What is anemia, causes, types, complications and prevention?

What is anemia, causes, types, complications and prevention?

Anemia: The condition of having a lower-than-normal number of red blood cells or reduced haemoglobin level. Women are more likely than men to have anemia because of menstrual blood loss. In children, anemia is most commonly due to insufficient iron in the diet. For men, anemia is typically defined as hemoglobin level of less than 14.5 gram/100 ml and in women as hemoglobin of less than 11.0 gram/100 ml.

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Anemia can be detected with a simple blood test called a complete blood cell count (CBC).
What are the signs and symptoms of anemia?
Some individuals with anemia have no symptoms. Others with anemia may feel:
Every time you feel tired.
You will not feel energetic her/him self.
Appear pale/whiteness.
Lose her/his interest in studies,playing and daily work.
Frequent headache.
Develop palpitations (feeling of heart racing).
Loss of appetite will not feel like eating anything.
Become short of breath.
You will have repeated infections.

What causes anemia?
Any process that can disrupt the normal life span of a red blood cell may cause anemia. Normal life span of a red blood cell is typically around 120 days. Red blood cells are made in the bone marrow.
Nutritional: the most common cause of anemia is low intake of iron and folic acid in our diet.
Non-Nutritational: conditions such as hookworm infestation and malaria can also lead to anemia.

Different types of anemia and their causes include:
Iron deficiency anemia. This is the most common type of anemia worldwide. Iron deficiency anemia is caused by a shortage of iron in your body. Your bone marrow needs iron to make hemoglobin. Without adequate iron, your body can’t produce enough hemoglobin for red blood cells.
Vitamin deficiency anemia. In addition to iron, your body needs folate and vitamin B-12 to produce enough healthy red blood cells. A diet lacking in these and other key nutrients can cause decreased red blood cell production.
Additionally, some people may consume enough B-12, but their bodies aren’t able to process the vitamin. This can lead to vitamin deficiency anemia, also known as pernicious anemia.
Anemia of chronic disease. Certain diseases — such as cancer, HIV/AIDS, rheumatoid arthritis, kidney disease, Crohn’s disease and other chronic inflammatory diseases — can interfere with the production of red blood cells.
Aplastic anemia. This rare, life-threatening anemia occurs when your body doesn’t produce enough red blood cells. Causes of aplastic anemia include infections, certain medicines, autoimmune diseases and exposure to toxic chemicals.
Anemia’s associated with bone marrow disease. A variety of diseases, such as leukemia and myelofibrosis, can cause anemia by affecting blood production in your bone marrow. The effects of these types of cancer and cancer-like disorders vary from mild to life-threatening.
Hemolytic anemia. This group of anemia develops when red blood cells are destroyed faster than bone marrow can replace them. Certain blood diseases increase red blood cell destruction. You can inherit a hemolytic anemia, or you can develop it later in life.
Sickle cell anemia. This inherited and sometimes serious condition is an inherited hemolytic anemia. It’s caused by a defective form of hemoglobin that forces red blood cells to assume an abnormal crescent (sickle) shape. These irregular blood cells die prematurely, resulting in a chronic shortage of red blood cells.

The following factors that place you at increased risk of anemia:
A diet lacking in certain vitamins. Having a diet that is consistently low in iron, vitamin B-12 and folate increases your risk of anemia.
Intestinal disorders. Having an intestinal disorder that affects the absorption of nutrients in your small intestine — such as Crohn’s disease and celiac disease — puts you at risk of anemia.
Menstruation. In general, women who haven’t experienced menopause have a greater risk of iron deficiency anemia than do men and postmenopausal women. That’s because menstruation causes the loss of red blood cells.
Pregnancy. If you’re pregnant and aren’t taking a multivitamin with folic acid, you’re at an increased risk of anemia.
Chronic conditions. If you have cancer, kidney failure or another chronic condition, you may be at risk of anemia of chronic disease. These conditions can lead to a shortage of red blood cells.
Slow, chronic blood loss from an ulcer or other source within your body can deplete your body’s store of iron, leading to iron deficiency anemia.
Family history. If your family has a history of an inherited anemia, such as sickle cell anemia, you also may be at increased risk of the condition.
Other factors. A history of certain infections, blood diseases and autoimmune disorders, alcoholism, exposure to toxic chemicals, and the use of some medications can affect red blood cell production and lead to anemia.
Age. People over age 65 are at increased risk of anemia.

Complications:
Mild iron deficiency anemia usually doesn’t cause complications. However, left untreated, iron deficiency anemia can become severe and lead to health problems, including the following:
Heart problems. Iron deficiency anemia may lead to a rapid or irregular heartbeat. Your heart must pump more blood to compensate for the lack of oxygen carried in your blood when you’re anemic. This can lead to an enlarged heart or heart failure.
Problems during pregnancy. In pregnant women, severe iron deficiency anemia has been linked to premature births and low birth weight babies. But the condition is preventable in pregnant women who receive iron supplements as part of their prenatal care.
Growth problems. In infants and children, severe iron deficiency can lead to anemia as well as delayed growth and development. Additionally, iron deficiency anemia is associated with an increased susceptibility to infections.

Prevention:
You can reduce your risk of iron deficiency anemia by choosing iron-rich foods.
Foods rich in iron include:
Red meat and poultry
Seafood
Onion stalks
Red gram dal
spanich
Beans
Dark green leafy vegetables
Dried fruit, such as raisins and apricots
Iron-fortified cereals, breads and pastas
Peas

Your body absorbs more iron from meat than it does from other sources. If you choose to not eat meat, you may need to increase your intake of iron-rich, plant-based foods to absorb the same amount of iron as does someone who eats meat.
Choose foods containing vitamin C to enhance iron absorption
You can enhance your body’s absorption of iron by drinking citrus juice or eating other foods rich in vitamin C at the same time that you eat high-iron foods. Vitamin C in citrus juices, like orange juice, helps your body to better absorb dietary iron.

Vitamin C is also found in:
Broccoli
Grapefruit
Kiwi
Amla
cabbage
Leafy greens
Melons
Oranges
Peppers
Strawberries
Tangerines
Tomatoes

Preventing iron deficiency anemia in infants / worm infections:
To prevent iron deficiency anemia in infants, feed your baby breast milk or iron-fortified formula for the first year. Cow’s milk isn’t a good source of iron for babies and isn’t recommended for infants under 1 year. After age 6 months, start feeding your baby iron-fortified cereals or pureed meats at least twice a day to boost iron intake. After one year, be sure children don’t drink more than 20 ounces (591 milliliters) of milk a day. Too much milk often takes the place of other foods, including those that are rich in iron.

Wash hands after contact rubbish, before eating food and after playing with toys or touching animals.
Take bath daily.
Keep nails short and clean.
Wear neat and clean dresses.

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