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Anemia - Symptom, Treatment And Causes

Anemia-What is it?

Patients suffer from anemia when their blood is lacking in sufficient amount of red blood cells or hemoglobin that are healthy and are performing their functions. Hemoglobin happens to be a major component of RBC as red blood cells are commonly abbreviated as. It also binds oxygen. In case it is not present in desirable levels that the body cells fail to get adequate oxygen. In the US, anemia is the most common blood disorder found amongst more than 3.5 million persons. The risks of developing anemia are higher for women, people suffering from chronic diseases and children. The following facts must be kept in mind while dealing with anemia:

  • There are hereditary variants of anemia and infant may be suffering from the condition right after taking birth.
  • Pregnant women are particularly vulnerable to this condition. This is due to the fact that menstruation causes blood loss and demands increased quantities for oxygen.
  • The elderly are also prone to elderly due to certain medical conditions. Poor diet is also a major factor.
  • Anemia may be of different types. Each is different with regards to causes and their respective treatments. The most widespread form of anemia is iron deficiency anemia which may be easily treated with changes in diet and providing iron supplements. Certain variants of anemia occur as part of the normal life like the mild forms of anemia that are present during childbearing stages of a woman’s life. Others, however, may pose health problems for life.

What are the causes of anemia?

Anemia may be of more than 400 different types. These types of anemia may again be subdivided into three distinct groups viz:

  • Anemia which results from loss of blood.
  • Anemia resulting from the abnormal production of RBC.
  • Anemia which results from the destruction of RBC.
  • Anemia which results from loss of blood
  • Profuse or even mild bleeding results in loss of red blood cells. When the bleeding occurs gradually over long time periods, undetected anemia may be the result.
  • Anemia resulting from abnormal production of RBC
  • If a patient is suffering from this anemia variant there is faulty functioning of blood cells resulting in anemia. This abnormal functioning of RBC may be the result of lack of minerals and vitamins needed by RBC. The RBC themselves may be abnormal too.
  • Anemia which results from the destruction of RBC

This happens when the RBC become fragile and cannot stand up to the strains of the circulatory system. They rupture prematurely. The condition is known as hemolytic anemia. It may be inborn or may develop in course of time. The cause of the condition remains unknown in certain cases.

Treatable by medical professional Require medical diagnosis Lab test always required Chronic: can last for years or be lifelong Non communicable
Fatigue Pale skin Lightheadedness Recurrent bouts of weakness

Popular Health Tips

How Can Anaemia Be Diagnosed?

Hematologist, Ludhiana
How Can Anaemia Be Diagnosed?

What do we mean by the term Anemia?

It is described as a decrease in the total number of red blood cells, or hemoglobin in the blood, or a decreased oxygen-carrying capacity of blood.

How to know if an individual has Anemia?

  1. An individual with anemia may show one or more of the following signs or symptoms:
  2. Shortness of breath, chest pain, and headache are especially seen with exercise as the oxygen supply decreases
  3. Difficulty in concentration which is mostly seen in children
  4. Easy tiredness, fatigue, and loss of energy
  5. Dizziness because of low blood volume leading to hypotension
  6. Hair loss especially while combing, washing hair. Also, hair becomes brittle and dry due to anemiaInsomnia (lack of sleep)
  7. Cramps in legs especially calf muscle
  8. Rapid heartbeat with exercise as the demand for oxygen increases during exercise, so your heart beats faster than usual
  9. Craving for indigestible substances, such as pica, paper, mud, ice, dirt, etc.
  10. Koilonychia (spoon-shaped nails or upward curvature of the nails)
  11. Soreness and cracks at the corners of the mouth
  12. Very heavy menstrual periods or irregular bleeding because of low hemoglobin count
  13. Pale skin is especially seen over the palms of your hands and under your nail beds. Also, the conjunctiva looks pale
  14. Anemia due to Deficiency of Vitamin B12 Dementia (loss of memory)
  15. Tingling sensation in the hands or feet
  16. Loss of the sense of touch
  17. Difficulty in walking
  18. Stiffness in the arms and legs
  19. Delayed growth and development in children
  20. Swelling of the hands and feet
  21. Episodes of severe pain in the joints, abdomen, and limbs as the red blood cells obstruct capillaries

