Anemia

February 2017


Definition


Anemia refers to a deficiency of red blood cells or a decrease in hemoglobin. This translates to anemia brought on by iron deficiency when the anemia is the result of a lack of iron in the blood. It is called microcytic anemia, meaning that there is a presence of smaller-sized globule in the blood. Since iron is a component of hemoglobin and is deficient, the body produces red blood cells that are small. It is also the most common type of anemia, associated mainly with men via gastrointestinal blood loss or with women via gynecologic blood loss, or lastly in both sexes, due to a decreased absorption of iron.

Symptoms


Symptoms of iron deficiency anemia are sometimes not obvious to detect, especially if the anemia is mild. However, marked fatigue, pale complexion, headaches or severe shortness of breath upon exertion are all signs that could point to this disease. It can sometimes be linked to dry and brittle hair as well as slightly dry skin.

Diagnosis


Given these symptoms, a blood test coupled with a CBC (analysis of the composition of the blood in its different globules) prescribed by the doctor will determine the amount of red blood cells and diagnose a possible anemia. Additional blood tests and a blood smear will then prove whether or not it is linked to an iron deficiency.

Treatment


To cure iron deficiency anemia, it is first of all necessary to determine whether or not there is chronic blood loss (digestive, gynecological ...), and if so, to identify them and stop them. At this point it is then possible to address iron deficiency with treatments such as taking iron supplements over several months, in addition to adopting a diet rich in iron. In some patients, especially in cases of intestinal disorders, iron may be administered intravenously. Finally, blood transfusions may be considered for severe anemia.

Prevention


It is important to pay attention to your diet and to focus on regular iron-rich foods such as liver, poultry, eggs, seafood and some green vegetables.

Related

Published by Jeff. Latest update on June 4, 2013 at 01:47 PM by Jeff.
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