Saturday, 18 July 2015
23 October 2020
Koocheh Salamati – Anemia

«An illness in an illness»

2010 November 12

Dr. Avideh Motmaen-Far, Osteopath D.O. /Radio Koocheh

avideh@avideh.net

Anemia means lack of blood in Ancient Greek . Anemia is a condition in which a decrease in number of red blood cells (RBCs) or in the quantity of hemoglobin in the blood occurs. Anemia is the most common disorder of the blood. It goes undetermined in many people, and symptoms can be minor or vague. The signs and symptoms can be related to the anemia itself, or the underlying cause. Hemoglobin is the protein molecule in red blood cells that carries oxygen from the lungs to the body’s tissues and returns carbon dioxide from the tissues to the lungs. Hemoglobin also plays an important role in maintaining the shape of the red blood cells. Abnormal hemoglobin structure can disrupt the shape of red blood cells and impede its function and its flow through blood vessels. The normal level of hemoglobin is generally different in men and women. For men, anemia is typically defined as hemoglobin level of less than 13.5 gram/100ml and in women as hemoglobin of less than 12.0 gram/100ml. These definitions may vary slightly depending on the source and the laboratory reference used.

Red blood cells are produced in the bone marrow. A normal red blood cell lives about 120 days. Any process that can disrupt the normal life span of a red blood cell may cause anemia. The three main classes of anemia include excessive blood loss  (Hemorrhagic), excessive blood cell destruction (Hemolysis) or deficient red blood cell production (ineffective Hematopoiesis).

The Mean Corpuscular Volume, or “mean cell volume” (MCV), is a measure of the average red blood cell volume that is reported as part of a standard complete blood count. This measurement of the size of red blood cells helps identify different types of anemia such as microcytic anemia (low cell volume), normocytic anemia (normal cell volume) or macrocytic anemia (large cell volume). Looking at each of the components of a complete blood count (CBC), especially the MCV, a physician can gather clues as what may be the most common reason for anemia.

Anemia that is due to low iron levels is called ”iron deficiency anemia”. Iron deficiency is a very common cause of anemia. Iron is the major component of hemoglobin and essential for its proper function. Chronic blood loss due to any reason is the main cause of low iron level in the body. Women are more likely than men to have iron deficiency anemia because of the loss of blood each month through normal menstruation. This is generally without any major symptoms as the blood loss is relatively small and temporary. But small repeated bleedings due to colon cancer or stomach ulcers can cause iron deficiency anemia. In infants and young children, iron deficiency is mostly due to a diet lacking iron. Iron deficiency anemia usually presents with low mean corpuscular volume (microcytic anemia) in addition to low hemoglobin.

Thalassemia (Mediterranean anemia) is an inherited blood disorder characterized by less hemoglobin and fewer red blood cells in your body than normal. ”Sickle cell” anemia is an inherited form of anemia — a condition in which there aren’t enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen throughout your body. In this kind of anemia, the red blood cells become rigid, sticky and are shaped like sickles or crescent moons, and get stuck in small blood vessels. The flow is slow or blocked and oxygen is not delivered to some parts of the body.

Vitamin B12 Deficiency due to malabsorption of vitamin B12, a strict vegetarian diet or long term alcoholism is the cause of pernicious anemia. This kind of anemia causes macrocytic anemia. Many bone marrow diseases can cause anemia. For example, cancers that metastasize to the bone marrow, or cancers of the bone marrow such as Leukaemia or multiple myeloma can cause the bone marrow to produce inadequate red blood cells resulting in anemia. Certain chemotherapy can also cause damage to the bone marrow and decrease red blood cell production. Certain infections may involve the bone marrow and result in bone marrow impairment and anemia.  Patients with kidney failure may lack the hormone necessary to stimulate normal red blood cell production by the bone marrow. Anemia of chronic disease typically occurs in individuals with long-standing chronic diseases.  Also some medications can cause anemia in a variety of ways. And Finally, of course, Human immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) can cause anemia.

People suffering from anemia report symptoms of weakness, fatigue, general malaise, poor concentration, dyspnea during exercise. In cases of severe anemia, the body compensate for the lack of oxygen by increasing cardiac output such as palpitations (tachycardia), and symptoms of heart failure

People suffering from anemia report symptoms of weakness, fatigue, general malaise, poor concentration, dyspnea during exercise. In cases of severe anemia, the body compensate for the lack of oxygen by increasing cardiac output such as palpitations (tachycardia), and symptoms of heart failure.  ”Restless Legs Syndrome” is more common in Iron deficiency anemia. Jaundice result from abnormal break down of red blood cells in Hemolytic anemia. Bone deformities are found in Thalassaemia major and Leg ulcers are seen in Sickle Cell disease.  Less common symptoms may include swelling of the legs or arms, chronic heartburn, vague bruises, vomiting, increased sweating, and blood in stool. Chronic anemia can cause negative behavioural changes in Children and result in poor scholar performances.

Iron deficiency anemia can be the cause of a condition called ”Pica” in which people develop an appetite for non-food items such as dirt, paper, wax, grass, ice and hair. This can be found in pregnant women also essentially because of lack of iron during pregnancy. Very often Pica is mistaken by pregnant women’s cravings and the iron deficiency ignored, a situation that can be dangerous for both pregnant women and their unborn baby.

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