Anemia, how to prevent it

Published: 08th December 2009
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Anaemia is derived from a greek word anaimia "lack of blood".

DEFINATION: Anaemia is defined as decrease in normal number of red blood cells (RBCs) or less than the normal quantity of hemoglobin in the blood.

The normal level of hemoglobin is generally different in males and females. For men, anemia is typically defined as hemoglobin level of less than 13.5 gram/100ml and in women as hemoglobin of less than 12.0 gram/100ml.


Many medical conditions cause anemia. Common causes of anemia include the following:

• active bleeding

• Anemia of chronic diseases

• poor nutrition

• Alcoholism

• Other less common causes of anemia include medication side effects, thyroid problems, cancers, liver disease, other genetic disorders, lead poisoning, AIDS, and bleeding disorders.


Iron deficiency anemia: The bone marrow needs iron to make red blood cells. Iron plays an important role in the proper structure of the hemoglobin molecule. If iron intake is limited or inadequate anaemia may occur.

Pernicious Anemia: anemia because of vitamin B12 deficiency.

Sickle cell anemia. Abnormal hemoglobin molecules may cause problems in the integrity of the red blood cell structure and they may become crescent-shaped cells called sickle cells.So,named as sickle cell anemia.

Aplastic anemia: decreased production of all blood cells due to viral infections leads to aplastic anaemia.

Hemolytic anemia: The normal red blood cell shape is important for its function. Hemolytic anemia is a type of anemia in which the red blood cells rupture (known as hemolysis) and become dysfunctional.


• Fatigue

• weakness

• shortness of breath

• lightheadedness

• palpitations

• looking pale


• chest pain

• dizziness

• fainting

• rapid heart rate


• Change in stool color

• rapid breathing

• pale or cold skin

• yellow skin called jaundice

• low blood pressure


Common tests are

• Complete blood picture

• Hemoglobin percentage

• Peripheral blood smear



• iron - in meat, liver, green vegetables, dried fruit, pulses and fortified foods such as some breakfast cereals and bread.

• vitamin B12 - in meat, milk, cheese, eggs and fortified foods such as some breakfast cereals and bread. It is not found in vegetables.

• folate - in liver, yeast extract, green leafy vegetables (such as peas and spinach), oranges, milk and fortified foods such as some breakfast cereals and bread.

Eat more leafy vegetables and more iron rich food.Dr Geeta associated with medical billing training

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