Anemia by Chronic Red Blood Cell Destruction/Hemolytic anemia

  • Jaundice (yellowish or greenish pigmentation of skin and sclera of the eyes)
  • Brown or red colored urine due to the destruction of red blood cells
  • Fever due to the destruction of red blood cells
  • Small bruises under the skin
  • Abdominal pain because of enlargement of the spleen and liver
  • Black stools due to the destruction of the red blood cells
  • Anemia Caused by Chronic Lead Poisoning
  • Level of lead in blood is higher than 50 μg/dLA blue-black line is seen on the gums. It is also known as a lead line
  • Abdominal pain
  • Constipation
  • Vomiting


  1. Complete blood count: This test will help an individual know the percentage of hemoglobin in blood as well as red blood cell count. Also, mean cell volume (MCV) is used to categorize anemia.
  2. Serum Ferritin Test: Ferritin levels below 15–20 micrograms/L in a person confirms iron-deficiency anemia.
  3. Total Iron-Binding Capacity: It measures the blood's capacity to bind iron with transferrin

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

2746 people found this helpful

Iron Deficiency - What Are The Possible Signs And Symptoms?

MBBS, MD - Internal Medicine, MRCP (UK), DM - Clinical Haematology
Hematologist, Kolkata
Iron Deficiency - What Are The Possible Signs And Symptoms?

Iron deficiency anemia is a type of anemia, which occurs due to deficiency of iron. Iron is the main component of hemoglobin. So, a decrease in the hemoglobin level results in iron deficiency anemia.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Iron Deficiency Anemia?

Signs and symptoms appear when anemia is moderate to severe. In the mild stage, iron deficiency anemia often goes unnoticed. The signs and symptoms of iron deficiency anemia are:

  1. Extreme fatigue (weakness)
  2. Pale skin and brittle nails
  3. Reduced  appetite
  4. Headache, dizziness, or lightheadedness
  5. Cold hands and feet with tingling numbness
  6. Chest pain, palpitations, or shortness of breath
  7. Inflammation or soreness of the tongue
  8. Unusual cravings for indigestible substances, such as ice, dirt, or starch. 

What are the Causes of Iron Deficiency Anemia? 

  1. Inadequate iron intake: Your body gets iron from the food you eat. If you consume too little iron, then your body may become iron deficient. Hence, resulting in anemia.
  2. Inability to absorb iron: Iron is absorbed into your bloodstream from the food in your small intestine. In conditions like an intestinal disorder, this absorption of iron is hampered which results in iron deficiency anemia. Also, when your small intestine is bypassed or removed surgically, absorption of iron is hampered.
  3. Blood loss: Red blood cells in your blood contain iron, and if the blood loss is severe, you can end up having iron deficiency. Conditions, such as bleeding hemorrhoids, colorectal cancer, and heavy menstruation can result in iron deficiency anemia.
  4. Pregnancy and lactation: During pregnancy and lactation period, the iron requirement of the mother is more, and when it is unfulfilled, she may end up having iron deficiency anemia.

Which Group is at Risk?

  1. Vegetarians
  2. Women
  3. Infants and children 
  4. Frequent blood donors

How is it Diagnosed?

Diagnosis is made with the help of: 


Treating the underlying cause is the primary step.

  1. Severe cases: When the iron level is too low, blood transfusion and even intravenous iron is given
  2. Mild to Moderate Cases: Iron and vitamin C supplements are given in mild and moderate cases of iron deficiency anemia.

Can you Prevent Iron Deficiency Anemia?

Yes. You can prevent iron deficiency anemia by including iron-rich foods in your diet, such as:

  1. Dark green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, peas, and beans
  2. Dry fruits, such as raisins and apricots
  3. Red meat, pork and poultry, and seafoodIron-fortified ceconsult an expertreals, bread, and pasta
  4. Include vitamin C-rich foods in your diet to enhance iron absorption. Vitamin C is found in Grapefruit, oranges, strawberries, lemons, and melonsLeafy greens, broccoli, peppers, and tomatoes

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

2607 people found this helpful

Premature Birth - How To Take Care Of Your Baby?

Gynaecologist, Delhi
Premature Birth - How To Take Care Of Your Baby?

