Anemia is a condition that develops when blood lacks enough healthy red cells or haemoglobin. Hemoglobin is a main part of red blood cells and binds oxygen. If there are too few or abnormal red blood cells, or hemoglobin is abnormal or low, the cells in our body will not get enough oxygen . Symptoms – like weakness or fatigue occur because organs aren't getting what they need to function properly. Problem is more when anemia occurs in pregnant female, in that case there is increased risk to baby and mother. While such women may require iron infusion or blood transfusions, they are also at increased risk of infections. Children born to such mothers are malnourished with poor immunity. Older adults may have a greater risk of developing anemia because of poor diet or other medical conditions.
According to a report, in India about 51% of women are anemic. Low literacy, malnutrition, poor diet is the main, but not the only reason for high incidence of anemia. We need to know about many other things other than these causes, as anemia may occur in rich too, where diet and nutrition is generally not a problem.
There are many types of anemia. All are very different in their causes and treatments. Iron-deficiency anemia, the most common type, is very treatable with diet changes and iron supplements. Some forms of anemia -- like the mild anemia that develops during pregnancy -- are even considered normal. However, some types of anemia may present lifelong health problems and require detailed evaluation.
Broadly, anemia can be classified into-
- Anemia caused by blood loss – may be seen in young menstruating females or patients with fistula, piles or any gastric ulcer .
- Anemia caused by decreased or faulty red blood cell production – In this type of anemia , body may produce too few blood cells or the blood cells may not function properly. Conditions include Thalassemias, bone marrow diseases like blood cancer or aplastic anemia , or vitamin and iron deficiency.
- Anemia caused by destruction of red blood cells – In this type of anemia , Red cells are destroyed repeatedly due to some disease. This is seen with haemolytic anemia , thalassemia etc
It is very important for all of us to be aware of this problem and any fatigue, shortness of breath, dizziness, pale skin lasting for long time needs complete evaluation for any uncommon cause. Also, any anemia which appears suddenly along with other symptoms like swellings all over the body or bleeding requires urgent medical attention.