Anemia is a condition that occurs when there is a lack of healthy red blood cells to carry enough oxygen to the tissues and organs across the body. This illness causes the person to feel tired and dizzy because the organs are not getting enough vitamins to function properly.
In the U.S, anemia is ranked as the most common blood condition. Around 3 million Americans have this condition, and more than 1.5 billion people have it worldwide.
Anemia can be classified into two types.
It can be mild or severe. These topics will be discussed in the following section.
In most cases, anemia is developed because of a lack of vitamins and iron. In other words, poor nutrition is the most common cause but can develop for different reasons. West African, Middle Eastern, and South Asian countries have higher anemia rates. However, Afghanistan, Yemen, and Mali have the highest rates worldwide.
Central anemia, also known as hypoproliferative anemia, is directly generated by insufficient production of red blood cells and hemoglobin (this element ensures the correct levels of oxygen levels in the bone marrow tissues).
The following nutrients are the leading cause of this blood condition.
A deficiency in iron
Low vitamin B9 levels
These are necessary elements for producing hemoglobin and red blood cells).
A poor diet of green vegetables, vitamins, and proteins (vegan diet) is the main reason for this condition. Vegans must find other ways to receive protein and iron to achieve a balanced diet.
However, people that suffer from other diseases can develop anemia because their immune system is already compromised. Cancer, thyroid problems, and autoimmune disorders could trigger anemia even with a healthy and balanced diet.
Women during pregnancy are also prone to this illness, especially in the last month before birth, because of increased iron absorption by the placenta.
This type of anemia is scarce. Its origin could be due to autoimmune reasons, and it happens when the body’s defenses are directed towards its red blood cells and attack themselves, causing poor oxygenation to the bloodstream and organs.
Pernicious anemia prevents the body from absorbing vitamin 12, an essential vitamin for the blood and red cells.
They can also have a genetic origin due to a particular anomaly in the structure of hemoglobin.
But there might be other reasons for this blood disease, including
Severe blood loss (women can notice this during their periods) and gastrointestinal bleeding in ulcerative colitis.
The symptoms vary depending on the type of anemia and its severity. But generally, these are the most common symptoms.
Skin looks pale or paler than usual
Shortness of breath when at rest
Persistent fatigue even when sleeping 7 hours or more
Problems with concentrating, reading, or remembering
Lack of motivation and desire
Decrease in libido
Pernicious anemia could take years before it presents symptoms. The reason is that our body reserves vitamin B12 for five years, and it could take many years to start noticing the signs. This characteristic, makes the illness challenging to detect.
If the symptoms sound familiar, you should make an appointment with a doctor as soon as possible. While most anemia cases are mild, it might be more complicated to revert the illness when it reaches a severe stage. In addition, having this condition for extended periods harms your nervous system, heart, and other organs.
Fortunately, anemia has a cure. Since the root of it is often due to the lack of iron or specific vitamins, the doctor will prescribe the necessary medicine, vitamins, and food the person needs to incorporate into their diet.
For example, if anemia is caused by iron deficiency, then an oral tablet of iron is prescribed. An iron infusion may be proposed if the patient has excessive iron losses or if the pills do not work.
The treatment of vitamin B12 deficiency varies according to the cause. The person might need injections as this vitamin needs to be boosted as quickly as possible.
There is no specific treatment for pernicious anemia, specifically when it originates from autoimmune reasons, but corticosteroids can be used in some cases to treat it.
Nurses might be needed if the patient suffers from severe anemia and symptoms that inhibit the patient from carrying on with everyday life. Signature Health Services can provide in-home, 24-hour nursing care, and more. Check our services page to know more about us.
For more information on how Signature Health Services can help with your healthcare needs, please call 1 (800) 277-8291 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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