, there could be even scope of a heart attack.
A person suffering from anemia is usually diagnosed on the basis of a complete blood count. The blood test brings out if serum folate levels are quite low. In case the anemia is severe, sometimes doctors take the help of erythropoietin injections so as to foster the production of red blood cells in the bone marrow. In case there is bleeding or if the level of hemoglobin is low, it might become essential to carry out blood transfusion.
Treatment: Anemia is straightforward to diagnose and treat, but at the same time could prove to be deadly if it is left undiagnosed. Proper heed should be paid to the intake of adequate and required food which is rich in vitamins and minerals, dietary iron, folic acid, including other vitamins and minerals.