Anemia


Anemia is a disorder caused by other various diseases, which is very common among Americans; in fact, it is the most common blood disorder in the United States, affecting over 3.4 million Americans! Anemia is a deficiency in the oxygen-carrying component of the blood, measured in concentrations of hemoglobin, red blood cell volume, or red blood cell number. As the number of red blood cells decreases, the heart has to work harder and pump more oxygenated blood throughout the body. This can cause many problems in the heart such as tachycardia (a rapid heartbeat) and left ventricular hypertrophy (an enlargement of the heart muscle. Both of these can lead to heart failure. Other than that, organs and tissues will receive less oxygen than they need to work properly.


There are close to one hundred causes of anemia. Anemia is caused by many things because it is usually a symptom of other diseases. It is also an increased risk in people over the age of 65, people with HIV/AIDS, and patients undergoing surgery. Anemia may also be caused by blood loss, genetic or acquired defects, and side effects of medication.


Symptoms of anemia occur because of the lesser amount of oxygen the body can receive. At times, some people do not have any symptoms of anemia. However, many others do. They will experience extreme fatigue, weakness, shortness of breath, confusion, loss of concentration, dizziness or fainting, pale skin, tachycardia, feeling cold, and sadness or depression. These symptoms are sometimes confused with those of other diseases, making anemia harder to distinguish.


Anemia is diagnosed by a doctor, using a patientís medical history, physical exam, and blood tests measures the levels of red blood cells and hemoglobin that are in the blood. When the levels of hemoglobin are below 12 g/dL, which is when anemia occurs. Once anemia is diagnosed, there are many ways to treat it. First of all, the doctors will try to treat the disease that first caused the anemia. If this is not treatable or symptoms get worse, then the doctor may try another solution, such as diet modifications, nutritional supplements (like iron or multivitamins) or prescription medications (if needed).


Iron deficiency anemia is one common type of anemia. This is when the amount of iron within the blood is low, which makes there less hemoglobin. This is caused by things such as, lack of iron in the diet, growth spurts, pregnancy, and blood loss. Iron deficiency anemia can be treated by iron pills, and foods high in iron and vitamin C (which helps absorb the iron).


Preventing anemia is something that can be done in your everyday life. The most important things are to eat a healthy diet and get regular exercise. In addition, a multivitamin with iron and vitamin C is also very helpful. Avoiding a lot of caffeine is also crucial because it can prevent iron absorption.


Anemia is a common blood disorder. It can have some serious side effects and greatly deprive energy and oxygen in the body. Knowing the causes and symptoms and getting tested for anemia are simple ways to prevent the most common blood disorder in the United States.



Works Cited


"Anemia Lifeline." . 2002. Amgen Inc.. 27 Jan. 2004 <http://www.anemia.com>.


"Anemia." MEDLINEplus Health Information. 26 January 2004 . MEDLINEplus. 27 Jan. 2004 <http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/anemia.html>.


"Dictionary.com." . 2004 . Lexico Publishing Group, LLC.. 27 Jan. 2004 <http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=Anemia>.