Friday, May 11, 2012


What is ANEMIA?

Anemia is a condition in which the blood does not supply the body with enough oxygen.  This is because in anemia, either the number of red blood cells circulating in the body is lower than normal or the levels of hemoglobin inside the red blood cells fall below normal.  If hemoglobin and/or red blood cell levels are low, less oxygen is delivered to the tissues by the blood.
Hemoglobin is the iron-containing red pigment that gives the red blood cells their color; and it also gives red blood cells their ability to carry oxygen.

There are three general causes of anemia:
  • ·               Decreased red cell production by the bone marrow
  • ·               Increased red cell destruction, or hemolysis
  • ·               Blood loss from heavy menstrual periods or internal bleeding 


A person with anemia will feel tired and weak. That's because the body's tissues are not getting enough oxygen. In fact, fatigue is the main symptom of most types of anemia. The severity of the symptoms of anemia is in part related to how severe the anemia is. Mild anemia can occur without symptoms and may be detected only during a medical exam that includes a blood test.
  • ·               Fatigue
  • ·               Weakness
  • ·               Fainting
  • ·               Breathlessness
  • ·               Heart palpitations (rapid or irregular beating)
  • ·               Dizziness
  • ·               Headache
  • ·               Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
  • ·               Difficulty sleeping
  • ·               Difficulty concentrating

Common signs include:
  • ·               Pale complexion
  • ·               The normally red lining of the mouth and eyelids fades in color
  • ·               Rapid heartbeat (tachycardia)
  • ·               Abnormal menstruation (either absence of periods or increased bleeding)


There are different kinds of anemia. Some forms of this condition are inherited, while others are brought on by poor nutrition.

  1. Iron Deficiency Anemia                

  2. Vitamin Deficiency Anemia                

  3. Hemolytic Anemia

  4. Sickle Cell Anemia

  5. Thalassemia

  6. Aplastic Anemia


The treatment for anemia depends on the type and cause.


Iron deficiency anemia is treated with iron (ferrous sulphate) supplements, initially taken three times a day. If nausea, stomach cramps, diarrhea or constipation occur, the medication may be taken with a little bit of food. Treatment should be continued for three to six months in order for the body to fully replenish its iron supply. 


Pernicious anemia, or vitamin B-12 deficiency, is treated by a life-long course of intramuscular injections of B-12. Persons with this type of anemia receive a shot of B-12 several times a week when first diagnosed. The treatment may continue for life, with one shot about four times a year.

Folic acid deficiency anemia can be corrected by taking folic acid supplements once a day.

Hereditary hemolytic anemias, such as thalassemia is treated by first eliminating any existing infections and avoiding medications that suppress the body's immune system.

Sickle cell anemia patients may be given oxygen, oral and intravenous fluids and pain-killing drugs to reduce pain and prevent complications. 

Sometimes rare aplastic anemias and autoimmune hemolytic anemias will respond to steroids. Failure to respond to steroids may require removal of the spleen which can become enlarged with defective red blood cells.