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Anemia Information

Anemia is a condition where there is an abnormally low number of red blood cells circulating in the body. Anemia is a common blood disorder, affecting an estimated 3.4 million Americans. Anemia is not contagious, so you cannot catch it from someone who has it. Anemia, one of the more common blood disorders, occurs when the level of healthy red blood cells in the body becomes too low. Anemia can be temporary or long-term, and it can range from mild to severe. A common cause of anemia is not having enough iron. The recommended amount of iron you need each day increases during pregnancy from about 18 milligrams (mg) per day to 27 mg per day. Most pregnant women get this amount from a combination of eating foods that contain iron and taking a prenatal vitamin. Women and people with chronic diseases are at increased risk of the condition. Many forms of anemia exist, each with its own cause. Anemia, like a fever, is a symptom of disease that requires investigation to determine the underlying etiology. Often, practicing physicians overlook mild anemia. This is similar to failing to seek the etiology of a fever. Anemias can also be caused by such conditions as external bleeding, chronic disease, pregnancy, alcoholism, bleeding disorders, infection and hereditary conditions.

The symptoms of anemia may resemble other blood disorders or medical problems. Normocytic anemia usually starts slowly. It doesn't have many signs at first. Among many other causes, anemia  can result from inherited disorders, nutritional problems (such as an iron or vitamin deficiency), infections, some kinds of cancer, or exposure to a drug or toxin. The three main classes of anemia include excessive blood loss (acutely such as a hemorrhage or chronically through low-volume loss), excessive blood cell destruction ( hemolysis ) or deficient red blood cell production (ineffective hematopoiesis ). Anemia is a condition where there is a lower than normal number of red blood cells in the blood, usually measured by a decrease in the amount of hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is the oxygen-carrying part of red blood cells. It gives these blood cells their red color. There are many different treatments for anemia, including increasing dietary intake of readily available iron and iron supplementation; the treatment is determined by the type of anemia that is diagnosed. In severe cases of anemia, a blood transfusion may be necessary.

Causes of Anemia

The common causes and risk factor's of Anemia include the following:

  • Medication reactions.
  • A history of an inherited anemia.
  • Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome.
  • Stomach Cancer.
  • Inherited blood disease.
  • Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.
  • Risk factors include heavy periods, pregnancy, older age, and diseases that cause anemia.
  • Vaginal Bleeding (Menstruation).

Symptoms of Anemia

Some sign and symptoms related to Anemia are as follows:

  • Fatigue and dizziness.
  • Chest pain.
  • Lightheadedness and a rapid heartbeat.
  • Low body temperature.
  • Brittle nails.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Weakness.
  • Numbness or coldness in your hands and feet.

Treatment of Anemia

Here is list of the methods for treating Anemia:

  • If your child does have iron deficiency anemia, the doctor may prescribe medication as drops (for infants) or as a liquid or tablet (for older children), and also may recommend adding certain iron-rich foods to your child's diet.
  • Folic acid and vitamin B12 supplements may be prescribed if the anemia is traced to a deficiency of these nutrients, although this is rare in children.
  • Antibiotics (if an infection is the causative agent).
  • You may need a bone marrow transplant if your bone marrow is diseased and can't make healthy blood cells.
  • In severe cases of anemia, a blood transfusion may be necessary.
  • Other therapies for anemia may include oxygen, fluids, fresh frozen plasma, platelet replacement and vasopressors (medication to elevate blood pressure).
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