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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

Anemia - What Causes It?

MBBS Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery
Internal Medicine Specialist, Secunderabad
Anemia - What Causes It?

Anemia is a medical condition in which the red blood cell count or hemoglobin is less than normal. Haemoglobin is the main part of red blood cells and it binds oxygen. If you have few or abnormal red blood cells, or your hemoglobin is low, the cells in your body will not get enough oxygen. Anemia can last temporarily or for a long-term, and it can range from mild to severe. If you suspect you have anemia, see your doctor immediately because it can be a warning sign of a serious illness. A person who has anemia is called anemic.

Sign and symptoms of anemia: Because a low blood cell count decreases oxygen delivery to every tissue in the body, anemia can cause a variety of signs and symptoms. It can also worsen the state of any other underlying medical condition. If anemia is mild, it may not cause any symptoms. If anemia is chronic, the body may adapt and compensate for the change. In this case, there may not be any symptoms until anemia becomes more severe. Anemia signs and symptoms may vary depending on the cause of the condition. These may include fatigue, weakness, pale or yellowish skin, irregular heartbeats, breathlessness, dizziness, chest pain, cold hands and feet, and headache.

Causes of anemia: Anemia occurs when your body doesn’t have enough red blood cells. This can happen if:

  1. Your body doesn’t make enough red blood cells: The bone marrow is essential for the creation of red blood cells. A number of diseases can affect the bone marrow, including leukemia, where too many abnormal white blood cells are produced. This disrupts normal production of red blood cells.
  2. Bleeding causes you to lose red blood cells more quickly than they can be replaced: Iron deficient anemia is the most common type of anemia which often falls into this category. It is caused by a shortage of iron, which most often results due to blood loss. Blood loss can be acute and rapid or chronic. Rapid blood loss can happen at the time of surgery, childbirth, trauma, or a ruptured blood vessel.
  3. Your body destroys red blood cells: Red blood cells have a lifespan of 120 days in the bloodstream but they can be destroyed or removed beforehand. In one type of anemia, the body’s immune system mistakenly identifies its own red blood cells as a foreign substance and attacks them. Excessive red blood cell breakdown can also occur due to infections, the use of certain drugs, snake or spider venom, severe hypertension, and in the case of clotting disorders.

Treatment of anemia: The treatment of anemia varies greatly. First, the underlying cause of anemia needs to be identified and corrected. Most of the times, iron supplements will be needed to correct iron deficiency. In severe anemia, blood transfusions may be necessary. Vitamin B12 injections are necessary in some cases who are suffering from a specific type of anemia.

Prevention of anemia: Many types of anemia can’t be prevented. But iron deficient anemia and vitamin deficient anemia can be avoided by having a diet that includes a variety of vitamins and nutrients, including iron, folate, vitamin B12, and vitamin C.

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

4923 people found this helpful

Are You Taking Iron Tablets Correctly?

MD - Obstetrics & Gynaecology, DGO, MBBS , FCPS, DNB, FICOG, LLB
Gynaecologist, Mumbai
Are You Taking Iron Tablets Correctly?

Anemia is a common health problem amongst women in India. Iron tablets is the most common medicine prescribed medicine for this. All pregnant women are given a tablet of iron.
Iron tablets can be very effective but only if they are taken correctly.

Here are ten things you must know about iron intake.