The usual full term for a pregnancy is usually around 39 to 40 weeks which varies slightly from woman to woman. However, if your baby is born before the 37th week, then he or she may be considered preterm or to have a premature birth. Premature babies are at a higher risk of infections and may also face a lot of other complications such as low birth weight, anemia, apnea or difficulty in breathing. Some pre-term babies may also end up developing hearing and vision impairments along with developmental problems, learning disabilities and other chronic health problems throughout their lives.

How to take care of your preterm baby?
Although your preterm baby may be predisposed to certain problems, if you take care of them well enough then none of the complications or health problems may occur and they will end up having a normal life like other babies who have been delivered after the full term. Initially, your baby may be kept in a NICU or Neonatal Intensive Care Unit for a few days until the doctors can describe them out of danger.

Some of the things that you can do as parents during that period are mentioned as follows:

  1. Ensure a supply of breast milkIt is important for you to have an ample supply of breast milk stored as and when your baby needs it. Breast milk helps fight infections as well as provides important nutrients for your baby’s development. Your preterm baby may not be able to have breast milk initially and thus you may have to store them via refrigeration.
  2. Ask for supplements to breast milk for your baby: Your preterm baby may not be able to have breast milk immediately after birth. It is thus important to discuss with the doctor about the right milk supplements which can be given to your baby to help with their nutrition and development.
  3. If you have concerns, immediately bring them up: It is important to share any changes in your baby’s health with your doctor and bring up any concerns with them. They may not seem very significant, but it still makes sense to let the doctors know as it may indicate other serious problems that may develop.
  4. Gather and stay on top of information: It is important to gather as much information as possible for the condition of your child and prepare yourself before you take your child home. Ask the doctors and other medical staff at hand what is being done and what you will need to do once your baby is discharged.
  5. Connect with your baby: Even if your baby was born early, you can have skin to skin contact with him or her as long as the precautions have been properly followed. Also, sing and talk to your baby as you would to a normal child as this would help build closeness and emotional connect between the two of you. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
3905 people found this helpful

Kidney Disease - How It Is Related With Anaemia?

Interventional Nephrology, DM - Nephrology, MD - General Medicine, MBBS
Nephrologist, Bangalore
Kidney Disease - How It Is Related With Anaemia?

A healthy kidney produces a hormone known as the erythropoietin. The latter assists the bone marrow to produce an adequate amount of RBC that carries oxygen to every nook and corner of the body. A damaged kidney results in less RBC production, thereby, creating a condition known as anaemia. The hemoglobin count in the blood reduces significantly in this condition.

Anaemia is characterized by shortness of breath, weakness and tiredness. It can affect sleep and a loss of appetite. A patient suffering from anaemia reports of frequent headaches and a faster heart rate. These symptoms also surface when a person suffers from chronic kidney diseases (CKD). The condition gets worse as the disease progresses.

Treating anaemia:
A patient suffering from anaemia should be treated on time as there are many pitfalls of a lower hemoglobin level. The treatment will give instant relief from other symptoms that might have arrived with CKD. Doctors frequently prescribe Erythropoiesis Stimulating Agent (ESA) for patients suffering from CKD and suffering from anaemia due to the shortage of erythropoietin. ESAs can be injected through an injection or intravenously. These injections stimulate the bone marrow to produce more RBCs. However, studies have revealed that ESAs increase the chance of strokes, heart attacks and blood clots. Furthermore, they aggravate tumor growth and shorten life expectancy for cancer patients. People undergoing ESA treatment should have periodic check-ups to ensure that the hemoglobin count is normal and under control.

Iron count in the body has an important role in treating patients suffering from anaemia and CKD. In case the level of iron is too low in the body, ESAs fail to improve the condition of an anaemic patient. The ferritin count of a patient should be in the range of 100-800 mcg/L. One more test known as TSAT reveals the number of iron required to produce RBCs in the body. In case the iron count is less, doctors often suggest iron pills to bring the count to a more accepted level.

Other causes
There could be other reasons for anaemia as well. A doctor might further investigate the level of B12 and folic acid present in the body. Even an inflammatory condition can lead to anaemia. A decreased count of any of the above mentioned ingredients can cause anaemia to a patient suffering from EKD.

