Updated: Aug 3, 2020
Anemia is a medical condition in which total number of red blood cells or hemoglobin in body goes below normal i.e. the level of hemoglobin goes below 13.5 gram/100 ml in men and 12.0 gram/100 ml. in women. It is one of the common blood disorder, estimated to have affected at least 1.62 billion people globally.
Anemia is a decrease in the total amount of red blood cells (RBCs) or hemoglobin in the blood, or a lowered ability of the blood to carry oxygen. When anemia comes on slowly, the symptoms are often may include feeling tired, weakness, shortness of breath, and a poor ability to exercise. When the anemia comes on quickly, symptoms may include confusion, feeling like one is going to pass out, loss of consciousness, and increased thirst. Anemia must be significant before a person becomes noticeably pale. Additional symptoms may occur depending on the underlying cause.
Anemia can be caused by blood loss, decreased red blood cell production, and increased red blood cell breakdown. Causes of blood loss include trauma and gastrointestinal bleeding. Causes of decreased production include iron deficiency, vitamin B12 deficiency, thalassemia, and a number of neoplasms of the bone marrow. Causes of increased breakdown include genetic conditions such as sickle cell anemia, infections such as malaria, and certain autoimmune diseases. Anemia can also be classified based on the size of the red blood cells and amount of hemoglobin in each cell. If the cells are small, it is called microcytic anemia; if they are large, it is called macrocytic anemia; and if they are normal sized, it is called normocytic anemia. The diagnosis of anemia in men is based on a hemoglobin of less than 130 to 140 g/L (13 to 14 g/dL); in women, it is less than 120 to 130 g/L (12 to 13 g/dL). Further testing is then required to determine the cause.
Certain groups of individuals, such as pregnant women, benefit from the use of iron pills for prevention. Dietary supplementation, without determining the specific cause, is not recommended. The use of blood transfusions is typically based on a person's signs and symptoms. In those without symptoms, they are not recommended unless hemoglobin levels are less than 60 to 80 g/L (6 to 8 g/dL).These recommendations may also apply to some people with acute bleeding. Erythropoiesis-stimulating medications are only recommended in those with severe anemia.
Anemia is the most common blood disorder, affecting about a third of the global population. Iron deficiency anemia affects nearly 1 billion people.
In 2013, anemia due to iron deficiency resulted in about 183,000 deaths, down from 213,000 deaths in 1990. It is more common in women than men, during pregnancy, and in children and the elderly
Anemia is often a side-effect of another major disease which interferes with the body’s ability to produce hemoglobin or causes the loss of red blood cells. The anemic people will have less number of healthy red blood cells or there will be an increase in the number red blood cells that are unable to produce hemoglobin due to Iron deficiency.
Many types of anemia are the result of faulty genes. If the anemia is genetic in origin, there are treatments available, but no real cures.
Some anemia is because of an unknown loss of blood. If the origin of the blood loss cannot be found, the symptom of anemia can be treated successfully, but the patient won’t be considered ‘cured’ until the origin of the blood loss is found and successfully treated.
Insufficient intake of iron and or B12 can cause anemia and can be treated and cured with proper dietary adjustments.
Some individuals have a ‘normal’ low blood count. Chronically low. While the lab value is technically low, most individuals with this condition have no issues and function just fine running a little low. Treatment is not needed for these individuals. These individuals are not ‘sick’ they are just abnormal,
Short term blood loss anemia, like a trauma or an injury is usually treated by fixing the source of the bleeding and a combination of fluid support and transfusion to augment blood cell count. In some cases medications that boost blood cell manufacture in the body along with high doses of iron are used to support a return to normal blood counts.
Some treatments, like chemotherapy and dialysis actively destroy blood components or severely affect the body’s ability to manufacture blood cells. In most cases these patients are also treated with drugs that improve blood cell production and high doses of iron. This kind of anemia will resolve or be cured when the treatments cease and further treatment is no longer needed.
Physical conditions like a heavy menstrual period, ulcers, diverticulitis/diverticulosis, hepatic failure, can all cause anemia and their cure lies in treating the underlying condition. Supportive treatments include dietary changes like increasing the amount of iron and B12 taken and medications that support overall production of blood cells can also help..
Iron deficiency Anemia is caused because of low levels of iron in the blood. It is the most common form of Anemia. The body needs iron for making hemoglobin and as hemoglobin helps in transport of oxygen, with low iron levels body can’t get the amount of oxygen it needs.
