Anaemia is defined as a condition wherein the number of healthy red
blood cells or hemoglobin is below the specified normal levels. Red blood
cells perform the essential function of providing oxygen to the various tissues
of the body. Thus, decreased number of RBCs or their component
hemoglobin, affects the oxygen supply to the body organs resulting in various
The level of hemoglobin in males should be above 13.5gms/dL while
in females, it should be above 12gms/dL. Lower levels indicate anaemia. In
females, occasional dip is observed physiologically during blood loss as in
menstruation or post-delivery. The severity of anaemia depends on the levels
of hemoglobin present in the blood.
Though there are many different types of anemia but iron deficiency
anaemia is the most prevalent, especially among females or children.
Patients of prolonged illnesses are more prone to develop deficiency
anaemia. Similarly, older people are at higher risk of developing anaemia
owing to their low immunity and decreasing appetite.
Low levels of RBCs or hemoglobin could be due to three factors:
● Low production of healthy cells by the body
● Destruction of healthy cells by the body
● Excessive blood loss
The main conditions that may result in anaemia are:
● Hereditary Anaemia such as Thalassemia, sickle cell anaemia
● Anaemia due to deficiency of iron, vitamin B12, folates etc.
● Excessive blood loss during menstruation, operative surgeries,
● Increased demands during pregnancy, lactation.
production of RBCs, any disease of the marrow may hamper the red
● Chronic or gastrointestinal diseases such as gastritis, Crohn’s
disease, cancer, HIV etc
● Autoimmune disorders
● Use of certain drugs
Signs and Symptoms:
● Pale skin
● Pale eyes
● Shortness of breath
● Hair loss
● Brittle nails
● A balanced diet rich in iron, folic acid, vitamins and minerals helps in
● Females of child-bearing age should take additional care to meet the
excess physiological demands so as to deliver a healthy baby.
● Avoid alcohol, recreational drugs etc
A simple blood test can detect the level of haemoglobin
in the body and helps in determining the type and severity
of the disease. Very rarely, a bone marrow test may also be conducted.
to treat mild to moderate anaemia. In severe cases, blood transfusions or
treatment of underlying disease may be required.
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