It is easy to overlook certain symptoms that may not look life-threatening at first glance. Anaemia is one of them. However, the doctors at Fortis Hospitals Bangalore have a sharp and discerning eye to spot the smallest of signs. With this level of observation and expert excellence, patients can rest assured that they are in the best of care and safest of hands.
There are times when you don’t feel energetic and active like before. This could be a sign that your body is not getting its normal share of oxygen from the blood. When this happens, your body begins to slow down and you feel tired and out of energy to follow your normal routine. This usually is the result of low levels of the iron content or the haemoglobin in your red blood cells is low. Your body needs enough haemoglobin to transport oxygen to the body. And when it does not receive enough life-giving oxygen, you tend to feel fatigued and weak. This condition is called anaemia. Anaemia also varies with age, sex and diet. At Fortis Hospitals Bannerghatta, anaemia is treated with a lot of care and according to the prevailing causes.
Just like the causes of anaemia in a person can vary according to the person’s age, sex and dietary conditions, there are different types of anaemia. And these types are diagnosed through specific tests to determine the best line of treatment.
The most common types of anaemia are Aplastic Anaemia, Fanconi Anaemia, Haemolytic Anaemia, Iron deficiency Anaemia, Pernicious Anaemia, Sickle cell Anaemia and Thalassemia,
This is a life-threatening form of anaemia which is caused by the complete failure of the bone marrow. The bone marrow is where the red blood cells are manufactured by the body. When this vital life-giving source of blood cells malfunctions or stops its work due to certain causes, it results in very low number of red blood cells hence causing anaemia. The bone marrow malfunction can also cause insufficient white blood cells and platelets. Aplastic anaemia can appear at any age. However, there are various causes for this disease.
Typical causes of Aplastic anaemia are certain viral infections, medications, genetic abnormalities, cancer treatment such as radiation therapy and chemotherapy, chronic exposure to toxic chemicals, and myelodysplastic syndrome or the abnormal blood cells.
This is a hereditary form of anaemia where the bone marrow is affected. This causes decreased production of all types of blood cells that are so vital to life. Fanconi Anaemia affects many parts of the body and can also cause physical abnormalities, organ defects and lead to an increased risk of cancers in the body or even tumours.
When there is something wrong with the red blood cells in the body. This could be an underlying hereditary condition and is rare and serious. In Haemolytic Anaemia, the body destroys its own red blood cells faster than the bone marrow can produce them. This is why it is also called an auto immune disorder. This type of anaemia can cause extreme fatigue, pain, arrhythmias, an enlarged heart and heart failure.
This rare disorder can be treated with medications, surgery, lifestyle changes, blood transfusion, and blood and bone marrow stem cell transplants.
Iron deficiency anaemia is the commonest condition mostly found in menstruating women. This form of anaemia is not very serious if nipped in the bud. Early diagnosis can make way for early treatment through dietary changes and iron supplements.
Vitamin B 12 deficiency in the body can cause a low level of red blood cells. In fact, in this form of anaemia the body is unable to produce enough healthy red blood cells because it is deficient in the important nutrient Vitamin B12. In other words, those who suffer from Pernicious Anaemia are not able to absorb Vitamin B12 due to a deficient small intestine. This again could be due to various reasons including certain medications, tape worm infection, diseases interfering with Vitamin B12 absorption or even the surgical removal of a part of the small intestine. The tell-tale signs of this type of anaemia are memory loss, depression, dementia, confusion, nausea and vomiting, heartburn, bloating and flatulence, constipation, diarrhoea, weight loss and loss of appetite.
Sickle cell anaemia is an inherited serious disorder of the blood and its treatment is life-long. Those who have inherited this form of anaemia have two copies of the sickle cell gene, one from each parent.
Normal red blood cells are disc-shaped and move easily through the blood vessels, transporting life-giving oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. But, in Sickle anaemia, the cells contain abnormal haemoglobin which causes them to have a sickle shape. This shape hinders the easy movement of the red blood cells causing them to clump together and get stuck, blocking the blood flow to the rest of the body. As a result of this blocked flow, there is pain, infections and even damage to the organs. Since the sickle cells have a short span and die after about 10 to 20 days, the body can’t reproduce red blood cells fast enough to replace the dying ones. This is what causes the anaemia.
This form of inherited disorder is passed on from parents to their kids through the genes. Thalassaemia causes the body to make fewer healthy red blood cells and less haemoglobin, and is usually diagnosed in early childhood. The symptoms of paleness, sometimes jaundice, bone problems, slowed growth and puberty, enlarged spleen, liver and heart, are caused by a lack of oxygen in the blood stream.
