Anaemia is a medical condition where the count of red blood cells or haemoglobin in blood is less than normal. The normal rate of haemoglobin in males is 13.5 grams / 100ml, and in females, it is 12.0 gram/100ml, although there are some variations on the basis of age as well.
Anaemia is caused due to conditions such as:
- A low rate of production of red blood cells in the body.
- Loss of blood red cells due to bleeding.
- Destruction of red blood cells because of a disease
- The side effect of a medication.
Anaemia can also be genetic, certain hereditary disorders lead to the impaired production of haemoglobin and can result in Anaemia. The severity of hereditary disorders can cause different levels of the disease.
Apart from the conditions mentioned above, some of the most common causes of Anaemia are:
- Deficiency of Vitamin B12: Low level of B12 absorption in the intestine may cause Anaemia. Strict veganism, severe alcoholism, folate deficiency and genetic disorders in the intestine (which hamper B12 absorption), may result in Pernicious Anaemia.
- Bone Marrow Disease: Anaemia is also caused because of bone marrow diseases like cancer in bone marrow, chemotherapy for treatment of cancers and certain kidney diseases which hamper the red blood cell production in the bone marrow.
- Side effect of medication: Anaemia can also be caused as a side effect of using some medications.
- HIV/AIDS: Anaemia can be caused by the Human Immuno Deficiency Virus (HIV) and the resultant Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS).
While some patients do not experience any symptoms of Anaemia, especially if it’s longstanding, these are some general symptoms suffered by most Anaemic individuals:
- Fatigue and a general feeling of disinterest. Patients also suffer from Malaise, which results in a constant feeling of being unwell.
- Patients suffering from chronic Anaemia can appear pale due to lower number of red blood cells.
- Anaemic patients may develop sudden palpitations or a feeling of heart racing.
- Most Anaemic patients complain of shortness of breath.
- Hair loss is the most common symptom observed in patients suffering from Anaemia. If you experience a sudden, unexplained increase in hair loss, consult your doctor for a blood test.
The cause of Anaemia should be determined accurately for successful treatment of the condition. The CBC (Complete Blood Cell) test helps determine the seriousness of the condition.
Doctors may advise further tests if the Anaemia is severe and chronic. Once the underlying conditions are determined, doctors can devise a proper treatment plan for the condition. While some minor conditions can be treated with simple iron and B12 supplements, certain serious causes may require continuous treatment.