  1.  Iron is best absorbed when taken on empty stomach. But it can cause cramps, acidity, vomiting when taken on empty stomach. That is why we advice to take iron tablet be taken after small quantity of food especially when they are not tolerated on empty stomach.
  2. Indian meal is full of phytates and phosphates. These ingredients hamper iron absorption. So never take iron immediately food. You may take it after some time.
  3. It is a common practice in India to take medicines with milk. This is a big “NO- NO”. It does not allow iron absorption.
  4. Conventional iron tablets should not be taken with calcium as this may reduce the absorption. However there are few iron salts which can be taken with calcium.
  5. Vitamin C improves iron absorption. It is a good idea to take iron with lime juice or orange juice.
  6. Common side effects of iron are constipation, dark stools, diarrhoea, nausea.
  7. It is commonly believed that beet root, carrot are best sources of iron. This is not true. Green leafy vegetables, walnuts, black grapes, dates are good vegetarian sources of iron.
  8. Haem Iron, the iron from Non vegetarian source is better absorbed in the body as compared to vegetarian sources.
  9. iron syrups may stain the teeth dark.
  10. Iron comes in the form of various salts. If you do not tolerate one type of salt discuss with your doctor and get it changed. But take the iron tablet and prevent anemia. Be healthy!

7 Signs to Help You Spot Iron Deficiency!

Ph.D In Food & Nutrition, MSc In Food & Nutrition
Dietitian/Nutritionist, Ajmer
7 Signs to Help You Spot Iron Deficiency!

As per the latest statistics published by the 'center for disease control and prevention', about 9% women suffer from the deficiency of iron. Though the proportion is relatively low, iron deficiency can lead to various diseases, which can be very difficult to cure. So, look out for these telltale signs of iron deficiency and check whether you suffer from any of them.

  1. Fatigue: Your internal system uses iron for the production of hemoglobin, which is a component in the red blood cells, responsible for carrying oxygen to all parts of the body. So, when the iron content is low, there is not enough hemoglobin produced and all organs do not receive oxygen in the required quantities, which is bound to make you feel tired at most times.
  2. Inability to focus: People with iron deficiency often suffer from alteration in the synthesis of neurotransmitters. This can lead to decreased functionality and focusing abilities. This may also lead to the development of apathy towards all things, including family, friends, books, music or anything that you loved and enjoyed doing.
  3. Breathlessness: Without a proper supply of iron, there could be an oxygen crunch in the body, compelling you to feel breathless. This may happen anytime like when you are working out or walking or reading a book.
  4. Paleness: Do you think your skin has lost luster and has become pale in the last few days? That’s definitely not a good sign and may be a symptom of decreased flow of blood and reduction in the RBC count.
  5. Trouble doing your daily chores: Low levels of iron in the body can cause your endurance level to suffer. Thus, you may find it difficult to run up the stairs or catch a vehicle or swim for a while.
  6. Soreness of muscles: Even if you could push yourself to reach the gym, you would experience that the burn lasts longer than normal. Lack of required amount of iron prevents your muscles to recover at the right pace. As a result, you are likely to suffer from aches in the muscles.
  7. Brittle nails: If there is a recent development of spoon-shaped or concave depression in the nails, it could be a sign that your body is iron deficient.

Often people tend to ignore the warning signs that the body gives to indicate the problem that’s cropping up. But you can’t take your health for granted. So, check for these signs without any delay get help from a doctor in case you notice them. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

5505 people found this helpful

Anaemia And Hair Loss - What Should You Do?

Bachelor of Ayurveda, Medicine and Surgery (BAMS)
Ayurveda, Surat
Anaemia And Hair Loss - What Should You Do?

Anemia, as known to many, is a medical condition triggered by low hemoglobin levels. More than often, iron deficiency acts as a catalyst giving rise to anemia. While fatigue, headache, palpitations, skin pallor, and dizziness are characteristic of anemia, many people also suffer from hair loss. Here too, the iron deficiency acts as contributing factor interfering with the healthy growth cycle of the hair. In some cases, the hair loss may mimic the male and female pattern baldness as observed in the case of Alopecia. While anemia and the related hair loss can affect anyone irrespective of their age and sex, women of reproductive age, as well as teenagers, are more susceptible to this. In this article, we will discuss the anemia and iron deficiency induced hair loss in brief and the preventive measures to deal with the situation.

Anemia-related Hair Loss
In anemia, there is a significant fall in the hemoglobin level. Hemoglobin acts as an oxygen carrier to different body cells and tissues, including those of the hair follicles to ensure healthy cell growth and repairment. Low hemoglobin levels result in inadequate oxygen supply, one of the prime factors responsible for hair loss.

