Anemia is a common medical condition in which the blood has a lower-than-normal number of red blood cells or hemoglobin to carry oxygen from the lungs to your body’s organs and tissues. Here are some points to remember regarding anemia.
- The normal level of hemoglobin is defined based on the age and sex of the person. In men, hemoglobin level of less than 13.5 gram/100ml and in women hemoglobin level of less than 12.0 gram/100ml is considered anemia.
- There are several causes of anemia and iron deficiency anemia is the commonest type of anemia.
- Younger children, women in child bearing age group and pregnant women are at higher risk of anemia as compared to men, adolescents and post-menopausal women.
- The symptoms are usually mild initially (such as tiredness, low energy, weakness, pale skin, headache) which can go unnoticed but the symptoms worsen as anemia worsens. The severity of symptom depends on the stage and cause of anemia.
- If you have signs and symptoms suggestive of anemia your doctor will examine you and recommend tests such as complete blood count, peripheral blood smear examination, serum iron studies. There are several other tests which may be done if needed to confirm the diagnosis.
- Nutritional anemia (iron deficiency anemia, vitamin deficiency anemia) can be prevented and treated by eating a healthy diet and supplements. But all types of anemia cannot be prevented by healthy diet and supplements. Like inherited anemia (such as sickle cell anemia, thalassemia), aplastic anemia, anemia of chronic disease etc. need specific treatment and not only healthy diet and supplements.
- Treatment for anemia is based on the type of anemia and several other factors like your response to treatment, medical history, and overall health.
If you have signs and symptoms suggestive of anemia consult your doctor to confirm the diagnosis and appropriate treatment.