Anaemia happens when the number of healthy red blood cells in your body is too low. Red blood cells carry oxygen to all of the body’s tissues, so a low red blood cell count indicates that the amount of oxygen in your blood is lower than it should be.
Anaemia is measured according to the amount of haemoglobin- the protein within red blood cells that carries oxygen from the lungs to the body’s tissues.For females standard level of haemoglobin is 12-16 gm/dl of blood ,for males its value is 13-18gm/dl and for children its standard value ranges between 11-16 gm/dl.
Anaemia signs and symptoms vary depending on the cause.Many of the symptoms are caused by decreased oxygen delivery to the body’s vital tissues and organs.If the anaemia is caused by a chronic disease, the disease can mask them, so that it might be detected by tests for another condition.
Depending on the cause , you might have no symptoms. Sign and symptoms, if they do occur, might include-
• Shortness of breath
• Pale or yellowish skin
• Dizziness or lightheadedness
• Irregular heartbeats
• Chest pain
• Cold hands and feet
• Unusual cravings, such as wanting to eat ice, clay or dirt
• Inflammation of tongue
• Brittle nails
• Iron deficiency anaemia-
It is the most common type of anaemia which is caused by a shortage of iron in your body.Without adequate iron, your body can’t produce enough haemoglobin for red blood cells.
• Vitamin deficiency anaemia –
Besides iron, your body needs folate and vitamin B12 to produce enough healthy red blood cells.A diet lacking in these and other key nutrients can cause decreased red blood cell production.
Also, some people who consume enough B-12 are not able to absorb the vitamin.This can lead to vitamin deficiency anaemia, also known as pernicious anaemia.
• Haemolytic anaemia-
This group of anaemia develops when red blood cells are destroyed faster than bone marrow can replace them.
• Sickle cell anaemia –
It is an inherited form of anaemia which is caused by a defective form of haemoglobin that forces red blood cells to assume an abnormal crescent (sickle) shape.
• Anaemia of chronic disease –
This may be due to cancer, kidney failure, rheumatoid arthritis,Crohn’s disease and other chronic inflammatory diseases which interfere with the production of red blood cell.
• Anaemia associated with bone marrow diseases –
A variety of diseases, such as leukemia and myelofibrosis, can cause anaemia by affecting blood production in your bone marrow.
• Aplastic anaemia –
It is a rare, life threatening anaemia, When your bone marrow does not produce enough red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets.
Dietary iron, vitamin B12 and folate are essential for red blood cells to mature in the body. Normally, 0-8 to 1% of the body’s red blood cells are replaced everyday, and the average lifespan for red cells is 100 to 120 days. Any process that has a negative effect on this balance between red blood cell production and destruction can cause anaemia.
Causes of anaemia are generally divided into those that decreasered blood cell production and those that increase red blood cell destruction.
Factors that decrease red blood cell production-
• Inadequate stimulation of red blood cell production by the hormone ery- thropoietin, which is produced by the kidneys
• Inadequate dietary intake of iron, vitamin B12 or folate
Factors that increase red blood cell destruction –
On the other hand, any disorder that destroys red blood cells at a faster rate than they are made, can cause anaemia. This typically occurs due to haemorrhaging, which can happen because of –
• Cirrhosis, which involves scarring of the liver
• Haemolysis, a rupture of red blood cells that can occur with some medications or Rh incompatibility
• Fibrosis within the bone marrow
• Excessive uterine bleeding
• Gastrointestinal lesions
• Disorders of the liver and spleen
• Genetic disorders such as –
° glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD)deficiency
° sickle cell anaemia
Risk Factors –
It can occur in people of all age,sex and ethnicities.
The following factors increase the risk of developing anaemia –
• having a diet low in vitamins, minerals and iron
• regularly taking medications that inflame the stomach lining such as ibuprofen
• having an intestinal disorder that affects the absorption of nutrients, such as Crohn’s disease
• having a family history of inherited anaemia, such as sickle cell anaemia or thalassemia
• being pregnant
• being between 6 month to 2 years old
• having been born prematurely
• having a chronic illness,such as AIDS ,diabetes, kidney disease, Cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, heartfailure or liver disease
• people over age 65 are at increased risk of anaemia
• Severe fatigue
• Pregnancy complications such as premature birth, post partum haemorrhage
• Heart problems such as arrhythmia, enlarged heart
A complete blood count (CBC) test will measure your red blood cells, haemoglobin and other pants of your blood.
Anaemia treatment depends on the cause.
• Iron deficiency anaemia –
Treatment for this form usually involves taking iron supplements and changing your diet.
• Vitamin deficiency anaemias –
Treatment for folic acid and vitamin C deficiency involves dietary supplements and increasing these nutrients in your diet.If your digestive system has trouble absorbing vitamin B12 from the food you eat, you might need vitamin B12 shots.
• Anaemia of chronic disease –
There’s no specific treatment for this type of anaemia.Doctors focus on treating the underlying disease.
• Haemolytic anaemia-
It includes avoiding suspect medications, treating infections and taking drugs that suppress your immune system, which could be attacking your red blood cells.
• Sickle cell anaemia-
Treatment might include oxygen, pain relievers and oral and intravenous fluids to reduce pain and prevent complications. Doctors might also recommend blood transfusions, folic acid supplements and antibiotics.
Most forms of thalassemia are mild and require no treatment. More severe form of thalassemia generally require blood transfusions, folic acid supplements, medication, removal of the spleen or a blood and bone marrow stem cell transplant.
Anaemia comes under Raspradoshaja vikara named as Pandu in Ayurveda.The pathology finds its root in the imbalance of Agni, which leads to the formation of Ama. This disruption is caused by Pitta dosha that is circulated around the body by aggravated Vata.The circulating Pitta imbalances the Pitta in the heart (Sadhaka Pitta) and liver (Ranjaka Pitta) which slackens and weighs down the tissues, especially affecting the blood, muscles and Ojas(Vital fluid) with its sharp and hot qualities.
Beneficial Herbs –
• Punarnava –
• Draksha –
• Haritaki –
Effective Medications –
• Navayas churna
• Punanava Mandur
• Swarna Makshika
• Kasis Bhasm
• Loha Bhasm
• Saptamrita Loha
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