Ferritin, a storage protein (cellular protein) for iron contributes significantly towards a healthy growth cycle of the hair (stimulates the anagen or the growth phase). In the case of anemia, to meet the iron requirements of the vital organs such as the heart, the body starts utilizing the ferritin stored in hair bulb and other non-essential tissues. This dip in the ferritin level affects the hair growth. A ferritin blood test often helps in the diagnosis of iron deficiency and anemia.

Preventive measures to deal with anemia related hair loss
With the iron deficiency and the associated symptoms being taken care of, the anemia triggered hair loss can be controlled and reversed. In addition to the medications and treatment, one also needs to take care of their general health and lead a healthy lifestyle.

  1. Never go for self-medication. It will only worsen the situation. Two individuals can have the same medical problem but triggered by different factors. Always consult a doctor before trying any medicines.
  2. Follow a healthy diet: People dealing with anemia and iron deficiency should enrich their diet with foods rich in iron such as lean meat, liver, spinach, beetroot, nuts and dry fruits (walnuts, almonds), prunes, parsley, broccoli (the florets), to name a few. Foods rich in vitamin C, almonds, are known to promote hair growth.
  3. Avoid drinking tea between meals as this unhealthy practice is known to interfere with the absorption of iron.
  4. Maintain a healthy hair care routine
    • Oil massage your hair at least twice a week.
    • Be gentle while combing the hair.
    • Try and use a mild shampoo (or as the doctor recommended).
    • Avoid excessive use of hair styling products and chemicals.

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

5865 people found this helpful

Haemophilia - Understanding How It Can Be Managed!

MBBS, DNB (General Medicine)
General Physician, Delhi
Haemophilia - Understanding How It Can Be Managed!

Haemophilia is a type of disorder in which blood does not clots easily or in a normal way. Haemophilia A is one of the common types of disease which causes due to deficiency of blood clotting factor VIII. Haemophilia B is another type which is caused due to the deficiency of blood clotting factor IX. Haemophilia is a lifetime condition which has no exact cure but can be managed by treatment. Haemophilia is a hereditary disorder which is mostly seen in men but is also observed in women sometimes if they carry the gene.

Symptoms of Haemophilia
Symptoms of haemophilia can vary depending on the severity of the disease. In most of the cases, bleeding is the common symptom of haemophilia. Sometimes, haemophilia causes internal bleeding which if left untreated can cause joint pains. There are some other general symptoms seen in people suffering from haemophilia. They are listed here.

  1. Bleeding through the nose
  2. Bruising
  3. Bleeding seen in faeces or urine
  4. Continuous bleeding when removal of tooth, surgery and when injured
  5. Unprompted bleeding
  6. Bleeding seen in joints which lead to swelling and pain
  7. Bleeding seen in urinary and gastrointestinal tracts

In some cases, internal bleeding happens in the brain which may come into notice during an injury. Such type of internal bleeding can be detected by the following symptoms.

  1. A severe headache
  2. Drowsiness
  3. Neck pain
  4. Severe stiffness in the body
  5. Abrupt weakness
  6. Problems in walking

Treatment for Haemophilia
The standard treatment of haemophilia involves mainly in replacement of missing clotting factor. As haemophilia is caused due to deficiency of factor VIII, the treatment involves the injection of factor VIII concentrates into the body which can be identified depending on the severity of bleeding, the site of bleeding and the age of the patient. Depending on the seriousness of the disease, factor VIII concentrates are given to the patient before going for surgery or dental extractions. This can help in preventing the bleeding.

As haemophilia is a hereditary disease, it is advisable to concentrate on prevention rather than cure of the disease. In order to prevent the disease, it is wise to undergo a genetic counselling. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

3606 people found this helpful

Popular Questions & Answers

My crp level is high it is 18 mg/dl. And my wbc is 14800. Anf esr is 30 so I have to what happen to me.

