Anemia is a well-known disease since it spreads to too many people, especially people on an unhealthy diet, and to people on a diet that doesn't have enough nutrients. Sometimes it is a temporary or persistent condition, and it can be severe or moderate. But sometimes the cause of it is hereditary factors, and there are many ways in which anemia is treated, as it can treated with medications or prescriptions. We will review everything related to anemia.
What is Anemia?
Anemia is the medical term for the condition in which the red blood cells in the body are few; therefore, there aren't enough red blood cells to transport oxygen to the body's tissues. It associated with a deficiency of one or more types of measurements related to red blood cells, as follows:
- The concentration of hemoglobin (HGB): It is the primary transporter of oxygen in the blood.
- Hematocrit (HCT): is the percentage of the volume of red blood cells from the entire blood in the body.
- RBC count: The number of red blood cells present, not in the volume of blood as a whole, but in a specific volume that predefined by the volume of blood.
- The definition of anemia according to the previous measurements in which the hemoglobin values differ in terms of gender, whether male or female, as follows:
- Males: The values in males are less than 13.5 g / dL, which is for hemoglobin concentration, and values are less than 40% for hematocrit.
- Females: wherein women, the concentration of values is less than 12 g / dL for hemoglobin concentration and values for less than 36% for hematocrit.
- The values of hemoglobin differ from person to person according to the difference in their genetics or lifestyle, as follows:
- Smokers: Smokers have a more significant percentage of hematocrit than those who don’t smoke. Therefore, when performing laboratory blood tests to detect anemia, the true percentage doesn't appear.
- Highlanders: where studies have shown that people who live in elevated places far from the sea surface hemoglobin values are higher than those who live in places close to the sea surface.
- People with chronic diseases: Chronic illnesses cause hemoglobin values to be lower, although they are not evidence of anemia at all times.
- Athletes: Although athletes have normal hemoglobin values. They differ from generally accepted normal values.
Symptoms differ from person to person, and according to the pathology of each patient. where signs of anemia vary according to the degree of severity of the disease. Some people who have simple anemia don't have any symptoms, and some people who have severe anemia have the following symptoms:
- Feeling of fatigue constantly and general weakness.
- Pale skin tone.
- They experience rapid heart palpitations, but they are irregular.
- Inability to breathe normally.
- Fast heartbeat with irregularity.
- Persistent dizziness.
shortness of breath
- Anemia also causes headaches.
- Pain in the chest area.
- The desire to sleep continuously.
- Feeling cold most of the time on the hands and feet.
- In some severe cases of anemia, a myocardial infarction occurs.
It is worth noting that anemia begins simply, and with neglect in treatment, the problem worsens, and the disease becomes more acute.
Types of blood cells
It is known that the blood consists of plasma and cells. There are three types of blood cells that we can identify as follows:
- Leucocytes: Their function is to fight off infection.
- Platelet / Thrombocyte: The function of these cells is to help blood clot after it has been infected.
- Erythrocytes: The function of these cells is to carry oxygen from the lung by flowing blood to the brain and all vital organs in the body, and also to tissues.
What is the use of hemoglobin in the body?
- Hemoglobin is found in red blood cells, which is a protein filled with red iron that causes blood to appear red.
- Hemoglobin helps red blood cells transport oxygen from the lungs to deliver them to all parts of the body. It also helps in removing carbon dioxide from the body into the lungs for exhalation.
- Most blood cells with red blood cells are produced in the bone marrow (Bone marrow), which is a red spongy substance; this substance is found inside the large bones of the body.
- The body needs iron, protein, and various vitamins to produce hemoglobin so that it doesn't develop anemia. It also needs some hormones. and one of these hormones is a hormone produced by the kidneys called the hormone Erythropoietin (EPO). where the kidneys secrete this hormone so that it helps in the production of red blood cells. The cause of anemia is that the body does not produce enough red blood cells, or the reason is that the body damages these cells and quickly wastes them.
- It is worth noting that the red blood cells are aged between 120 and 120.
Types of anemia
Anemia types vary according to the cause of anemia, including the following types:
- Iron deficiency anemia: This type affects about 3% of adults, and the purpose of this type is the iron deficiency that the bone marrow needs to produce hemoglobin.