Food items necessary to improve the condition
A healthy diet helps in improving the condition of an anaemic patient. Iron deficiency is best addressed by fish and beef. Food rich in vitamin C helps the body to absorb more iron in the body. Certain food items that block the entry of iron in the body include tea, milk, albumen (egg white) etc. Therefore, you should be strictly avoid these items from your diet.

1 person found this helpful

Know Everything About Fibroid

FRCOG (LONDON) (Fellow of Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists), CCT (Lon), DNB (Obstetrics and Gynecology), MD
Gynaecologist, Mumbai
Know Everything About Fibroid

Fibroids are the most frequently seen tumors of the female reproductive system. Fibroids, also known as uterine myomas, leiomyomas, or fibromas, are firm, compact tumors that are made of smooth muscle cells and fibrous connective tissue that develop in the uterus. It is estimated that between 20 to 50 percent of women of reproductive age have fibroids, although not all are diagnosed. Some estimates state that only about one-third of these fibroids are large enough to be detected by a doctor during a physical examination.

In more than 99 percent of fibroid cases, the tumors are benign (non-cancerous). These tumors are not associated with cancer and do not increase a woman's risk for uterine cancer. They may range in size, from the size of a pea to the size of a softball or small grapefruit.

Causes: While it is not clearly known what causes fibroids, it is believed that each tumor develops from an aberrant muscle cell in the uterus, which multiplies rapidly because of the influence of estrogen.

Risk Factors:

  • Age: Women who are approaching menopause are at the greatest risk for fibroids because of their long exposure to high levels of estrogen.
  • Obesity
  • Race: African-American heritage also seems to be at an increased risk, although the reasons for this are not clearly understood.
  • Parity: Some studies, of small numbers of women, have indicated that women who have had two liveborn children have one-half the risk of developing uterine fibroids compared to women who have had no children. Scientists are not sure whether having children actually protected women from fibroids or whether fibroids were a factor in infertility in women who had no children.


Some women who have fibroids have no symptoms, or have only mild symptoms, while other women have more severe, disruptive symptoms. The following are the most common symptoms for uterine fibroids:

  • Heavy or prolonged menstrual periods

  • Abnormal bleeding between menstrual periods

  • Pelvic pain (caused as the tumor presses on pelvic organs)

  • Frequent urination

  • Low back pain

  • Pain during intercourse

  • A firm mass, often located near the middle of the pelvis, which can be felt by the doctor on examination

In some cases, the heavy or prolonged menstrual periods, or the abnormal bleeding between periods, can lead to iron-deficiency anemia, which also requires treatment.

Diagnosis: Fibroids are most often found during a routine pelvic examination. This, along with an abdominal examination, may indicate a firm, irregular pelvic mass to the physician. In addition to a complete medical history and physical and pelvic and/or abdominal examination, diagnostic procedures for uterine fibroids may include:

  • Transvaginal ultrasound (also called ultrasonography). An ultrasound test using a small instrument called a transducer, that is placed in the vagina.

  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). A non-invasive procedure that produces a two-dimensional view of an internal organ or structure.

  • Hysterosalpingography. X-ray examination of the uterus and fallopian tubes that use dye and is often performed to rule out tubal obstruction.

  • Hysteroscopy. Visual examination of the canal of the cervix and the interior of the uterus using a viewing instrument (hysteroscope) inserted through the vagina.

  • Blood test (to check for iron-deficiency anemia if heavy bleeding is caused by the tumor).

Treatment: Since most fibroids stop growing or may even shrink as a woman approaches menopause, the doctor may simply suggest "watchful waiting." With this approach, the doctor monitors the woman's symptoms carefully to ensure that there are no significant changes or developments and that the fibroids are not growing.

In women whose fibroids are large or are causing significant symptoms, treatment may be necessary. Treatment will be determined by the doctor based on:

  • Your overall health and medical history

  • Extent of the disease

  • Your tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies

  • Expectations for the course of the disease

  • Your opinion or preference

  • Your desire for pregnancy

In general, treatment for fibroids may include:

  1. HysterectomyHysterectomies involve the surgical removal of the entire uterus.

  2. Conservative surgical therapy. Conservative surgical therapy uses a procedure called a myomectomy. With this approach, physicians will remove the fibroids, but leave the uterus intact to enable a future pregnancy.

