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Feeling tired? Check if you have Anemia

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Anemia

Feeling tired? Check if you have Anemia

Dr. Rahul Naithani
Consultant-Bone Marrow/Stem Cell Transplantation & Clinical Hematology
Medical Oncology

When your body has low haemoglobin or healthy red blood cells, you are suffering from Anemia. Haemoglobin is an essential part of red blood cells whose primary function is to deliver oxygen to different tissues of body. Therefore, when our body organs do not receive sufficient supply of oxygen, anaemia results in fatigue and restlessness.  

Causes

Presently, anemia is a very common condition, which mostly affects children and women. In children, the most common cause of anemia is iron deficiency due to their growing age. Another most common cause is the presence of intestinal worms, which causes anemia due to malabsorption or blood loss.

However, in adults, generally a deficient diet is not a prime reason of anemia. In women, the most common cause is the loss of blood during menstrual cycle, which causes iron deficiency and in men, usually the blood loss is from stomach or intestines. This happens for people who are consuming certain kind of blood thinners for heart or brain condition.  

Other causes

Other conditions or actions that cause blood loss and may lead to anaemia of iron deficiency include:

  • Inflammatory bowel disease– This is a condition which causes redness and swelling (inflammation) in the digestive system of an individual, such as Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis.

 

  • Oesophagitis is the inflammation of the gullet (oesophagus) which is caused by stomach acid leaking through it.

 

  • Schistosomiasis is an infection caused by parasites, which is mainly found in sub-Saharan African region.

 

  • Blood donation – This is the process of donating a large amount of blood which may lead to anaemia.

 

  • Trauma which is a serious accident, for instance a car crash, and that may cause you to lose a large amount of blood.

 

  • Nosebleeds – Individuals having regular nosebleeds may also lead to anaemia, although this is rare scenario.

 

  • Haematuria (blood in your urine) – A rare cause of anaemia which may be a symptom of another condition.

 

Treatment

It is important that we start an early investigation to identify the cause of anemia and begin treatment of anemia with good outcomes. We should realize that adults should seriously consider endoscopies to know the cause of anemia. Haemoglobin levels can be increased to safer limits by oral iron supplementation within two to three weeks.