Anemia is a medical condition characterized by low count of red blood cells that are an important component of blood. Red blood cells are also termed as hemoglobin and when the level of hemoglobin drops in the blood it leads to anemia.
In humans, the accepted count of red blood cells is 12.0g/100 ml in women and 13.5g/100 ml in men. If the count falls lower than the accepted number, the person is said to be suffering from anemia. Anemia is more commonly seen in women and children than in men. The reason is that women experience loss of blood at regular intervals during their reproductive years. However, this blood is quickly replaced in the body if the woman consumes a healthy diet. Children suffer from anemia mainly due to their poor eating habits. Mothers must ensure that the kids get a healthy diet during their growing years. Severe anemia can cause stunted growth in kids.
What Causes Anemia?
Medically, there have been two causes identified for the condition of anemia:
1. Decrease in the quantity of blood required by the body to perform various functions.
2. Decrease in the count of red blood cells or hemoglobin in the blood because the body isn’t performing all its functions properly.
Blood testing is required to determine the cause of anemia. In some cases, anemia is also due to deficiency of iron. The body requires iron for the production of red blood cells. Iron is also an important component of blood. Less iron in the diet can lead to loss of blood from the body causing anemia. However, anemia can be easily reversed by simply increasing the quantity of iron in daily diet. Your doctor might also prescribe iron supplements to tide over the deficiency of iron.
Medical conditions like cervical cancer, stomach ulcer, colon cancer and stomach cancer often lead to heavy blood loss during menstruation. Women suffering from any of the above conditions are highly likely to experience severe blood loss every month leading to development of anemia. Loss of blood in between menstruation can be due to use of medicines like aspirin and ibuprofen.
How To Treat Anemia?
Anemia is not a serious medical condition unless accompanied with heavy internal or external bleeding. The bleeding results in extreme form of anemia which requires immediate medical treatment.Anemia cannot be treated at home if it has become severe. You will have to seek the help of a doctor who will put you through a series of blood tests to determine the cause of anemia. Treatment for anemia will be based on the cause.
In case of mild anemia, the condition is easily treatable using iron supplements. These help up the count of red blood cells in the blood and increase the level of hemoglobin which makes it easier for the body to manufacture sufficient quantity of blood. If anemia is severe, the woman might require blood transfusion to cope with the heavy loss of blood by body.It is important to test pregnant women for anemia; anemic women often give birth to anemic children. In fact pregnant women are given iron supplements throughout their pregnancy to prevent anemia. Post partum the new mothers are advised to continue taking iron supplements thrice a week for the rest of their lives.
How To Use Iron Supplement To Treat Anemia?
Young women who have attained puberty, pregnant women and women who are on the verge of menopause should all take iron supplements to prevent anemia. The supplement comes both in capsule as well as tonic form. Many women feel nauseated after taking iron supplement. To avoid this, always take iron supplement on an empty stomach.
How To Ensure Absorption Of Iron In The Body?
Iron is a metal that occurs freely in nature. However, iron is required by the human body for the production of blood. Since iron is a metal it is not easy to absorb by the human body. In order to ensure complete absorption of iron supplements by the body it is important to take supplement of Vitamin C as well. Supplement of vitamin C comes in capsule form and should be had 10 minutes before taking the iron supplement.
If you don’t want to take vitamin C supplement then simply drink a glass of fresh and undiluted orange juice along with iron supplement. Vitamin C will help the body absorb iron better and quicker. Remember, to increase the level of iron in the body it is important to take Vitamin C as well.
How To Prevent Loss Of Iron?
Avoid intake of all caffeinated drinks including tea, coffee and alcohol. Caffeine causes loss of iron from the body as it prevents the body from absorbing iron. People who cannot avoid drinking tea or coffee should not have these beverages an hour before their meal time. For breakfast in the morning, de-caffeinated coffee is the ideal drink.
Stress also plays an important role in causing anemia. In today’s times people hardly have the time to get regular exercise, indulge in their favorite pastimes or spend time with loved ones. This added with professional worries leads to stress, anxiety and depression. These mental conditions do not let the body function properly including proper absorption of iron from the food we intake.
A study conducted among anemic women showed that the majority among them suffered from stress before the development of anemia. Recognize the signs of stress; if you feel depressed, fatigued and cranky without a solid excuse then you probably are stressed out and need a break. Take help of family and friends to deal with work and home related issues. Don’t try to play the super woman at the cost of your health. Remember anemia is easy to prevent with diet when you first notice its symptoms. If you ignore the warning signs you will most likely end up taking supplements and blood transfusions.
Anemia can be prevented entirely and can even be treated easily by making simple changes in lifestyle and eating habits. A nutritious diet of green leafy vegetables (spinach, green turnip and broccoli), fruits, legumes, and whole grains plays an important role is prevention and treatment of anemia.