Iron is a vital mineral for the well-being of the body. It forms a major component of haemoglobin present in red blood cells, which is responsible for transport oxygen throughout the body. Iron deficiency is most common among menstruating and pregnant women. Almost 30% of menstruating women become iron-deficient from the monthly blood loss, and more than 42% of the pregnant population suffers from major iron deficiency.
What is dietary iron?
There are two types of dietary iron:
What happens due to Iron Deficiency?
Iron deficiency causes anaemia where the red blood cells become deficient in haemoglobin and cannot carry sufficient volumes of oxygen.
Its main symptoms are-
What are the Sources of Iron?
Including these rich sources of iron can help you battle iron deficiency-
Iron deficiency is among the most common nutrient deficiencies and affects more than 25% of people in the world. Because of rich deposits of heme iron in animal-based food products, it is more common among vegetarians and vegans.
Sickle Cell Anaemia or Sickle Cell Disease is a congenital disorder that causes the red blood cells to contort into a sickle shape. The sticky rigid cells may get stuck in the smaller blood vessels and in turn, prevent or slow down the process of oxygen and blood flow to other body parts. This painful condition referred to as a sickle cell crisis may lead to a wide range of complications over time.
Look out for the following complications –
Here is a look at the various and most common complications of sickle cell anaemia –
Damage to the organs - Although sickle cell anaemia does cause blood to have less oxygen, the condition is not serious enough to damage your organs. However, the risk of organ damage develops when a sickle cell is caught in the blood vessel and restricts the flow of blood and eventually causing permanent damage to organs, such as the liver, spleen, and kidneys.
Even though damage to the organs is irreversible, it is possible to delay the process if the condition is detected at an early stage. Therefore, regular health checkups and blood tests are strongly recommended for people with sickle cell anaemia.
Acute chest syndrome - This may occur if a sickle cell ends up blocking the blood vessels in your lungs. Acute chest syndrome is a potentially fatal condition characterized by chest pain, shortness of breath, coughing and fever. This requires immediate medical intervention.
Hand-foot syndrome - This condition is also known as dactylitis. It occurs due to the blockage of the blood vessels of the feet or hands. For some people, this could be the initial symptoms of sickle cell anaemia characterized by fever and painful swelling in the feet or hands. The treatment of hand-foot syndrome primarily involves a combination of certain pain medications and drinking fluids.
Stunted or delayed growth and development - Red blood cells provide your body with oxygen and other nutrients essential for healthy growth and development. However, due to poor or lack of oxygen flow, a majority of children and teenagers may experience delayed growth and later onset of puberty. It may also cause infertility in men.
Loss of vision - In some cases, the smaller blood vessels supplying blood to your eyes may become blocked with sickle cells over time, thus causing severe damage to the retina. Some people even develop excess blood vessels due to the reduced flow of oxygen. Both the conditions man contribute to the loss of vision. People with sickle cell anaemia are hence advised to undergo eye testing at least once a year.
Gallstones - The breakdown of red blood cells results in the formation of bilirubin your body. For a person with sickle cell anaemia, the breakdown happens at a faster rate resulting in excess production of bilirubin. A high amount of bilirubin in the body may lead to the formation of gallstones in the gallbladder.
The most common symptoms of gallstone include nausea, vomiting, as well as pain in the back, shoulders, and abdomen. While medications are often prescribed to remove gallstones, surgery may be required in severe cases.
Splenic sequestration - This occurs when a cluster of sickle cells block the splenic vessels. Common symptoms include rapid breathing, pale lips, extreme thirst, sudden weakness, and abdominal pain. Blood transfusion may be required urgently to treat the condition.
Infections - Damage to the spleen caused by sickle cells may make you prone to a range of infections, including pneumonia, common flu, and meningitis. These types of infections are usually characterized by signs, such as high fever, coughing, body aches, and fatigue, and can affect your immunity before you know it.
Leg ulcers - Leg ulcers are common in people with sickle cell anaemia. A person who develops leg ulcers (open sores in the skin of the legs) is likely to notice swelling, heaviness, or an aching sensation in the legs.