Lack of iron in blood may be due to blood loss because of long menstrual periods, ulcers, infections, severe injuries, poor diet or certain intestinal problems that affects the ability of body to absorb iron can also lead to iron deficiency anemia.
Vitamin deficiency anemia (megaloblastic anemia)
Our body requires vitamin B12 and folate for production of enough red blood cells. The deficiency of vitamin B12 causes “pernicious anemia”, usually this deficiency may be result of lack of vitamin B12 in the diet or if body is not able absorb vitamin B12 properly due to intestinal problems.
Anemia caused due to deficiency of folate (also known as folic acid) is known as folate deficiency anemia. These types of anemia caused due to vitamin deficiency is known as Megaloblastic anemia
Aplastic anemia is a type of anemia in which the production of all types of blood cells (including red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets) in the bone marrow decreases. It is a rare form of anemia and the cause is uncertain, it may be due to an autoimmune disorder, cancer treatments, exposure to toxic chemicals or a viral infection or may also be inherited.
Sickle cell anemia
Sickle cell anemia is a genetic disorder (i.e. it runs in the family) and is caused due to a problem with hemoglobin that causes red blood cells to have an abnormal crescent shape. The body destroys these cells quickly, but the new red blood cells cannot be made fast enough
Hemolytic anemia is caused because of premature death of red blood cells which may be due to the red blood cells themselves (inherited) or because of outside factors. In hemolytic anemia the red blood cells are destroyed faster than the bone marrow can produce new ones. The causes may include blood diseases, autoimmune disorders, and certain medications.
Treatment of Anemia depends on the causes of anemia.
Iron deficiency anemia. Treatment for this form of anemia
Usually involves taking iron supplements and making changes to your diet.
If the underlying cause of iron deficiency is loss of blood — other than from menstruation — the source of the bleeding must be located and stopped. This may involve surgery.
Anemia of chronic disease. There's no specific treatment for this type of anemia. Doctors focus on treating the underlying disease. If symptoms become severe, a blood transfusion or injections of synthetic erythropoietin, a hormone normally produced by your kidneys, may help stimulate red blood cell production and ease fatigue.
Aplastic anemia. Treatment for this anemia may include blood transfusions to boost levels of red blood cells. You may need a bone marrow transplant if your bone marrow is diseased and can't make healthy blood cells.
Anemias associated with bone marrow disease. Treatment of these various diseases can include medication, chemotherapy or bone marrow transplantation.
Managing hemolytic anemias includes avoiding suspect medications, treating related infections and taking drugs that suppress your immune system, which may be attacking your red blood cells.
Depending on the severity of your anemia, a blood transfusion or plasmapheresis may be necessary.
Plasmapheresis is a type of blood-filtering procedure. In certain cases, removal of the spleen can be helpful.
Sickle cell anemia.
Treatment for this anemia may include the administration of oxygen, pain-relieving drugs, and oral and intravenous fluids to reduce pain and prevent complications. Doctors also may recommend blood transfusions, folic acid supplements and antibiotics.
A bone marrow transplant may be an effective treatment in some circumstances. A cancer drug called hydroxyurea (Droxia, Hydrea) also is used to treat sickle cell anemia.
Home remedies for overcome anemia,
an apple a day, keeps the doctor away. Apple is rich in iron and various other supplements. However, not one but 2-3 apples in a day can fulfil a person’s need of iron for a day.
2. Epsom Salt
Take a bath with warm water mixed with Epsom salt. You can also soak your feet, if you wish so. 3. Honey
Honey is an excellent natural remedy for anemia. Make a concoction of a tablespoon of honey, lemon juice, and apple cider vinegar. Eat this daily to cure anemia. Honey increases hemoglobin in the blood and is rich in iron, manganese, and copper.
Soak 8-10 black currants for overnight in water and for 3 to 4 weeks maintain a regime of having this as the first thing in the morning. Don’t forget to remove the seeds of black currant before eating it. 5. Beetroot
Beetroot is one of the iron rich vegetables. You can either eat it as a salad or can extract its juice. Beetroot juice can be mixed with spinach juice, apple juice, or carrot juice. 6. Iron Pots
Cook your food in iron vessels and pots on a daily basis as it can combat the problem of iron deficiency by increasing the iron in your food. 7. Yellow Dock Root
½ to 1 teaspoon of the tincture of Yellow dock root, thrice every day, can help you cure the problem of anemia. 8. Dandelion and Burdock Root
Both these herbs are often mixed to form a great antidote to treat anemia. These herbs increase the body’s ability to absorb iron from the food that is consumed..