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Are you Anaemic:

Haemoglobin (Hb) is a protein found in the red blood cells that carry oxygen and give blood its red colour. Normal Hb value is affected by age, sex and pregnancy. It differs between ethnic populations.

People who have Hb below the normal range are by definition, anaemic. Anaemia is usually a result of one or more of the following

  • Decreased production of red blood cells in the blood

  • Increased blood loss

  • Excessive destruction of red blood cells

There are many etiological causes of anaemia. One of the causes is due to iron deficiency, which is common in women. Other common causes are chronic blood loss and anaemia of chronic disease. Any anemia in the elderly along with significant weight loss will require further evaluation.

Rarer causes of anaemia are due to defects in the haemoglobin synthesis itself and are called hemoglobinopathies. Examples are thalassemia and sickle cell anaemia.

Effects of Anemia:

  • Difficulty functioning in everyday life because of fatigue, shortness of breath, and difficulty concentrating.

  • Pregnancy complications such as premature birth.

  • Impaired growth and development in children.

  • Anemia can lead to a rapid or irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia).

  • Some inherited anemias, such as Thalassemia major or sickle cell Anemia, can lead to life-threatening complications.

Who are at Risk:

  • A diet deficient in iron, vitamin B-12 and folate for a long duration.

  • Chronic blood loss due to peptic ulcer disease, intestinal parasites, haemorrhoids and malignancy of the GIT.

  • Women of childbearing age are at higher risk for iron-deficiency Anaemia because of blood loss during their monthly periods especially if they suffer from heavy periods (Menorrhagia).

  • Pregnant women are at higher risk for the condition because they need a larger amount of iron.

  • Chronic diseases such as autoimmune diseases, immunodeficiency disorders, kidney disease, diabetes, liver disease, thyroid disease.

  • Family history of inherited Anaemia, such as sickle cell Anemia

  • People with hypothyroidism

  • People who suffer from chronic alcoholism and malnutrition

Recommended Test :Haemoglobin (Hb), Complete Blood Count, Peripheral blood smear examination

By Dr. Manu Ventatesan

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