Anaemia – Causes, Symptoms, Types and Treatment

What is Anaemia?

Anaemia is a condition in which the body has fewer amounts of red blood cells which is unable to cope up with body’s demand for oxygen. Blood haemoglobin count falls below the regular level for a person suffering from anaemia. Due to this less amount of oxygen is supplied to the body tissues. This results in fatigue and other medical complications.

Causes of Anaemia

Iron is the major source to produce haemoglobin. Anaemia is caused due to iron deficiency. The deficiency of iron is not the only factor as there are several other reasons. It can be due to sudden blood loss or from improper diet. Most of the women after conceiving a child suffer from iron deficiency which eventually leads to anaemia. There are also cases in which anaemia can occur due to genetic disorder.


Symptoms of Anaemia

There may not be any prominent symptom found in people suffering from anaemia. The usual symptoms are weakness and dizziness. When the disease reaches later stages some symptom may appear. These include short breath, sourness of gums and mouth and headaches. In some cases, the skin color appears to be pale due to iron deficiency. Usually pregnant women are more susceptible to this disorder. But it can also affect teenagers and children as well. The main reason being, the regular diet does not have sufficient amount of iron, folic acid and nutrients.

The following are the different types of anaemia that is usually found in anaemic patients.


Iron Deficiency Anaemia

When body has little iron in the blood stream it is called as Iron deficiency anemia. This is more common in adolescents and in women before menopause. Blood loss from heavy periods, internal bleeding from the gastrointestinal tract, or donating too much blood can all contribute to iron deficiency and hence iron deficiency anaemia. Poor dietary habits and chronic intestinal diseases are the other causes for this anaemia.

Symptoms:

1. Headache
2. Irritability and
3. Paleness

More severe iron deficiency anaemia symptoms include:

1. Rapid heartbeat
2. Brittle hair and nails and
3. Dyspnea

Treatment:

1. Iron supplements can be taken orally and
2. Change in daily diet.


Folic Acid Deficiency Anaemia

If there is any lack of folic acid in the blood stream then it is called as Folic acid deficiency anaemia. Folic acid is usually found in vegetables. If a person takes less or no amount of vegetables then he is likely to suffer from this deficiency. Frequent intake of alcohol is also one of the common causes for this anaemia to occur. Side effect of other blood disorders also forms a decisive factor for this deficiency.

Symptoms:

1. Weakness
2. Fatigue
3. Memory lapses and
4. Irritability

Treatment:

1. Diet rich in folic acid
2. Intake of beef liver, asparagus, and red beans which are rich in folic acid.


Pernicious Anaemia

Pernicious anaemia occurs due to lack of vitamin B12. It usually affects people between the ages of 50 and 60. The disease can also be hereditary in nature. People who have or suffer from any autoimmune diseases are more likely to get pernicious anaemia.

Symptoms:

1. Fatigue
2. Dyspnea
3. Heart palpitations and
4. Numbness or tingling in extremities


Aplastic Anaemia

If there is absence or reduction of red blood cells then it is due to aplastic anaemia. If the blood tissue in bone marrow is destroyed due to injury aplastic anaemia can occur. Due to this the person suffering from this anaemia is unable to fight infection and this results in heavy bleeding. The possible known cause of this anaemia is hepatitis virus and exposure to certain toxins.

Symptoms:

1. Lethargy
2. Paleness
3. Purpura
4. Bleeding
5. Rapid heartbeat
6. Infections and
7. Congestive heart failure


Sickle Cell Anaemia

Sickle Cell Anaemia results due to abnormal type of red blood cells. It is hereditary in nature and is one of the life threatening diseases with no prevention. Leg ulcers, shock, cerebral hemorrhage, and orthopedic disorders are the complications found in this type of disease.

Symptoms:

1. Painful attacks in arms, legs and stomach
2. Jaundice in whites of the eyes
3. Fever
4. Chronic fatigue
5. Rapid heartbeat and
6. Paleness


Polycythemia Vera

Polycythemia Vera is characterized by an increase in red blood cells, leucocytes, and thrombocytes. It usually occurs in middle ages. There is unusual, very fast and intense reproduction of cells and the bone marrow cells mature more rapidly than usual. The cause of this condition is unknown.

Symptoms:

1. Purplish colored skin
2. Bloodshot eyes
3. Headache
4. Dizziness
5. Enlarged spleen

The above mentioned anaemic deficiencies though seem overwhelming can be cured with proper medication and good diet.

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