Anemia – still a rising concern in the world

Anemia – still a rising concern in the world

​”Anemia essentially means decreased amount of Red blood cells or decreased amount of hemoglobin in blood that leads to decreased oxygen carrying capacity of blood.”       

Anemia – still a rising concern in the world. A large percentage of world population especially those from developing countries is anemic. Anemia mainly found in children and pregnant women have significant impact on health and growth. this condition can affect anyone from newborn babies to old age people. Anemia is a major concern all over the world. Simple measures taken on personal, family and community level can prevent the anemia and can lead to significant improvement in overall health of society. We here are enlisting causes of anemia so that we can give further explanation about each type and its prevention.       

Many countries have started national programs for prevention and treatment of anemia but these programs are generally limited to children and pregnant women in form of providing supplements. Some countries encourage fortification of food and that too is successful to some extent. De-worming children periodically is one more strategy successfully implemented across the world.       

Very few parents are aware of these problems. Even in good socioeconomic groups families have improper knowledge about food and feeding children and that leads to various nutritional deficiencies. These nutritional deficiencies in turn lead to anemia and ultimately causing growth failure in children. For the growth of children it is very essential to give proper diet giving them all necessarily needed ingredients and micro nutrients. Very few children in today’s world especially in developing countries can get those healthy ingredients. Very few parents know the sources rich in those micro nutrients and because of improper or mostly unavailable guidance this issue remains ignored.        

Here we are going to provide the causes of anemia and in detail how they occur and how to deal with them. Though we are going to be informative here you are suggested to seek your doctors opinion before coming to any conclusion. Or you can meet us here    

Causes of anemia are : 

  • Nutritional deficiencies : This is most common cause of anemia. Poor socioeconomic status is the main factor leading to this type anemia. Also food fad like avoiding healthy food green leafy vegetables and fruits, avoiding non veg food leads to nutritional deficiency of various type.
  • ​Iron deficiency anemia : It is most common type of anemia among all anemia types. Iron deficiency is world wide and especially those in developing countries like in South East Asia and Sub Saharan countries.
  • Inadequate intake in diet.
  • Increased requirement due to increased metabolic demands like in pregnancy and children of growing age.
  • Increased blood loss like in menstruation, or worm infestation leading to visible or invisible loss of blood in stool for prolonged period.
  • Inability to absorb iron from food in conditions like celiac disease or genetic abnormality in iron absorption(rare).​​
  • ​​Vitamin B12 deficiency : This is another common cause of anemia and mainly those taking strictly vegetarian food are affected more. Along with anemia in severe cases it can have symptoms like loss of joint position sense and loss of balance and vibration sense as it also neurons in spinal cord. Other symptoms like diarrhea and abdominal pain are likely to be there.
  • ​​Pernicious anemia is a special type in it rare but seen many times.
  • Folic acid deficiency : Folic acid and vitamin B12 are needed for formation of red blood cells. The deficiency of folic acid some what present like Vitamin B12 deficiency.
  • Increased destruction of red blood cells : There are may causes of increased destruction of red blood cells. Generally the red blood formation takes place in marrow and It can Increase many times to match the destruction. But when capacity of formation can not match the rate of destruction of red blood cells it can manifest with symptoms of anemia. It can be associated with jaundice. Causes of destruction are :
  • ​​Defective formation of hemoglobin.
  • Defective formation of red blood cell membrane.
  • Defective formation of enzymes in red blood cells.
  • Autoimmune diseases like SLE can lead to destruction of self red blood cells.
  • Mechanical devices like artificial heart valves or long march for prolonged period, soldier march. 
  • Ineffective formation of red blood cells : Multiple reasons can lead to in effective formation of red blood cells. Causes can be genetic like beta thalassemia major to infectious causes.
  • Anemia due to chronic diseases : Chronic diseases like HIV infection and tuberculosis, or like chronic kidney diseases these can cause anemia due to above all mechanism.
  • Anemia due to cancers : Variety of cancers can cause variety of anemia by different mechanisms, may times multiple mechanisms at a time.

What are symptoms of anemia?

  • Fatigue, loss of energy feeling, since the oxygen carrying capacity of blood decreases by anemia it can cause fatigue. While playing, running, or any physical activity the increased oxygen demand could not be met and their is feeling of fatigue.
  • Loss of appetite : loss of appetite may be symptom associated with This condition.
  • Decreased sports and scholastic performance : This condition leads to decreased ability to play and study. Some studies found it can affect IQ.
  • Chronic pains in limbs and legs.
  • Increased amount of pallor and lassitude.
  • In some hemolytic cases it may present as jaundice.
  • In cases which are sever and for prolonged time period heart can not cope up with increased work to be done for decreased capacity of oxygen carrying by blood and may manifest as heart failure. This heart failure may present with dyspnea, rapid breathing with difficulty in breathing, swelling of limbs, palpitation that is rapid uncomfortable feeling of heart beats.If remains for sufficiently longer time can cause death.
  • Generalized body swelling.
  • May show other underlying causes like joint pains and bone pains in cancers, chronic cough and weight loss in tuberculosis, manifestation of AIDS in affected person, Manifestations of chronic kidney disease in affected person.
  • Blood in stools.
  • heavy menstruation.
  • Increased propensity of thrombosis and stroke manifesting in form of hemiplegia.
  • Growth failure in children they can not gain weight and height. In some cases they meight even lose the weight.
  • Detected on simple test like hemogram.

So above all are manifestations of anemia. We will see details of common anemia on other pages. This will provide in depth knowledge about how to prevent anemia and how to deal with anemia if it already has occurred.

Dr Yatin Bhole, Pediatrician

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