Anemia is characterized by a reduced number of red blood cells or in other words, decreased hemoglobin. It leads to a feeling of fatigue, often accompanied by memory difficulties and depressive states.
Anemia causes hair loss, palpitations, dizziness, and reduced immune system.
This condition arises when red blood cells cannot supply enough oxygen throughout the body.
Anemia can affect every person, but it most often occurs in pregnant women and young children.
In its lightest form, it develops without symptoms, but in severe cases, it is manifested with fatigue, weakness, and dizziness. The standard color of the skin changes, the lips, the tongue, as well as blood vessels of the eye sclera.
If untreated, anemia can complicate and cause general deterioration in health, delayed development of the pregnant woman’s fetus, as well as an increased risk of infections and a slowing of mental and physical growth in children.
Young women need two to three times more iron than men.
The leading causes of anemia are nutritional deficiencies and infections.
- The lack of iron in the products we consume is the most common factor.
- The uniform feeding of foods rich in phytates – substances that prevent the absorption of iron, leading to a deficiency in the body. This is due to the insufficient amount of folic acid and vitamins A and B12.
- Among the infectious diseases that can lead to anemia, malaria is the first. Following this are hookworms and schistosomiasis, caused by parasitic worms in the body.
- Anemia can also be caused by excessive blood loss as well as the consumption of contaminated water.
The diagnosis of anemia begins with visible signs of skin pallor, fatigue, and shortness of breath. These symptoms are due to the reduced oxygen supply in the blood.
A blood test is required to measure the number of red blood cells, the concentration of hemoglobin, and the ratio of red blood cells to the total blood cell count. Additional studies are also being carried out on the content of certain vitamins, the presence of antibodies, and so forth.
The treatment of anemia depends on its appearance.
- Pernicious (or megaloblastic) anemia is due to a vitamin B12 deficiency and is treated with pills or injections.
- Iron-deficiency anemia is treated with an iron intake for six months. This element is better absorbed by younger patients. Iron treatment may have side effects such as nausea and vomiting. In such cases, it is recommended that pills be taken during meals. Iron can change the color of the stool, but this is normal and does not mean that it is not well tolerated by the body.
- Hemolytic anemia is due to the premature death of erythrocytes (red blood cells) and is therefore different from other types of anemia, where the cause is the insufficient formation of these cells. Sometimes it occurs because the patient is taking a toxic drug, which, of course, should be stopped immediately, but very often the reasons remain unclear. The treatment consists of taking corticosteroids, iron, and folic acid.
- Anemia in newborns is usually treated by blood transfusions.
Iron can be supplied with appropriate nutrition. It is contained in large amounts in algae, but this is far from a typical food for us. It is also present in beef, which must be consumed very slightly roasted, as well as shellfish, turkey, spinach, legumes, pumpkin seeds, quinoa, and broccoli.