Red blood cells play a very important role in carrying oxygen for the whole body and use a particular protein called hemoglobin. Anemia means that the amount of red blood cells or the amount of hemoglobin is lower than the normal. As the output of blood cells is either very less or there has been an increased loss of blood cells which causes the deficiency. Red blood cells are manufactured in the bone marrow with the life expectancy of four months. The concoction to produce red blood cells is iron, vitamin B12 and folic acid and the lack of participation by any of those leads to anemia.
This lack or deficiency of red blood cells makes them work harder and exert more to get the required amount of oxygen around the body. This is a chain reaction, as the blood cells are less the provision of oxygen to the body is less. This makes lungs and heart work harder to get oxygen into the blood and due to which there is difficulty in breathing. Heavy exercise, climbing stairs, which are some of the very menial jobs which gets the anemic person exhausted. This is very common among in females as during menstruation as well as during pregnancy there is loss of blood which makes women more prone to being anemic.
Some of the causes of anemia
* Heavy periods during puberty and pregnancy
* Diet -low in iron, vitamin B12 or folic acid.
* Internal bleeding- an ulcer or a tumor
* Blood diseases – leukemia
* Infections, such as malaria and septicemia, which reduces the life span of red blood cells.
* Inherited disorders – such as thalassaemia or sickle cell disease
* Blood loss – due to trauma, surgery, cancer, peptic ulcer, heavy menstruation, bowel cancer or frequent blood donations
* Chronic diseases – such as rheumatoid arthritis and tuberculosis
* Hormone disorders – such as hypothyroidism
* Bone marrow disorders – such as cancer
* Certain drugs – including alcohol, antibiotics
Symptoms which are very visible in anemic people
* Tiredness, fatigue
* Frequent headaches
* Racing heart or palpitations
* Lack of concentration
* Cracked or reddened tongue
* Loss of appetite due to reduced sense of taste
* Strange food cravings
The best way to protect one is to have a very healthy iron rich diet. This diet would ensure the steady manufacture of red blood cells. The diet should have more iron, folic acid as well as vitamin B12. Vegetarians can have vitamin B12 supplements to avoid deficiency. Some of the normal diet taken should be in proportion with high fiber varieties and rich in vitamins and B complex. There should also be inclusion of fruits and leafy vegetables.
Very few tests are required to diagnose whether the person is anemic by getting the blood test done which would signify the number and size of red blood cells. Anemia which is caused by ulcers, tumors has to be treated by the doctor by surgery or the necessary dose of medicines should be taken by the patient. Even though the thought of just weakness may not very challenging, but if this disease is not treated on time there are chances of you suffering from angina or pain while walking, sitting or standing. The body become very weak and is unable to fight even the smallest infections like cold and cough.