Anemia


Anemia is a blood pathology whose characteristic is due to the lack of red blood cells in the blood, which directly affects its composition. The other way in which this disease can develop is when the red blood cells that are in the blood are not necessarily healthy and it is because they do not find enough hemoglobin, which is known as that protein in the blood, whose main function is to provide iron to the bloodstream. sanguine.

what is anemia

It is a disease that directly affects those people who have an absence of red blood cells, and in turn, this does not allow the distribution of necessary oxygen throughout the body. Normally, having anemia is equivalent to feeling exhausted. The word anemia comes from the Greek αναιμία (anemia). The word αναιμία comes from the Greek prefix αν- (without) and the word αιμία (hema, blood), that is, lack of blood.

WHO anemia. According to the World Health Organization, anemia is the reduction in the concentration of hemoglobin.

Anemia symptoms

There are several symptoms that occur when people have a reduced number of red blood cells. The body does not receive the sufficient amount of oxygen it requires and begins to manifest itself with a series of symptoms:

  • Weakness or fatigue: unexplained exhaustion begins, lack of energy to function normally in daily life.
  • labored breathing
  • Dry skin begins with a pale appearance, loses its pinkish tone to acquire a more yellowish one.
  • Dizziness, depending on the severity of the anemia.
  • Variations in heart rhythm, such as tachycardia or palpitations.
  • The pulse may weaken.
  • Headache.
  • Cold in the hands and feet.
  • Lack of appetite, digestive disorders and sporadic constipation.
  • Menstrual disorders in women of reproductive age.
  • Prognosis: It is done to detect a disease and its progress, in many cases diseases develop little by little. For example, people with HIV. It is the advanced knowledge carried out by treating physicians.

Anemia risk factors

There are several factors that can increase the risk of developing anemia, here is how to avoid it:

  • A diet devoid of certain vitamins.
  • Eating a diet low in iron, vitamin B12, and folic acid increases your risk.
  • Intestinal disorders such as Crohn’s disease or celiac disease, in which the absorption of nutrients in the intestine is affected.
  • Women who have not gone through menopause are at increased risk of iron deficiency anemia, due to the loss of red blood cells that occurs with the period.
  • Pregnant women who do not take a multivitamin supplement with folic acid are at high risk, because it is essential for her and her developing baby.
  • Chronic conditions. Conditions such as cancer, kidney failure, or another chronic condition increase the risk, as they can cause a decrease in red blood cells.
  • Chronic, slow blood loss from an ulcer or other cause can use up the body’s entire iron supply and lead to anemia from a lack of vitamin B12.
  • Family background. If there are family members who have inherited this disease, such as sickle cell disease, the risk of suffering from it increases.
  • Other factors. 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.
  • Those over 65 years of age have a higher risk of presenting anemic symptoms.

Causes of anemia

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Hereditary diseases: among these is the sickle cell disease and there are many forms of presentation.

  • Blood loss: blood loss is the most common cause, especially in the case of iron deficiency anemia, it can be mild or chronic. In the case of women with menstrual days that are sometimes abundant and blood loss is considerable. As for the skin, it turns pale or yellowish, but loses the pink tone.
  • Lack of red blood cell production: There are health situations and acquired factors such as hereditary, which can prevent the body from producing enough red blood cells.
  • Increased rate of red blood cell destruction: A number of diseases and acquired and inherited factors can cause the body to destroy too many red blood cells.
  • Enlargement of the spleen: when this organ begins to show deficiency, it speeds up and immediately begins the destruction of red blood cells, thalassemias and the deficiency of certain enzymes.
  • During the first 6 months of pregnancy: the liquid portion of a woman’s blood (plasma) increases faster than the number of red blood cells being made, that is, the blood is diluted and can cause anemia in pregnancy, this increases the risk of premature birth, low birth weight and postpartum depression.
  • Pregnancy: pregnant women may have anemia in pregnancy due to low concentrations of iron and folic acid, due to certain changes that occur in the blood.

Consequences of anemia

This disease is an indicator that the person is leading a poor diet. The consequences of anemia in children are serious since they impair the psychomotor and cognitive development of the infant. Some of them are:

  • They lack energy all day.
  • There is a greater risk of contracting an infectious disease, since the body’s defenses are low.
  • It impairs brain development.

Types of anemia

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iron deficiency anemia

Iron deficiency (FeP) consists of the absence of systemic Fe deposits, with a potentially harmful effect, especially in childhood. If this situation does not improve and continues for a long time, iron deficiency anemia (AFe) will develop, with greater clinical repercussions.

Hemolytic anemia

It corresponds to a group of intravascular and extravascular diseases, where there is a deficiency of red blood cells located in the blood, as a consequence of their premature loss.

Megaloblastic anemia

This type has within its characteristics that the erythroid cells are large and in turn the erythrocytes with a medium thickness and also an increase in the concentration of mean corpuscular hemoglobin (MCH), which is related to the size of the erythrocytes, this anemia is determined by ineffective erythropoiesis.