Topical ointments, antibiotics, and compression bandages may be used to manage the condition.
Stroke - A blockage in the blood vessels in the brain may lead to a stroke. Immediate medical attention is required if you experience symptoms, such as slurred speech, headaches, difficulty memorizing, walking, or moving the arms, drooping or numbness on one side of the body etc.
Even though complications of sickle cell anaemia are not always preventable, there are certain ways to lower their risk and severity. Here is what you can do –
Most importantly, follow up with your doctor if you have sickle cell anaemia to get tested for any of the above conditions and to reduce the risk of harmful complications.
Sickle Cell Diseases or Sickle Cell Anaemia is considered to be the foremost genetic disease that today’s world is grappling with. W.H.O. has been fighting to spread awareness regarding the same since 2006 and the U.N. joined it in 2008. On the 19th of June, 2009 the first World Sickle Cell Day was celebrated. While it is not a public holiday, it allows organizations and institutions, celebrating it, to make people aware of the existence of this disease.
So what is Sickle Cell Disease? Here is all you need to know about it.
Primary cause: It is a genetic disorder that a child gets from its parents. It is important to note that one can only get sickle cell anaemia if both of one’s parents are carriers. According to a W.H.O. estimate, close to 5% of the entire population carry the mutated genes causing this disorder.
How it works: This disorder affects one's RBCs or red blood cells. We’ve all seen images of red blood cells in biology textbooks. Thus, by its name one automatically imagines round or circular red cells. Due to the mutation of haemoglobin, these cells in the affected patient change their shape. From circular and flexible they become crescent-shaped and stiff. The name of the disease comes from the sickle-like shape that the mutated blood cells acquire.
Key effects: The changing of the shape of our red blood cells may not sound too severe. However, its effects range from bouts of pain caused by lack of oxygen to strokes, blindness, and even erectile dysfunction! The changed shape of the blood cells restricts their movement. Since oxygen is sent to different parts of our body via these red blood cells, their restricted movement results in a reduced supply of the same. This leads to excessive pain in certain body parts. In extreme cases, lack of oxygen becomes the cause of other problems such as blindness, heart attack or stroke, and even bone damage! Continuous lack of oxygen to certain organs can lead to their failure. Thus, without treatment, this disease leads to a very slow and painful death.
Cure: Treatment of this disease refers to the treatment of its symptoms or complications to prevent death and ease the pain of the patient. This is why more research is required to find a way to prevent it altogether or cure the mutation.
Sickle Cell Anaemia or Sickle Cell Disease is a genetic disorder where the haemoglobin of the affected individual gets mutated, causing their red blood cells to change shape and become crescent-shaped. As a result of this change in shape, the movement of these blood cells becomes restricted. Since haemoglobin carries oxygen, its restricted movement results in a lack of oxygen in various body parts and organs. This causes the patient extreme pain and in some cases leads to organ failure and death!
One can receive the mutated gene from one of the parents and become a carrier. If both of one’s parents are carriers, then they’ll most certainly get the disease! With the world’s exploding population the number of Sickle cell disease patients has been on the rise. Following are the best ways to prevent this crisis,
Blood tests - blood tests help screen babies and adults and identify those with the disease. Recently, this test has been included in the screening of babies in the U.S. However, adults who wish to check for this disease can also get it done. Once you test positive, your doctor will decide if you need further tests to check the severity of your disease.
Ultrasound test - this test helps identify patients with a risk of getting a stroke. Since doctors still haven’t found a way to remove this disease completely, the treatment involves removing or reducing its symptoms. Hence, if you know you are at risk of a stroke, your doctor can take preventive measures such as increased blood transfusions, etc.
Pre-birth screening - parents who don’t want to deal with children having this disease often leave them to fend for themselves. To prevent this outcome, doctors can conduct tests on an unborn baby and confirm whether or not they’ll have sickle cell anaemia. This allows couples to decide whether or not to undertake the responsibility for caring for such a patient.
