Anemia is a commonly diagnosed medical condition which has a number of different causes. In the United States it is estimated that between two and ten percent of the population have Anemia.
Anemia is referred to by many different terms, which include Iron deficiency, Pernicious, Aplastic Hemolylic and Sickle Cell. These terms apply to different and specific underlying causes for the presence of Anemia.
Irrespective of the underlying cause, Anemia is simply a lower than normal red blood cell count and / or insufficient hemoglobin. It is the red blood cells, which are produced in the bone marrow and carry oxygen in the blood stream. Hemoglobin is the red pigment in red blood cells which allow them to carry oxygen.
If you’ve been diagnosed with Anemia or suspect you may have it here are some of the key things about the condition which you should know.
1. Anemia can be acute, occurring quickly in a sort period of time or chronic, occurring slowly over a longer period. The length of time over which Anemia develops can help doctors to determine a possible cause.
2. Anemia is not a disease but rather, it is a condition which can be caused a number of underlying disease processes or poor nutrition.
3. Anemia is diagnosed by laboratory tests which measures the level of hemoglobin and counts the number and size of red blood cells in a sample of a patient’s blood.
4. Anemia can occur in anyone regardless of age or gender. However Women are two times more likely to be diagnosed with this condition than men and the elderly are also at greater risk.
There are a number of physical symptoms which may you may experience if you have Anemia. The number or severity of symptoms will vary from person to person. Here are some key signs which may indicate the presence of Anemia:
Rapid heart rate
Pale and cold skin
Jaundice (abnormal yellowish discoloration of skin)
Low blood pressure
When Anemia is present, to find its cause, doctors may also consider other signs or indicators such as dark or bloody stools, possible internal bleeding from ulcers or ulcerative colitis, liver or kidney disease, rupture or enlargement of the spleen or, external bleeding from wounds or excessively heavy menstrual bleeding, among other things.
Pregnancy can also be a cause of Anemia in some women.
Treatments for Anemia may vary depending on the underlying cause and its severity. Since Anemia is a condition and not a disease treatment of the disease itself might be your doctor’s first order of business.
In cases of severe blood loss a transfusion or the use of packed cells might be required. Administration of oxygen is another treatment possibility.
Some individuals might be required to take iron tables, or B-12 Injections.
For most however diet and life style play the key role in preventing Anemia. The most basic prevention is to eat a well balanced diet containing foods which contain iron and B-complex vitamins.
If you have any doubt about what these might be consult a registered dietitian or, a dietary food guide. To be certain many people choose to take a daily multivitamin which includes minerals.
It is important to stress that you should not attempt to diagnose Anemia by yourself. If you suspect that you may have Anemia seek the advice of a medical professional.