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What is Anemia? Know Its Definition, Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

What is Anemia? Know Its Definition, Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

Despite it being a very common problem, especially among women, many people do not know what is anemia. In India, every third woman is a victim of anemia. Anemia is a health condition that occurs when a person lacks red blood cells. Low hemoglobin and hematocrit are the symptoms of anemia shown in the blood test. Red blood cells are responsible for carrying the hemoglobin protein in the various parts of the body. This way, it makes the body secure enough oxygen as well. Low hemoglobin can lead to another symptom of anemia that is lack of oxygen. This is why other anemia symptoms include fatigue, weakness, shortness of breath, etc.

Mostly women, children, and people who have long-term diseases like cancer suffer from anemia. The anemia symptoms or the signs of anemia in children can be genetically transferred; in women, it can be menstrual blood loss, and in others, anemia symptoms are a cause of some chronic illness. The types of anemia are different, ranging from moderate to severe, and the treatment for anemia depends on the intensity only. Anemia during pregnancy is mild and treatable. However, what causes anemia otherwise can be some underlying health condition. Among treatments from anemia are medicines and some naturally treating Ayurvedic supplements. One of them is Shilajit Resin. The high content of iron and humic acid makes Shilajit Resin an outstanding supplement to treat anemia. Now that we have understood the anemia definition let us now proceed to inquire more about the disease. 

Causes Of Anemia

Symptoms of anemia are seen when the body lacks red blood cells and hemoglobin. Heavy bleeding is one great anemia symptom as well as cause. The inability of the body to preserve the produced red blood cells is also one of the causes of anemia. The body produces three types of blood cells — the white blood cells to fight against infection, platelets to prevent blood clotting, and red blood cells responsible for carrying oxygen throughout the body.

Red blood cells have hemoglobin in them — it is an iron-rich protein that gives the red color to the blood. Hemoglobin allows the red blood cells to carry oxygen from the lungs to other parts of the body and also carries carbon dioxide from all parts of the body to the lungs for it to be exhaled. This is why lack of it an anemia symptom.

The body produces all the blood cells regularly in the bone marrow. Bone marrow is a soft substance found within the cavities of many large bones. The body requires nutrients like iron, folate, vitamin B12, etc., to produce red blood cells and hemoglobin and not encourage anemia symptoms. Protein and iron-rich foods such as meat, legumes, green vegetables, dry fruits, etc., need to be fed to the person who suffers from anemia symptoms. Let us now look at the causes of anemia according to the type and different categories.

Iron Deficiency in The Body

One of the most prominent causes of anemia is an iron deficiency in the body- The bone marrow requires iron to produce hemoglobin. Without enough iron, the body cannot make adequate hemoglobin for the red blood cells.

Pregnant women are prone to this type of anemia if they do not take proper iron supplements. Causes of anemia of this category can be heavy bleeding, cancer, ulcer, and regular use of pain relievers that cause stomach lining inflammation leading to blood loss. These can result in some problematic anemia symptoms.

Vitamin Deficiency

Vitamin deficiency is another cause of anemia. Vitamin B-12 produces healthy red blood cells in the body. Lack of vitamins can hamper iron production. Some people who consume B-12 are unable to absorb the vitamin. This may lead them to vitamin deficiency anemia or pernicious anemia.

Inflammation is One of The Causes of Anemia

When inflammation is among the causes of anemia- Some diseases like cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, HIV/AIDS, Crohn’s disease, Kidney diseases, and other chronic inflammatory diseases — can obstruct the production of red blood cells and show signs of anemia via aggravating these diseases.

Also See: List of Anti-Inflammatory Foods

Aplastic Anemia

Aplastic anemia– This rare and life-threatening cause of anemia occurs when the body cannot produce enough red blood cells. Causes of anemia of this category include infections, autoimmune diseases, medications, and exposure to toxic chemicals.

One of The Causes of Anemia is Bone Marrow

Diseases like leukemia and myelofibrosis can become a cause of anemia by affecting blood production in the bone marrow. 

Hemolytic Anemia

This type of anemias develops when red blood cells are rapidly destroyed then the body can produce them. Certain blood disorders can increase the rate of red blood cell destruction. This type has some serious anemia symptoms, especially in pregnant women. 

Sickle Cell Anemia

This cause of anemia in this situation is inheritance. It develops when a defective form of hemoglobin forces red blood cells to assume a shape of the abnormal crescent (sickle). These irregular blood cells die early, resulting in an acute red blood cells shortage.

