What is anemia?
Do you frequently feel fatigued or depleted of energy? Do your children have trouble focusing? Do your legs ever cramp up? Can’t sleep despite being exhausted? It can be anemia.
Anemia meaning a condition of lack of red blood cells that carry oxygen to all body tissues or low levels of hemoglobin (Hb). In India, as per study, more than 50% of children and women of child bearing age are suffering from Anemia.
The amount of hemoglobin determines how severe an anemia is. Red blood cells contain the protein hemoglobin, which carries oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. Since iron is needed for hemoglobin synthesis, the majority of anemic individuals also have an iron deficiency.
What are the symptoms and signs of Anaemia?
Fatigue and loss of energy
Unusually rapid heartbeat, particularly with exercise
Shortness of breath and headache, particularly with exercise
What are the causes of Anaemia?
As per research, in India, major cause of anemia is Iron deficiency and Vitamin B12 deficiency (Poor nutrition).
Other causes are,
- Pregnancy-related anemia
- Active bleeding like piles, ulcers
- Chronic diseases such as cancer, kidney diseases
- Genetic conditions
- Drug-induced anemia
What are the types of anemia?
- Iron deficiency anemia – The most common type of anemia is Iron deficiency anemia. It is also the most common type of anemia among women and children. In India many pregnant women suffer from iron deficiency anemia. In this anemia, your body does not have enough iron to carry oxygen through your blood to all parts of your body. It leads to fatigue, giddiness, craving for paper, ice, or dirt/mud/chalk (a condition called pica, common in children), Soreness of the mouth with cracks at the corners, smooth or sore tongue.
- Vitamin B12 deficiency anemia (Pernicious anaemia) – It is the second most common type of anemia in India. Poor nutrition is the major reason behind this type of anemia. It causes a tingling, “pins and needles” sensation in the hands or feet, loss of sense of touch, an unsteady, wobbly gait and difficulty walking.
- Aplastic anaemia– In this anemia, your body cannot produce enough red blood cells because of damaged bone marrow.
- Hemolytic anemia – This anemia occurs when your body itself damages your red blood cells. It causes Jaundice (yellow skin and eyes), Brown or red urine, Leg ulcers, failure to thrive in infancy, symptoms of gallstones, seizures, abdominal pain.
- Sickle-cell anemia- This is a genetic disorder that affects your red blood cells. It can lead to extreme joint pain, growth retardation in children.
- Chronic disease related anemia – Anemia can be seen in some chronic conditions like piles, cancer, chronic metal (lead) poisoning, chronic malabsorption in intestines. Underlying cause has to be treated to rectify anemia in such conditions.
What are the common tests to diagnose anemia?
- Hemoglobin level – It is the most basic blood test to find out hemoglobin levels in the body. Normal levels of Hb – For men, 13.2 to 16.6 grams per deciliter. And for women, 11.6 to 15 grams per deciliter. Anything below the normal levels of Hb indicates, Anemia.
Cost of Hemoglobin test in Pune is ₹120 (at PRO diagnostics)
- CBC – Complete Blood Count provides other parameters of blood along with Hemoglobin – Red blood cell count, White blood cell count, Hematocrit, MCV (size of RBCs), platelet count etc.
Peripheral smear of blood- Pathologist determines the morphology of red blood cells (size, shape) which helps in determining the type of anemia.
Cost of CBC / Hemogram test in Pune is ₹250 (at PRO diagnostics)
- Iron levels – include serum iron and serum ferritin Transferrin level and total iron-binding capacity tests also measure iron levels.
- Other tests – Other tests like Vitamin B12 (₹700) level, Hemoglobin electrophoresis also help to determine the type of anemia.
What is the treatment of anaemia?
The best diet plan for anemia includes food rich in iron and other vitamins. Here we enlisted some essential foods which can help you deal with anemia –
1: Green leafy vegetables: Green, dark vegetables are the best source of iron. They may include –
- Collard greens
- Swiss chard
Some of them, Swiss chard or collard greens, are also rich in folate and can be useful in folate deficiency anemia. You can have vitamin C-rich foods such as oranges while eating these green vegetables as vitamin C may increase the absorption of iron.
2 Nuts and Seeds:
Many nuts and seeds are nutritiously dense foods that contain a tremendous amount of iron. You can eat them raw or roasted as they have the same amount of iron. You can eat them as a snack or sprinkle them on a salad. Nuts and seeds may include –
- Pumpkin seeds
- Sunflower seeds
- Hemp seeds
3: Lean meat and poultry foods
Lean meat and chicken breast contain a high amount of iron, almost 22% of your recommended dose. To enhance iron absorption, pair it with vitamin C-rich vegetables such as spinach, tomatoes, and red peppers. Liver meat is also the rich source of iron.
Seafood such as oysters is one of the best ways to supplement your diet if you are anemic. Most of the fish contain iron, especially shellfishes such as oysters, clams, and crabs. Other types of fishes –
- Fresh or canned tuna
- Fresh or canned salmon
Beans are the most inexpensive and best source of iron for vegetarians. Some iron-rich beans are as follows –
- Kidney beans
- Black beans
In moderate to severe cases of anaemia medications are required such as iron supplements, Vitamin B12 and folic acid tablets, and in many severe cases blood transfusion is also given to replenish Hb levels faster. In chronic conditions, underlying cause has to be treated to anemia.
So to summaries, if you are feeling fatigued, dizzy, light headed many times during the day, consult your doctor and get your blood tested for hemoglobin.
About Author -
Dr. Chaitrangi Paranjape, MD Pathology, she is the owner and chief pathologist at PRO diagnostics , Pune. She has more than 10 years of experience and she has worked with many renowned diagnostic centers and medical institutes including Metropolis, Nucleus, Pioneer, Sunrise diagnostics, Bharti Vidyapeeth Medical college, Pravara Institute of Medical Sciences. Currently she is also working at Institute of Infectious Diseases. At PRO diagnostics, with the use of modern technology, experienced phlebotomists and technicians, quick, accurate reporting is provided. At PRO diagnostics, all types of pathology tests of blood, urine, sputum are provided at best rates. Home sample collection facility is also available.
To book your tests, call at +91-9856620620 or www.prodiagnosticsindia.com
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes. Home Collection Services for blood samples are available at Pro Diagnostics, Pathology Lab.
A doctor’s prescription is not mandatory to get the test done. You can also consult our expert doctor before you undergo any tests. Call us at 9856620620 for doctor consultation.
Dr. Chaitrangi Paranjape, is the chief consultant pathologist at Pro Diagnostics Pathology Lab Pune. She has more than 10+ years of experience in pathology.
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