Anemia, a Common Condition in Women
August 12, 2009
Anemia, also spelled as “anaemia” is an ancient Greek term meaning “lack of blood”. It occurs due to an abnormal decrease in the number of red blood cells in the blood. Decreased oxygen-binding ability of each haemoglobin molecule can also be a cause of anemia. Anemia can cause complications like fatigue and stress on bodily organs. The three main bodily mechanisms that produce anemia are excessive destruction of RBCs (red blood cells), blood loss and inadequate production of RBCs. Inherited disorders, nutritional problems, infections, some kinds of cancer, or exposure to a drug are the other causes of anemia.
The different types of anemia are -:
Iron Deficiency Anemia: Iron deficiency is the most common cause of anemia, especially in women. Iron deficiency causes insufficient hemoglobin production, which leads to anemia.
Sickle-cell Anemia: It is one of the hereditary causes of anemia. Sickle cell anemia produces rigid, sickle-shaped red blood cells. These sickle cells break down faster than normal red blood cells, resulting in chronic shortage of red blood cells.
Pernicious Anemia: Pernicious anemia is caused by inability of the intestines to absorb sufficient amounts of Vitamin B12, which is required in the production of RBCs. Symptoms include vision problems, memory loss, difficulty in walking, numbness of hands and feet.
Folic acid Deficiency Anemia: A folic acid deficiency during pregnancy can cause birth defects.
Thalassemia: Thalassemia occurs when the body’s genes become damaged or mutated. Symptoms include dark colored urine, deformed facial bones, fatigue, jaundice, poor growth rates, swollen abdomen caused by enlarged spleen and liver and weakness.
Aplastic Anemia: It is one of the rare types of anemia. Some patients diagnosed with anemia show no symptoms. But many others show various types of symptoms like tiredness and exhaustion, fatigue that comes easily, abnormal paleness, developing palpitations, shortness of breath, hair loss, malaise (general sense of feeling unwell) and worsening of heart problems. In case of chronic anemia, the body may adjust to low oxygen levels and the individual may not feel different until it becomes severe. In case of acute anemia, patient may experience significant symptoms relatively quickly.