Symptoms of Anemia- 

The symptoms of anemia can vary depending upon the causes of anemia or type of anemia. At times the signs of anemia can be something normal or very mild. Symptoms of anemia occur when the blood cells start reducing in the body. Below given are some prominent symptoms of anemia-

  • Headache.
  • Dizziness, drowsiness, feeling of passing out. 
  • Rapid or unusual heartbeat.
  • Joint pain, chest ache, abdominal pain, etc. 
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Stunted growth in teenagers.
  • Pale or yellow skin.
  • Fatigue and weakness.
  • Cold hands and feet. 
  • Brittle nails.
  • Heart issues.
  • Jaundice.
  • Constipation.
  • Fluctuating blood pressure. 

Also See: What are Normal and Healthy Blood Oxygen Levels

Diagnosis and Treatment for Anemia

Doctors run tests such as Complete Blood Count (CBC) to check the levels of blood cells in the body like red blood cells and hemoglobin. They are to check the anemia symptoms and find out the causes of anemia. To detect anemia and causes of anemia, the past medical history of the patient and his family has to be understood by the doctor. Tests to reach roots of anemia symptoms and causes of anemia are Blood Smear or differential count of white blood cells, it checks the shape of the red blood cells, and looks for cells that are not familiar. On the other hand, Reticulocyte count checks for stunted or immature red blood cells in the body. 

The treatment for anemia depends on the type of anemia. There are a lot of causes of anemia, so there treatments available accordingly.

  • For Aplastic Anemia, depending upon the anemia symptoms or severity of the disease, one might need medication, blood transfer or transfusions (in which person who has anemia gets blood from another person), or bone marrow transplant (in a donor’s stem cells are required for the anemia patient).
  • For Hemolytic Anemia, a patient with anemia symptoms might need medicines that will uphold the immune system. A Vascular problem specialist might help the anemia patient in this situation.
  • For heavy blood loss, one might have to undergo surgery to stop the bleeding. People with iron deficiency anemia probably have to take iron supplements and eat an iron-rich diet to do away with anemia symptoms.
  • To treat Sickle Cell Anemia, folic acid supplements, pain killers, intermittent antibiotics, or oxygen therapy are provided to the anemia patient. A drug known as hydroxyurea (Droxia, Hydrea, Siklos) is usually prescribed to decrease sickle cell anemia symptoms. L-glutamine oral powder (Endari) can lower anemia symptoms and protect against a condition known as acute chest syndrome. 
  • Thalassemia is a blood condition that generally does not require any treatment. Still, in a few severe cases, one might have to go through surgery, bone marrow transplant, or blood transfusions to keep anemia symptoms at bay.

Also See: Tips for How to Increase Blood Oxygen Level Naturally

Prevention is Better Than Cure: Add Nutrition to Avoid Anemia Symptoms and Signs of Anemia- 

If a person deals with moderate signs of anemia, they can easily get away with it by adding a nutritional diet and a healthy routine into the lifestyle. Acute or chronic anemia symptoms, on the other hand, require serious medical attention along with a nutritious diet. Let us now see what one can add to the daily diet to avoid anemia symptoms. 

  • Iron– Iron-rich food supplements include beef, goat meat, beans, iron-fortified cereals, lentils, green leafy vegetables, dry fruits, and Ayurvedic supplements like Shilajit Resin.
  • Folate– This nutrient is a synthetic form of folic acid, which people can find in fruits, fruit juices, green leafy vegetables, kidney beans, green peas, peanuts, and enriched grain food products such as bread, cereal, rice, pasta, etc.
  • Vitamin B-12– Foods rich in vitamin B-12 are meat, fortified cereal, dairy products, soy products, etc.
  • Vitamin C– Foods rich in vitamin C are citrus-rich fruits and juices, broccoli, peppers, tomatoes, melons, berries such as strawberries, cranberries, etc. These foods also stimulate iron absorption in the body.

Also See: Home Remedies to Get Regular Periods Naturally

FAQs About Anemia

Q.1. Can a person die from Anemia? 

Ans. Some inherited anemias like Sickle Cell Anemia may lead to life-threatening complications. Severe and quick blood loss may result in acute anemia, which can be fatal and lead to death. 

Q.2. What to do if you have Anemia?

Ans. Depending upon the type and intensity of Anemia, you can know what to do to treat anemia. If it is chronic, then you have to consult a doctor immediately and follow the prescribed treatment. If you have mild anemia, you can treat it by adding the recommended nutrients to the diet and doing exercise to follow a routine-based lifestyle. 

Q.3. Can Anemia cause headaches?

Ans. Yes. In fact, headache is a prominent symptom of anemia. 

Q.4. How long does it take to recover from anemia?

Ans. Many people start to recover within a few days of starting the treatment. Even though people feel better, they have to keep taking the recommended medicines for months to build up the body’s iron reserves. Sometimes it may take up to 6 months to treat anemia with iron supplements so that iron levels get back to normal.

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