  3. Gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonists (GnRH agonists). This approach lowers levels of estrogen and triggers a "medical menopause." Sometimes GnRH agonists are used to shrink the fibroid, making surgical treatment easier.

  4. Anti-hormonal agents. Certain drugs oppose estrogen (such as progestin and Danazol), and appear effective in treating fibroids. Anti-progestins, which block the action of progesterone, are also sometimes used.

  5. Uterine artery embolizationAlso called uterine fibroid embolization, uterine artery embolization (UAE) is a newer minimally-invasive (without a large abdominal incision) technique. The arteries supplying blood to the fibroids are identified, then embolized (blocked off). The embolization cuts off the blood supply to the fibroids, thus shrinking them. Health care providers continue to evaluate the long-term implications of this procedure on fertility and regrowth of the fibroid tissue.

  6. Anti-inflammatory painkillers. This type of drug is often effective for women who experience occasional pelvic pain or discomfort. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

2409 people found this helpful

Popular Questions & Answers

My mother was diagnosed with anemia few months back she had hb count of 7.2 she took iron supplements but no effect she had one pro rbc transfusion 35 days back. Took a cbc on feb 18 hb count was 5.8.she has all symptoms of anemia nausea vomiting food aversion tiredness and depression. What can be done? Please help me doctor.

BASM, MD, MS (Counseling & Psychotherapy), MSc - Psychology, Certificate in Clinical psychology of children and Young People, Certificate in Psychological First Aid, Certificate in Positive Psychology, Positive Psychiatry and Mental Health
Psychologist, Palakkad
Hello and welcome to Lybrate. I have reviewed your query and here is my advice. Depression could be due to the illness she suffers. Don't worry. That will clear off itself. Hope I have answered your query. You can contact me for treatment options. Let me know if I can assist you further. Take care.

My Mother 81 years old has Total Cholesterol 238, Triglycerides 121, HDL Cholesterol 59, LDL Cholesterol 155, Platelet Count 150000, Haemoglobin 9.7, RBC Count 3.2, WBC Count 4740, Serum TSH 5.6, Cardio HS - CRP 1.16, Blood Pressure 170/80, Echo cardiograph Report (Ejection Fraction 55, Reduced LV Diastolic Compliance), normal blood sugar, normal ECG, normal kidney, normal liver and normal lung. She suffers from chronic high blood pressure (Hypertension), high cholesterol, hypothyroidism (high TSH in Thyroid blood test), Anemia. She also has mild Vitamin B12 deficiency and Vitamin D deficiency. She never suffered from any heart attack, stroke or peripheral artery disease. She never had any stent placement. She takes TELVAS BETA 50 MG tablet (this tablet contains Telmisartan 40 MG and Metoprolol 50 MG) once daily for Hypertension, Thyronorm 25 MCG tablet once daily for Hypothyroidism, Surbex Gold capsule once daily for Vitamin B12 deficiency, TAYO 60K tablet once monthly for Vitamin D deficiency, FERIUM tablet once daily for Anemia. Doctor also advised her to take Zyrova C 75 Capsule (this capsule contains Rosuvastatin 5 MG and Clopidogrel 75 MG). Zyrova C 75 Capsule contains Rosuvastatin for lowering cholesterol, but this capsule also contains blood thinner antiplatelet drug Clopidogrel 75 MG. Does my Mother need blood thinner antiplatelet drug Clopidogrel 75 MG? Can Clopidogrel cause bleeding inside the brain and other parts of the body? Does Clopidogrel start bleeding OR does Clopidogrel prolong bleeding OR does Clopidogrel both start bleeding and prolong bleeding? What happens to a patient taking Clopidogrel if bleeding starts? How does bleeding stop and how long does it take for bleeding to stop?

MD - Obstetrtics & Gynaecology, FCPS, DGO, Diploma of the Faculty of Family Planning (DFFP)
Gynaecologist, Mumbai
Clopidogrel is thinner and any thinner has side effect of possible bleeding. But prescribing doctor compares advantages v/s disadvantages keeping history, examination findings, reports and stage of life and decides to give or not give. As everything in life has advantages and disadvantages both and to get advantages one must accept possible disadvantages. That is why examining treating doctor comes into picture.
1 person found this helpful

I have high calcium level 10.6 for past one month ,lab range is 10.2.Is it dangerous or normal? I did PTH test and it was normal. I fear it might be some cancer. Please help.