- Vitamin Deficiency: The body needs many other vitamins besides iron, one of these vitamins is folic acid, and it needs vitamin B12, to be able to produce a sufficient amount of hemoglobin. Therefore we must follow a healthy diet that contains these elements so that the body can produce hemoglobin with enough quantity. Some people suffer from a big problem, which is that their bodies cannot absorb vitamin B12 completely.
- Aplastic anemia: Although this type considered one of the rare types, it is hazardous, and the leading cause of this type is the inability of the bone marrow to produce blood cells. It is worth noting that infection with this type is not known to caused in many cases. And some possibilities suggest that it related to problems related to the immune system.
- Hemolysis anemia: Hemolytic anemia occurs as a result of the destruction of a large number of red blood cells. Which the bone marrow unable to produce in the same amount or more.
- Sickle cell anemia: This type of anemia is called hereditary anemia, because it is transmitted due to the presence of a family member with anemia, and sickle cell anemia is known to be very severe. The reason for this type of anemia occurs as a result of some disturbances in hemoglobin, which works to make red blood cells resemble a sickle. When the red blood cells turn to resemble the sickle, this leads to their atrophy and early death, which causes them to decrease significantly. It known that most people who infected with this type in the Arab and African countries and the Mediterranean countries.
Types related to certain diseases
- Infection with some diseases: Some diseases affect red blood cells and damage large quantities of them, causing anemia, and among these diseases are some disorders of the immune system. Immune system disorders can cause the body to produce antibodies to red blood cells, causing them to become damaged early. Some antibiotics that are used to treat certain types of infection also destroy red blood cells.
- Anemia due to bone marrow disease: Some diseases affect the bone marrow and lead to anemia, such as leukemia or myelodysplasia. There are some effects such as cancerous or semi-cancerous disorders, some types of cancer that attack the blood and bone marrow. such as lymphoma, and other diseases, such as multiple myeloma.
- Anemia due to chronic disease: Chronic diseases impair the production of red blood cells in the body. leading to anemia, such as cancer or AIDS that weakens immunity and kidney failure.
- Some other types: There are other types of anemia. but it is rare to have it, Thalassemia, and there are some types that are the leading cause of infection. There are some defects in hemoglobin, and sometimes people develop anemia, and the purpose of infection isn't clear.
Some causes are factors of anemia, including the following:
- Malnutrition: When the diets we eat are poor with some essential vitamins. Such as iron, folic acid, and other elements that the body needs to produce a large number of red blood cells. Anemia occurs.
- Bowel dysfunction and disorders: Dysfunction, bowel disorders, or other bowel diseases (Crohn's disease, Celiac disease). Causes the inability to absorb all the food compounds in the small intestine. And when you do an operation to remove or treat the part that suffers from disorders in the intestine. The matter becomes more aggravated and a shortage of some food compounds, which causes anemia.
- Menstrual cycle: Women lose a lot of blood during their menstrual period. And when blood is lost, they lose a large amount of iron with it, which makes them more susceptible than men to anemia.
- Pregnancy: The pregnant woman, amount of iron present in her body. Is distributed to a more significant amount of blood. Some vitamins and nutrients that are lacking from her body as a result of supplying the fetus with food, all of these factors work on anemia. Also, after the birth, the woman loses a lot of blood with a large amount of iron, which makes her more vulnerable than men to anemia.
- Genetic factors: Hereditary anemia caused by exposure of a family member to anemia. Thus transmitted through heredity, such as sickle cell anemia.
There are some complications that people get as a result of these medical conditions, and we know when anemia is dangerous, including the following complications:
- Heart Disorders: Major disorders occur in the work of the heart, such as increased heartbeat, which is called arrhythmias (Arrhythmia).
- Heart failure: The heart needs anemia to pump more blood to compensate for the deficiency in oxygen caused by anemia, which sometimes causes heart failure to occur.
- Excessive fatigue: As the person with anemia can't carry out their daily activities, he feels tired quickly, and sometimes he is unable to complete his work.
- Nerve damage: Nerve damage occurs as a result of anemia, which is accompanied by a deficiency in vitamin B12, which is one of the most critical factors that significantly affect the nerves.
- Impact on the brain: As a vitamin B12 deficiency significantly affects the cognitive condition of people and causes negative changes.
- Death: As in some cases where severe conditions such as sickle cell anemia, the disease exacerbate, leading to death in some cases.
