Contributed by – Dr. Pooja Chaudhary
Did you know that almost half of the women in India are victims of anaemia?
Lethargy, weakness, feeling blue all day long are often identified with anaemia. These symptoms might not seem serious but it is always wise to listen to your body and pay the much needed immediate attention. Anaemia is lack of red blood cells in the blood which can cause really severe health problems. There are many types of anaemia caused due to several factors, nutritional deficiencies being the most common one.
What is important is to pay heed to these symptoms and seek immediate medical assistance if needed. A test for anaemia helps to identify the problem and take the proper preventive and required steps.
What Is Anemia?
A decrease in the number of circulating red blood cells in the body or in the amount of hemoglobin below the average level is termed as Anaemia. The body doesn’t get enough oxygen and is not able to produce the required quantity of red blood cells hence causing the deficiency.
Role of red blood cells: Red blood cells carry hemoglobin which is an iron-rich protein. The role of this protein is to carry the oxygen from the lungs to the tissues. The normal range of hemoglobin in:
- Newborns: 17 to 22 gm/dL
- One month of age: 11 to 15 gm/dL
- Children: 11 to 13 gm/dL
- Adult males: 14 to 18 gm/dL
- Adult women: 12 to 16 gm/dL
- Men after middle age: 12.4 to 14.9 gm/dL
- Women after middle age: 11.7 to 13.8 gm/dL
There are many forms of anaemia with their specific causes. Some of the most common types are:
- Iron deficiency anaemia: This type is the most common one
- Pernicious anaemia and Vitamin B deficiency
- Anaemia of chronic disease
Symptoms Of Anaemia
Anaemia is actually a really common health problem affecting a lot of us, it is important to identify anaemia to get proper and timely treatment. The most common symptoms experienced are:
- Feeling lethargic or weak
- Shortness of breath
- Fast or irregular heartbeat
- A headache
- Pounding or whooshing in the ear
- Cold hands or feet’s
- Pale or yellow skin
- Chest pain
Causes Of Anaemia
Most people are at a risk of anaemia mainly due to poor dietary habits, lower nutrition intake, intestinal disorders, chronic infections etc. Pregnant women stay at a higher risk of anaemia, therefore it is extremely important for them to have proper nutrition intake, chances of anaemia mostly increases with old age. Some of the most common causes of anaemia include:
- When the amount of blood loss is more than the body’s ability to replace the blood cells, it often leads to anemia
- Poor diet and nutritional intake
- Medical conditions like cancer, diabetes, vitamin B12 and other diseases which can hinder in the RBC production
- Genetic conditions
- Red blood cells typically have a lifespan of 120 days in the bloodstream but they can be destroyed or removed because of certain diseases
A health test package is beneficial in anaemia screening. Timely diagnosis gives a true picture of one’s health condition and aids in taking proper and timely corrective steps. This test basically covers the following parameters:
- Iron studies: Iron studies helps in measuring the amount of iron present in the blood. Iron is a mineral that is looked-for by the body to produce hemoglobin, energy, and in maintaining proper muscle and organ function.
- Folic acid: The test measures levels of folic acid (folate). Folic acid is vitamin B and plays a vital role in DNA synthesis and producing red blood cells. Folic acid gets absorbed through the small intestine and gets stowed up in the liver. It needs to be ingested through diet as our body cannot synthesize it on its own.
- Vitamin B12 Cyanocobalamin: This test measures levels of vitamin B12, also known as Cobalamin. It plays a vital role in the regular functioning of the central nervous system, metabolism, and the formation of red blood cells.
Anaemia treatment depends on the type and cause. Thus it is important to know the cause to know the correct treatment.
- Iron supplements and dietary changes are recommended in patients suffering from Iron deficiency anemia
- Vitamin deficiency: In these cases, treatments include dietary supplements and vitamin B12 shots
- Chronic diseases: In such cases, the underlying chronic conditions need to be treated.
The Recommended Diet For Anaemia
If a person is suffering from anaemia the main culprit is nutritional deficiency. So, adding these amazing foods in the daily diet can bring a lot of healthy changes:
- Iron fortified cereals and bread
- Green leafy vegetables
- Pulses and beans
- Nuts and seeds
- Brown rice
- Dry fruits including apricots, raisins, and prunes
It is important to take care of yourself as you are most important. Therefore it is extremely important to get yourself checked if in doubt. An anaemia package will not only make you aware of the health deficiencies but will also make you much more aware of your health condition.
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