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Anaemia is a condition caused by a significant reduction in red blood cells. People with anaemia have haemoglobin levels below 7.0 g/dL .
Anaemia affects about 25% of the world’s population . 50% of anaemia instances are caused by iron deficiency. Compared to developed countries, developing countries have a greater rate of iron deficiency in their diet.
Nutritional deficiencies, especially iron deficiency, as well as folate deficiency, are the most common causes of anaemia . Here’s a quick glance at the symptoms, causes, prevention and treatment of anaemia.
|Symptoms||Fatigue, dizziness, chest pain, shortness of breath, weakness, headache, rapid heart rate, etc.|
|Complications||Multiple organ failure, early labour (during pregnancy), myocardial infarction, angina, etc.|
|Causes||Age, genetics, blood loss, nutrition, etc.|
|Onset||Begins when your body does not have sufficient red blood cells.|
|Diagnosis||Blood tests, diagnostic tests, physical check-ups, etc.|
|Prevention||Iron-rich food intake, vitamin C, food containing vitamin B12, balanced diet, avoiding caffeine with meals, etc.|
|Medication||Iron supplements, medicines to boost the production of red blood cells, etc.|
Below is a detailed overview of anaemia, its symptoms, types, diagnosis, treatments, and complications. Read on to know more.
Some of the major symptoms of anaemia are as follows :
You may develop anaemia if the level of haemoglobin in your body decreases due to the loss of red blood cells . Haemoglobin helps the red blood cells to carry oxygen from the lungs to the whole body. Therefore, you must know the main causes of this condition in order to avoid them consciously.
While there are a few types of anaemia that develop with age or are linked with family history, others come from your lifestyle and habits. These types can be managed and reduced.
The main anaemia causes are  :
Note that this can also happen if you lose excessive blood (more than normal) during your menstrual cycle. In case you experience heavy bleeding during your menstrual cycle and have to change your tampon or sanitary pads every two hours or less, you must see a certified doctor.
Other causes of bleeding can also result from anaemia, such as post-surgery bleeding, stomach inflammation, excessive blood donation, etc.
Moreover, excessive alcohol consumption may also cause low red blood cell production.
Anaemia is a common condition across the nation and the world, with women and children at a higher risk. Based on causes, anaemia can be categorised into three major types  :
Post-anaemia diagnosis, visiting a doctor will depend on how severe your condition is . For instance, if your diagnosis shows that you have mild anaemia, it is not mandatory to visit the doctor for treatment, you can simply follow a healthy diet plan at home to recover.
However, if anaemia has developed due to medicine or underlying health conditions, then your doctor may change the course of medicine to improve your condition. Moreover, if the treatment you are receiving is not helping with your symptoms and you have developed new ones, you must visit the doctor immediately.
In certain cases, anaemia may raise the chances of a heart attack. In that case, you must go for an emergency hospital visit. The symptoms you might experience include :
Anaemia diagnosis may take place through several steps. First, your doctor will ask a few questions about your family history, lifestyle and other risk-factors-related queries. Accordingly, they will suggest blood tests or other diagnostic tests.
Secondly, you may undergo a physical check-up for pale skin or poor nails. If the signs indicate anaemia, you will be recommended to a certified haematologist for treatment and management.
The diagnostic tests for anaemia include :
This includes a complete blood count check to measure blood components such as red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. They measure the size as well as the shapes of these cells.
Diagnostic tests of the bone marrow determine whether or not it is producing healthy levels of blood cells. Aspiration and biopsy are the two procedures that are used to examine the bone marrow and are often carried out simultaneously.
These tests are carried out to identify the reason for high or low counts of blood cells. However, it is important that your doctor knows about your medical history as well as the current medications you are on before performing these tests. In addition, inform your doctors in case of any allergies or pregnancy.
The prognosis for anaemia depends on the underlying cause of anaemia.
The most common anaemia case in India is iron deficiency anaemia. Therefore, the short-term prognosis in most cases is excellent. But if there are underlying health disorders that do not improve with treatment, then the conditions might deteriorate rapidly. If left untreated, chronic anaemia due to iron deficiency and underlying heart and lung disease may even be fatal .
On the other, for sickle cell anaemia, the overall life expectancy is generally reduced to almost 20 to 30 years compared to normal in adults. With more advanced and modern treatments and therapy available today, people with sickle cell anaemia could live a prolonged life .
There are different categories of anaemic disorders as mentioned above and each kind requires specific treatment and medication.
