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Anemia

Learn how anemia can affect your health and discover simple steps you can take to prevent and manage this common condition.
2023-01-20

Review of Anemia

Anemia is a condition in which an individual has a lower than normal number of red blood cells or hemoglobin. It is a condition that can affect people of all ages, and the severity of the anemia can vary depending on the individual. The primary cause of anemia is a deficiency of either iron, vitamin B12, or folic acid in the body. Anemia is a common condition, and is estimated to affect up to 25% of the population worldwide.

Causes of Anemia

Anemia can be caused by a variety of different factors, including nutritional deficiencies, chronic diseases, and blood loss. Iron deficiency is the most common cause of anemia, and is most often caused by a lack of iron in the diet or due to excessive blood loss. Vitamin B12 deficiency is another common cause of anemia. This deficiency can be caused by a lack of vitamin B12 in the diet, or by impaired absorption of the vitamin due to certain medical conditions. Folic acid deficiency is another potential cause of anemia, and is typically caused by a lack of folic acid in the diet or by certain medical conditions that interfere with the absorption of folic acid. Other causes of anemia include chronic diseases such as kidney disease, liver disease, or HIV/AIDS, as well as blood loss due to trauma or surgery.

Symptoms of Anemia

The symptoms of anemia can vary depending on the severity of the anemia, but common symptoms include fatigue, shortness of breath, paleness, dizziness, and weakness. Other symptoms can include chest pain, rapid heartbeat, headache, coldness in the hands and feet, and pale or yellowish skin.

Diagnosis of Anemia

Anemia can be diagnosed through a variety of tests, including a complete blood count (CBC), iron studies, and vitamin B12 and folic acid levels. A CBC will measure the number of red blood cells, hemoglobin, and hematocrit levels in the blood. Iron studies will measure the amount of iron in the body, and vitamin B12 and folic acid levels will measure the amount of those vitamins in the body.

Treatment of Anemia

The treatment of anemia depends on the cause of the anemia. Iron deficiency anemia is typically treated with iron supplements, while vitamin b12 deficiency anemia is typically treated with vitamin B12 injections. Folic acid deficiency anemia can be treated with dietary changes or folic acid supplements. If anemia is caused by a chronic disease or another medical condition, treatment will focus on managing the underlying condition. Other treatments for anemia include blood transfusions, and in some cases, surgery.

Prevention of Anemia

Anemia can be prevented by making sure that the body has an adequate supply of iron, vitamin B12, and folic acid. Eating a diet that is rich in iron, vitamin B12, and folic acid can help to prevent anemia. Additionally, it is important to be aware of any medical conditions that can interfere with the absorption of these vitamins, and to make sure that any chronic diseases or medical conditions are managed properly.

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