Anemia due to vitamin B12 deficiency

If you have iron-folate deficiency anemia, it is important to regularly include plenty of vitamin B12 and folate in your daily diet. Good sources of vitamin B12 are meat, eggs, dairy, fortified breakfast cereals, and some soy products.

Pernicious anemia

This is a megaloblastic product that occurs due to a low level of vitamin B12, due to the absence of intrinsic factor (IF) due to paralysis of the gastric mucosa or due to loss of the parietal cells that produce it. In the presence of intense gastric atrophy, there is a decrease in the production of acid and IF, in addition to a subsequent alteration in the absorption of vitamin B12.

Anemia of chronic diseases

This is part of a chronic inflammatory disorder, often due to chronic infection, autoimmune disease (specifically rheumatoid arthritis), kidney disease, or cancer; however, this happens at the beginning of any infectious process, in fact it can happen after a surgical intervention or trauma.

Sickle-cell anaemia

It is a disease of a group of inherited blood disorders that damages the hemoglobin located in red blood cells. Hemoglobin is the portion of the blood that carries oxygen to all parts of the body. When sickle cell anemia occurs, the hemoglobin becomes stronger and forms a crescent shape – hence its name “sickle cell or sickle cell”.

Idiopathic aplastic anemia

This disease occurs in some babies who are born without the ability to make the necessary red blood cells. Babies and children who have aplastic anemia usually require blood transfusions to increase the number of red blood cells.

Thalassemia

It is a group of hereditary, microcytic, hemolytic anemias characterized by defective hemoglobin synthesis. Alpha thalassemia is especially common among people of African, Mediterranean, or Southeast Asian descent. Beta thalassemia is more common in people of Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, Southeast Asian, or Indian descent. The symptoms are indicative of an anemic condition, bone marrow hyperplasia, hemolysis and, due to having carried out iron overload through many transfusions.

Treatment for anemia

The treatment to overcome this condition depends on the type that the patient presents:

  • Iron deficiency: consumption of medicines and foods rich in iron. You should take antacids or antibiotics that contain tetracycline.
  • Hemolytic: treatment is modified according to the cause that produced the disease.
  • Megaloblastic: this disease presents an absence of folates, therefore, it must be treated with the consumption of folic acid and folinic acid. Until reaching hematological levels.
  • Due to vitamin B12 deficiency: the prescribed treatment for this type is the consumption of ferrous sulfate. It should be ingested as directed by the treating physician. On the other hand, each box of pills brings instructions about the side effects of treatment such as: heartburn, nausea, diarrhea, constipation, etc. It should be taken with or shortly after meals to reduce side effects.
  • Pernicious: this should be treated with injections and consumption of B12 pills. In case of not paying attention, it can send problems in the heart and nerves.

Chronic diseases

  • Treatment of the underlying disease is essential, usually blood transfusions.
  • Sickle-cell anaemia.
  • In this case, blood transfusions and bone marrow transplants, consumption of vitamins and chemotherapy.
  • Idiopathic aplastic anemia.
  • Consumption of multivitamins, blood and stem cell transfusions.

Thalassemia

  • Typically, red blood cell transfusions with or without iron chelation therapy, splenectomy if splenomegaly is visualized, allogeneic stem cell transplantation if possible.
  • Patients with beta-thalassemia intermedia should be monitored for transfusions so as not to overload them with iron. However, suppression of abnormal hematopoiesis by periodic red blood cell transfusion may help severe cases.

Recommended diet for patients with Anemia

Within the foods for anemia, those rich in protein, iron, folic acid and B complex vitamins should be consumed, such as meat, eggs, fish and vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, asparagus, peas, chickpeas and brown rice, these contain high levels of folate.

The body also needs small amounts of vitamin C, riboflavin, and copper to make red blood cells, that is, between them and food, they will stimulate the production of red blood cells.

Frequently Asked Questions about Anemia

What is anemia?

It is a disease that refers to the decrease or deficiency of red blood cells in the blood, which causes that oxygen is not being transferred to the different organs of the body.

Why does it give anemia?

Because the bone marrow does not work well when it is low in iron, that is, it cannot produce hemoglobin, that is why you must have a diet rich in foods that contain iron.

What is the best vitamin for anemia?

The best vitamin for anemia is B12, however, there are other essential nutrients such as folate, iron and vitamin B6.

How do I know if I have anemia?

A blood test should be performed where the amount of red and white blood cells and platelets that are present is verified and will show if anemia is present or not. Symptoms are also an indicator such as: headache, fatigue, dizziness, rapid heart rate, paleness and difficulty breathing.

How dangerous is anemia?

If it is treated properly and on time, it is not dangerous, but it must be considered that it is sometimes an indication of the presence of a serious disease.