While mild anaemia of iron deficiency may be reduced through dietary improvement, severe cases need to be treated effectively. Major anaemia treatment methods include :
Depending on your health status, doctors may prescribe you medications to improve red blood cell production. In case of autoimmune conditions, they may prescribe medicines to suppress the immune system. This will ensure that your immune system does not attack the red blood cells.
In case of mild symptoms, doctors may recommend a dietary supplement instead of medication. They consist of iron-deficiency tablets or other iron supplements mainly to treat iron-deficiency anaemia. In addition, vitamin B12 supplements or shots can be given for vitamin B12–deficiency anaemia.
Generally, three types of medical procedures can be carried out for treating anaemia. They include:
1. Bone Marrow Transplant (Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplant): In this procedure, the faulty stem cell producing abnormal red blood cells are replaced with healthy stem cells. It can either be an autologous transplant (if healthy cells start forming in your body), or an allogeneic transplant (if healthy cells are taken from a donor).
2. Blood Transfusion: In procedure is applied mainly when you have undergone excessive blood loss due to an injury or other surgery. Here, healthy blood is inserted into your bloodstream through an IV line. To carry out this process, you would also need a donor whose blood group and blood type are compatible with yours.
3. Surgery: In case there is excessive blood loss due to internal bleeding, surgery might be required.
Diet and nutrition play an important role in treating different types of anaemia. Therefore, for mild cases, your health specialist may recommend adding food rich in iron and vitamin B12 to your daily diet.
There is no way that you can prevent inherited or autoimmune anaemia. However, conditions caused by nutritional deficiency, such as iron deficiency or vitamin B12 deficiency anaemia can be prevented in several ways :
If severe or left untreated, anaemia can cause multiple organ failure and even death. Moreover, anaemia during pregnancy increases the risk of early labour and low birth weight in kids. The risk of anaemia in the foetus is also raised if the mother is anaemic and increases blood loss during pregnancy.
Anaemia complications in older adults may be greater due to age and comorbidity. For instance, in chronic anaemia, the cardiovascular system is severely affected. You may experience several side effects like myocardial infarction and angina along with higher chances of heart failure .
The cost of anaemia treatment in India is not very huge. However, it depends on the nature of treatment and medication and the type of health care. On average, the price rate of treatment ranges between Rs.500 to Rs.10,000 in India. However, complicated procedures involving both medications and surgery may cost higher.
Anaemia may be caused due a wide variety of reasons from genetics to lifestyle. Therefore, it is important that the right type is diagnosed to give proper treatment. It is a prevalent disorder in India that requires a team of certified professionals such as haematologists, cardiologists, gynaecologists, etc. for treatment.
If you are diagnosed with severe anaemia, its treatment can be a costly affair, especially if you have to undergo surgery or transplant. Protect your savings and opt for the Navi Health Insurance. Get access unlimited online medical consultations, cashless treatment facility at over 10,000 network hospitals across India and other perks for monthly premiums starting at just Rs.234. Get a quote now!
Disclaimer: The information included on this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional. Because of unique individual needs, consult your doctor to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation.
The most prevalent kind of anaemia is iron-deficiency anaemia. It occurs when your body does not have enough iron. This mainly occurs due to loss of blood from injuries or surgeries, but can also develop from low iron absorption by the body. Moreover, anaemia linked to pregnancy can be triggered by the high iron needs of the body of a pregnant mother and her child.
Generally, the consultants you must seek for different types of anaemia are as follows: In the event that a stomach bleed is detected, consult a gastroenterologist. If there is a hint of chronic disease-related anaemia in the context of renal failure, consult a nephrologist. If you suspect a bone marrow issue, consult a haematologist. If intractable menorrhagia is suspected, consult a gynaecologist. Consult a cardiologist if you get angina, heart failure, myocardial infarction, or arrhythmias as a result of your severe anaemia.
The normal haemoglobin count ranges in children and adults as follows: 11.0 to 16.0 g/dL in children 13.5 to 18.0 g/dL in men 12.0 to 15.0 g/dL in women
The issue of anaemia is prevalent all over the world and in most cases affects pregnant women and young children. As per WHO, around the world approximately 40% of pregnant women and 42% of children under 5 years of age suffer from anaemia.
Yes, anaemia can be fatal in pregnant ladies. One of the major reasons is the excessive loss of blood during child delivery which leads to low haematological reserves.
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