How to diagnose the problem
The doctor diagnoses it by asking some questions to the patient to know his medical history. He also examines the entire body to discover the symptoms of anemia that appear on the body. Also, the diagnosis made through laboratory tests and blood tests. The work of a comprehensive blood count test (CBC - Complete blood count), the concentration of red blood cells in the blood. And hemoglobin concentration also known.
We can review the natural values of people according to gender and age, as follows:
- Red blood cells: the usual proportions of an adult between 38.8% and 50% for males, 34.9%, and 44.5% for females.
- Hemoglobin: the usual proportions of an adult between 13.5 grams and 17.5 grams per dL for males, and between 12 grams and 15.5 grams per dL for females.
- Sometimes blood cells examined under a microscope to discover other causes. Such as size, shape, or color.
- After these checks. The doctor can make a more accurate diagnosis, such as detecting anemia caused by a deficiency in the iron element, and the red blood cells are pale and smaller in size. In the event of a blood deficiency resulting from a lack of vitamins, the red blood cells are more extensive, but the number is small.
Treatment for anemia varies according to the cause of it, and we will see therapy for each case:
- Iron deficiency anemia treatment: in this case, the doctor prescribes some vitamins that contain iron. And it also advised eating some foods rich in iron.
- Anemia caused by vitamin B12 deficiency treatment : Here, the doctor prescribes for treatment some of the injections that taken periodically. Which injections that contain vitamin B12. People continue these injections for an extended period and sometimes for life.
- Treatment for those caused by chronic diseases: The doctor does not prescribe a specific medication. As each treatment varies according to the type of illness that the patient suffers from.
- Aplastic anemia treatment: For the treatment of this type of anemia most of the time. The blood transferred to the patient intravenously (Intravenous feeding). To replace the body with damaged blood cells and lost new blood cells.
- Treatment of anemia as a result of a disease in the bone marrow: one of the most dangerous types of anemia. And therapy. In this case, carried out through chemotherapy. In the most severe cases, a bone marrow transplant required.
- Hemolytic anemia treatment: The treatment done here by preventing the patient from taking medications that affect blood. While taking drugs that suppress the immune system in the body that attacks red blood cells, and treat infections.
- Treatment of sickle cell anemia: Treatment carried out in this case through continuous monitoring of the level of oxygen. With the prescribing of analgesics, and an increase in fluid intake.
Food that helps treat anemia
Some nutritious foods help in treating anemia, when they are persistent, including the following foods:
- Beets: It is one of the most common types of food that helps increase blood. Indeed, doctors have become a patient because of its effective results in treating anemia. Beets contain antioxidants, many fibers, and a group of vitamins. The beets also provide a large percentage of amino acids and organic. And it cleanses the body of toxins and has a great ability to increase the percentage of oxygen in the body.
- The black Honey: It contains a large amount of iron. This helps significantly to increase the number of red blood cells. And every 100 grams of honey contains 6 milligrams of iron.
- Nuts: It works to treat anemia by increasing the proportion of hemoglobin and increasing red blood cells in the body. So most doctors recommend eating nuts to treat anemia.
- Seafood: Seafood known to have a great ability to treat anemia. Such as shellfish, every 100 grams of which contains 28 milligrams of iron.
- Red meat: Although red meat helps treat anemia. It should not overused until we aren't exposed to other diseases. And it worth noting that every 100 grams of meat contain 2.7 milligrams of iron.
- Leafy vegetables: Leafy vegetables contain a large percentage of iron. Especially dark leafy vegetables such as spinach, as every 100 grams of spinach contains 3.6 milligrams of iron.
- Organ meat: It distinguished by its significant iron content, which prescribed for patients who lose blood for any reason. Examples are the meat of liver organs and hearts. Every 100 grams of this meat contains 6.5 irons.
- Legumes: Legumes contain a large amount of iron and help treat anemia greatly. Like a cup of lentils that includes 6.6 of iron.
How to prevent anemia
We can prevent some types of anemia because there are types that we cannot avoid. Such as hereditary ones. And there are some types that we can prevent such as iron deficiency anemia and others as follows:
- We can prevent iron deficiency caused by a deficiency of iron and vitamins. By eating foods that contain iron, folic acid, and vitamin B12.
- Eat iron-containing foods and supplements, especially for children whose bodies consume a large percentage of iron.
- For women during pregnancy and fertility, must be provided with iron supplements to prevent anemia.
- We must do blood tests on an ongoing basis to avoid anemia. Especially if there is someone in the family who has this disease.