Thalassaemia is treated through three standard modes which include blood transfusions, folic acid supplements and iron chelation therapy.
Any signs of anaemia if picked up early and diagnosed through the right tests can be treated to ensure the anaemic person gets back to her/his feet soon. At Fortis Hospitals Bannerghatta, the expert team of haemotologists has excellence in diagnosing various types of anaemia and administering the best treatment measures.
The most common test to diagnose anaemia in you is the Complete Blood Count (CBC) test. Here, your blood is drawn and sent to the lab to test the haemoglobin and haemocrit levels in your red blood cells. It also tests the number of red blood cells, white blood cells and plasma in your blood to spot any abnormally lesser number of red blood cells that is causing your anaemic condition.
Besides the CBC, there are other tests you may have to go through if your doctor feels that your anaemia is caused by other factors:
Sometimes, anaemia could be caused by vitamin deficiency. Vitamin B12 and folate are important in the production of red blood cells. Tests to determine your vitamin levels can be recommended.
Some rare types of anaemia need specific blood tests to detect the causes. The various rare causes of anaemia are, fragile red blood cells, immune attack on your red blood cells, defective haemoglobin count, enzymes and clotting disorders where the blood does not clot naturally and there is continuous bleeding leading to weakness.
In some rare conditions, the red blood cells have a short life span. This is known as Haemolytic Anaemia and a specific test can pinpoint this condition. Other tests include that of the bilirubin count in the blood and urine as well as the reticulocyte count to determine how quickly your blood cells are being produced.
In another rare condition where your bone marrow does not produce the red blood cells hence causing anaemia, doctors may need to do the bone marrow test where a part of your bone marrow will be extracted to send for a lab test.
It is normal behaviour in healthy children to be playful and very active. However, when a child is observed to be less than usually active, becomes irritable and listless, eats unusual things like mud and chalk, has no appetite, does not grow normally, and is prone to infections, it could be a sign of anaemia.
Children need enough nutrition especially a diet full of iron to be active and foster normal growth. Because children, especially infants and toddlers grow rapidly, they need much more iron in their daily diet. It has been observed that iron deficiency anaemia is the most common form of paediatric anaemia and affects infants as young as nine months and toddlers aged two years.
Another common form of anaemia is the megaloblastic anaemia caused by folic acid deficiency. This condition could be due to some malabsorption disorders that include coeliac disease, inflammatory bowel disease and anticonvulsant treatment.
Vitamin B12 deficiency can occur in infants who suffer from malabsorption or even tapeworm infestation. Pernicious anaemia is another common form of anaemia caused by underlying absorption malfunctions.
Physiologic anaemia is the most common cause of anaemia in young infants at six to nine weeks.
In pathologic anaemia in newborns, the causes are due to blood loss, immune disease, congenital infection, and congenital haemolytic anaemia.
Pregnancy is a beautiful experience for a family. And nobody wants anything to go wrong during this wonderful phase of motherhood. However, sometimes, the unexpected can happen and anaemia could be one of them. During pregnancy, your body works that much harder to provide vital nourishment for the baby growing in the womb and the volume of blood in the body increases up to 50 per cent. Anaemia during pregnancy could occur when the mother does not have enough red blood cells in the body to carry oxygen to the tissues. In pregnancy, untreated anaemia can affect the baby in the womb leading to a premature birth or low birth weight in the baby.
Iron deficiency anaemia is the most common cause of anaemia in pregnant women and 25 per cent of them experience this at some stage of pregnancy.
Another cause of anaemia during pregnancy is that of folate deficiency. Pregnant women need higher levels of folate. This is why doctors at Fortis Hospitals Bannerghatta prescribe folic acid supplements to women wanting to get pregnant as well as for mothers-to-be. This is a vital vitamin that is crucial in preventing neural tube defects during pregnancy.
Vitamin B-12 deficiency is common during pregnancy because some expectant women have difficulty processing the B12.
In order to keep nutrients up and going in pregnant women, doctors prescribe prenatal vitamins that contain iron and folic acid, a nutritious diet, and iron supplements.
A pregnant woman is at a higher risk of developing anaemia if she does not eat an iron-rich diet, has heavy periods before her pregnancy, has heavy vomiting as part of morning sickness, has two or more pregnancies in quick succession or is expecting multiple babies.
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