Oncologist, Indore
If serum PTH is normal. Then do not worry about any calcium related cancer. Do see nephrologist for evaluation of calcium and phosphate.
1 person found this helpful

SIR, I am 40 year Old Muze IRON (Se. FERRITIN) KAMI Hai Maine Injection Amferon Liya Tha Muze Bhot Reaction Said Effect Huva Tha Abhi Doctor Muze Orofer Injection Leneko Kahate Hai Please Suggest Kya Repit Said Effect Hoga Please Help Muze Bhot Tension Hai Hemoglobin 14.5 Se. Ferritin 10.2.

DNB (Hematology), Fellowship in Hematology
Hematologist, Hubli-Dharwad
Hi lybrate-user, If you can tolerate Iron pills, it is better to take them for 2 months and stop. No need to repeat ferritin levels after that.
1 person found this helpful

Table of Content

Anemia-What is it?

What are the causes of anemia?

Play video
Know The Types Of Anemia
Anemia refers to a medical problem which is characterized by lack of red blood cells that carries oxygen to the different body parts in the body. This condition can cause many adverse effects on the functioning of tissues and organs because of the insufficient oxygen reaching to them. But anemia during pregnancy can lead to many serious problems such as reduced birth weight, premature baby.
Play video
Anemia - How To Cure It?
Anemia is a disease which occurs due to the lack of red blood cells or hemoglobin in your body. The body transports oxygen and the nutrition you get from food, to various body parts through hemoglobin, and a deficiency can cause lower supply of these important elements to the body. Which is why, the patient may feel a lack of energy, dizziness and even exhaustion.
Play video

I am a Dr. Hamrah Siddiqui, gynecologist practicing in several hospitals in Delhi for last 27-28 years. Now I have my own Hospital where I am practicing. I am specialized in laparoscopic surgery, infertility, and high-risk pregnancy. Topics close to my heart are PCOS, ovarian disease and the anemia. I will tell you about Anemia. When the hemoglobin level is less than 11 gram per deciliter, it can create a problem in pregnancy. The cause is hookworm infestation. It causes decreased absorption of iron. We give iron by folic acid and vitamin B12 rarely causes anemia. If it is, then do not take any animal product. There can be no signs and symptoms. When patient comes for an antenatal check-up, then we find out that the patient has the anemia problem. Patient can suffer from depression constipation, diarrhea, lethargy. Patient does not feel like doing day to day activity. They might deliver a premature baby.

Postpartum hemorrhage is a dreaded complication patient could face due to this problem. Baby may bear premature and has less iron reserve. So, it is very important that anemia should be treated on time and mother should be healthy. Male requires 1 mg per day iron in a day but a female requires 2 mg because they have to compensate the menstrual loss. We give iron supplements, injections and sometimes blood. We also advice patient to have iron-rich diet. And if patient is vegetarian, dates, black channa, raisin, green leafy vegetables are recommended in the diet. Absorption depends on the need base. We can give iron injections only after taking a sensitivity test. The demand for iron increases because of growing fetus. Iron can be given in any form but the oral form is preferable. That is the reason that iron-rich diet has been advised. Jaggery and sattu are rich in iron. Iron also has its side effects like gastritis, nausea, vomiting, feeling of sickness, the heaviness of stomach.

Now, when we can give blood to the patient for iron deficiency? When patient is at the advance stage of the surgery like 36 weeks onwards. Blood also has its side-effects. Red blood cell is a great choice. Loss of blood can be because of excessive bleeding, breastfeeding. So, iron supplementations are further required. So, patient should be on iron supplements for at least 3 months. Folic acids are also essential. For this green vegetables can be consumed. It is also prescribed at the pre-pregnancy stage because it is very helpful. It helps in the growth of fetus. It is present in all non-veg food like egg, meat, fish. In vegan, vitamin B12 deficiency can be there so, we five supplements for the same.

Thank You.
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