MD - Homeopathy, BHMS
Homeopath, Pune
ESR and CRP are non specific markers of Chronic disease. Raised WBC count indicates that there is an additional acute infection.

Hi, All tests are normal like thyroid, sugar,lipid profile but CBC report shows that Haemoglobin=7.4 Tlc=4.44 RBC=4.17 Mcv=34.5 Mch=17.7 Mchc=27.5 Platelets=2.61lakhs Pcv=26.9 Anemia to h. Sir what's the problem in this report and or aage kyaa test karane chahiye? Please write.

MBBS, MD, DHMS (Diploma in Homeopathic Medicine and Surgery)
Homeopath, Indore
There are multiple reasons of anemia like loss of blood in any discharge, inability of body to form new blood, life span of red blood cells is reduced, etc. So the cause needs to be diagnosed first. 1. Eat Iron-Rich Foods - Some good iron-based foods are liver, red meat, tofu, spinach, almonds, dates, lentils, fortified breakfast cereals, almonds 2. Increase Vitamin C Intake - Low hemoglobin levels due to a deficiency of vitamin C can be corrected by eating more foods rich in vitamin C. Iron cannot be fully absorbed by the body without the help of this vitamin. Eat foods rich in vitamin C like papaya, oranges, lemon, strawberries, bell peppers, broccoli, grapefruit, tomatoes and spinach. 3. Take Folic Acid - Folic acid, a B-complex vitamin, is required to make red blood cells. So, a folic acid deficiency automatically leads to a low hemoglobin level. Some good food sources of folic acid are green leafy vegetables, rice, sprouts, dried beans, wheat germ, fortified cereals, peanuts, bananas, broccoli and liver. 4. Beetroots - Beetroot is highly recommended to increase hemoglobin levels. It is high in iron, folic acid as well as fiber and potassium. Its nutritional value helps increase the body’s red blood cell count 5. Apples - An apple a day can help maintain a normal hemoglobin level. Apples are rich in iron along with various other health-friendly components that are required for a healthy hemoglobin count. For homeopathic medicine, contact us after treatment, we will go for blood test once again.

I am at low level of B12 pernicious anemia, left side of body I am feeling weak, taking shots for B12, effect last till 15 days, please suggest any effective medicine to cure permanent.

MD - Homeopathy, BHMS
Homeopath, Vadodara
HI raj... Taking B12 is not a solution... The effective treatment is homeopathic which cures the cause of low Vitamin. But you will need to consult with proper details.. you can consult me through lybrate...

I have thyroid problem and taking medicine too. But day by day getting fat. So just make some test normally. When I show these test to Dr. he said go to government hospital and make treatment properly. You are anaemic or your body not making blood. So it is not fat is it swelling due to low blood. I want to ask about my these reports. Is there anything like this. Or just low blood.

MBBS, CCEBDM, Diploma in Diabetology, Diploma in Clinical Nutrition & Dietetics, Cetificate Course In Thyroid Disorders Management (CCMTD)
Endocrinologist, Hubli-Dharwad
Hello, Thanks for the query. I have gone through the information given. But it too general, so there is no way to comment or give any suggestion. I need to know following details: TSH & T 4 values, Levothyroxine dosage, height and weight of the patient, extent of daily exercise, details of blood report. Please come back with these details in a private conversation (paid consultation) then I will be able to guide specifically and also prescribe if there is a need. In this communication we are supposed to give only general guidelines, no prescriptions are allowed. Thanks.

I have haemoglobin 14.2 is it good or bad and hot to make it perfect.Please suggest me something for that.

General Physician, Mumbai
Dear lybrateuser, - Your hemoglobin level is OK & in normal range for your age - continue having a well balanced diet with more of fruits, vegetables including green leafy ones, non veg( if you have), whole grains, nuts, eggs legumes which are rich in iron & other vitamins required to make hemoglobin in the body.