Saturday, June 2, 2012

What is Anemia?

            You may have heard of a disease called anemia. Do you know what this illness is? Anemia is a particular physical condition in which the amount of hemoglobin in the blood or the number of red blood cells in persons falls below the normal level. More specifically, it is a condition caused by the deficiency of iron in the blood. Pernicious anemia is caused due to the deficiency of vitamin B12. In fact, hemoglobin is a protein in the red cells that contains iron. It is carried in the red blood cells of the human blood ad imparts a red color to our blood. Hemoglobin makes it possible for the blood to carry oxygen. All body tissues need oxygen to function properly. The lack of the minimum amount of red blood cells or hemoglobin would result in poor oxygen supply to the body and hence people suffering from anemia look pale and feel tired, as they become oxygen-starved very quickly.

Blood being transfused into an Anemia Patient 

            In every healthy human being, hemoglobin maintains a certain level of concentration in the blood. The mean values of hemoglobin for males are 15 grams per deciliter and for females 13.5 grams per deciliter. Values, which are less than 2.5 or 3 standard deviations below the mean values, are indicative of anemia. To detect anemia, the concentration of three things in the blood is measured. These are the hemoglobin the red cell count and hematocrit. If the values of these things are below the normal level, the person is said to be anemia.

            This disease may have several causes. The major ones are: 1. Defective blood formation 2. Cell destruction and 3. Extensive loss of blood. Moreover, there are a number of physical disorders, any of which ca cause different types of anemia. Some of the specific types of anemia are: 1. Microcytic anemia (red cells are smaller than the normal size),  2. Macrocytic anemia (red cells are larger than the normal size), 3. Normocytic anemia (red cells are of normal size) and 4. Hypo chromic anemia cells contain very little hemoglobin. Anemia resulting from sudden blood loss is generally normocytic in nature. Sickle cell anemia is a genetic disorder.

            Red cells have an average lifespan of 120 days. In a healthy person, bout 45,000 red cells per micro liter are broken down in the liver and daily removed from the blood. They are replaced with new cells made by the bone marrow. Anemia occurs whet is rate of removal of red cells from the circulation exceeds the replacement, or when the production of red cells is impaired or ineffective in delivering cells to the blood circulatory system. Anemia also occurs due to the lack of iron in the diet. Eating iron inch foods can treat some kinds of anemia. Medicines are also available to supply iron required to maintain the desired level.

            Anemia, which results form the increased red blood cells destruction, is known as hemolytic anemia. Lead or zinc poisoning, malaria, poor diet, allergy or some hereditary condition may also cause anemia.

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