Causes And Symptoms Of Anemia
As understood by a layman, anemia is a condition when the blood is short of required hemoglobin levels. Low hemoglobin also represents, low red blood cell counts. These RBCs function to carry oxygen in all parts of the body, so if the counts go low, the organs get short on oxygen supply, leading to serious clinical consequences.
Anemia is not uncommon, and is found in all age groups. Existence of this disorder can reduce the quality of life and can breed other medical problems in body.
Causes Of Anemia
Iron is required by bone marrow for production of RBCs. When there is deficiency of iron in body, bone marrow may not be able to meet up with the normal supply needs of body causing anemia.
Foliate, Vitamin C and Vitamin B-12 deficiencies either due to insufficiency in diet or due to certain diseases, impairs body to absorb these vitamins in the body can lead to anemia.
Chronic infections, inflammatory diseases also lead to anemia. Rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, systemic lupus erythematosus are a few such instances and may be the underlying cause of anemia. Anemia is also consequential to certain cancers like lymphomas, tumors, kidney diseases, liver cirrhosis. Infections like bone infection, HIV/AIDS, hepatitis B or hepatitis C also decreases RBC counts.
Bone Marrow Diseases
Myelodysplastic syndromes, Aplastic anemia, Paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria, leukemia are a few serious bone marrow diseases causing anemia.
A number of drugs turn the immune system against one’s own RBCs and the immune reaction starts producing antibodies to break down red blood cells. Penicillin and its derivatives, levodopa, dapsone are a few such examples.
The inherited genes sometimes can also be the reason for anemia. Sickle cell anemia, thalassemia, fanconi anemia, diamond blackfan anemia, red cell membrane disorders, hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia are a few conditions caused due to genetics.
Symptoms Of Anemia
Anemia may or may not show symptoms, however the system goes through a variety of changes when anemic and may show one or more of the symptoms stated below.
Patient may suffer fatigue, weakness, headache, dizziness, vertigo, sleep disturbances, tingling, depression, memory problems or lack of energy. These are some of the common symptoms in most patients of anemia and these neurological disturbances in body may be caused due to anemia.
Normally an anemic person may go through the physical changes like a pale complexion, yellowish tinge of nails, and faded lips. The tongue may become abnormally smooth and red. Nails at times become dry and brittle. Patient may also develop open sores in the corners of mouth due to vitamin deficiency anemia.
Patients also show cardio-respiratory problems like cold intolerance, increased pulse pressure, short breath, palpitation, chest pain and light-heartedness when the RBCs go down.
Decrease In Libido And Menstrual Problems
At times men with anemia may see a decrease in libido, while women experience menstrual problems due to deficiency in quality blood and low energy levels.
People also develop pica due to anemia, which is a strange condition wherein the person feels hungry for strange things like clay, chalk, cardboard, etc. Commonly people when anemic crave for ice cubes or ice chips. Such craving immediately needs the attention of a doctor.
GI Tract Problems
Anemia may sometimes affect GI tract, giving symptoms like nausea and anorexia. Some signs of iron-deficiency anemia may develop intestinal bleeding causing bright red blood in the stools or black stools.
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