Treatment - other than medication to relieve its symptoms there are two key forms of surgeries that can be performed. The first is blood transfusion. In this procedure, healthy red blood cells from a donor’s blood are taken and infused into the patient. This increases the presence of red blood cells in their body and reduces the risks of death by a stroke. The second is a bone marrow transplant, where they replace the affected bone marrow with that of a donor. Bone marrow is that part of the bone which is responsible for the production of red blood cells. The problem with this procedure is that one must have an exact donor which normally can only be a sibling. What’s more, your sibling must not have the disease themselves to be able to help.
Sickle cell Anaemia is a hereditary blood disease that is passed on to the child of often healthy parents via genes that get mutated. WHO estimates put the number of patients at 300k babies and the number of mutated gene carriers at 5% of the world’s population. Despite this large number, most people are unaware of the several ways in which one can manage and prevent this disease. To rectify this error, W.H.O. has been attempting to improve people’s knowledge regarding the disease since 2006. The primary purpose is to create awareness about the different methods of prevention and cure of Sickle Cell Anaemia. One can say there are 4 key significances of the day,
Spread Awareness - Sickle Cell Anaemia is considered to be one of the most dangerous genetic diseases in today’s world. Yet, maximum people are unaware of not just the methods of combating it, but also its presence. The worldwide recognition of 19th June as World Sickle Cell day makes people aware that such a disease exists. Activities undertaken by various organisations and government institutions further educate the people about its symptoms and methods of cure. There are also several myths associated with it that need to be removed. Like any other disease, if people are just told that it’s dangerous and has been declared to be a worldwide problem by W.H.O., they are bound to panic. Hence, campaigns are required to not just make people aware of this disease but also educate them about its different elements.
Make healthcare services more accessible - activities organized to celebrate the day include the screening of patients at health camps. If one becomes aware of the fact that they are a gene carrier, they’ll be aware of the risk of diseases their children can have and can take appropriate prevention measures or at least be aware of the situation before they engage in a relationship with another carrier. Moreover, there are several methods of cure and prevention ranging from immunisation to care packages varying by country. New parents should be aware of this.
Provide support to countries struggling with this disease - W.H.O. and the U.N. themselves conduct several activities that help equip certain countries better for combating this disease.
Encourage research into the treatment of the disease - while there are already several forms of treatment available for this disease, there is always scope for improving our understanding of the same. While prevention and immunisation are the easiest ways to fight this worldwide problem, it is only through research into the root causes of the problem that we can completely eradicate 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:
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.
Pregnancy brings with it a whole lot of changes for the mother-to-be, such as emotional, psychological, social and of course physical. The body goes through many changes and there are some side effects that are typical of pregnancy, the most common ones are listed below.
The lack of red blood cells or hemoglobin in the blood is termed as Anemia. You may also be diagnosed as anemic is your red blood cells do not have a high enough hemoglobin count. Since hemoglobin is responsible for the amount of oxygen in our blood, being anemic results in a decreased flow of oxygen in the blood.
There are 5 different types of anemia. These are:
Lack of oxygen can have a serious effect on the organs of the body. Hence the symptoms of anemia are also the effects of the disease.
Some of these are:
Anemia can also lead to a number of major health problems such as:
* Heart disease -
Anemia is directly linked to heart disease. When the blood carries less oxygen, the heart needs to work harder to pump it to the rest of the body. Thus, people who are anemic are at a higher risk of having a heart attack than a non-anemic person. Anemia can also lead to arrhythmia or a condition where the person suffers from an irregular heartbeat.
* Pregnancy complications -
One of the first and most vital supplements prescribed to a pregnant woman is iron. Iron is essential not only for a healthy baby but also for your own body. Anemia caused by a lack of iron can result in premature birth and a number of other complications at the time of pregnancy.
* Increased risk of infections -
Lack of oxygen in the blood can affect your immune system by lowering its ability to fight infections. This makes the body vulnerable to diseases.
* Cognitive damage -
Anemia in children can result in a greatly reduced attention span and weaken their memory. Sometimes, even when treated, this can result in permanent scarring and reduced IQ levels.
Fighting anemia is not hard. Consult a doctor instantly if you recognize any of its symptoms and start eating food rich in iron to fight this disease.