What is anaemia?

United States
January 31, 2007 3:12pm CST
Anaemia is a deficiency of red blood cells, which can lead to a lack of oxygen-carrying ability, causing unusual tiredness and other symptoms. The deficiency occurs either through the reduced production or an increased loss of red blood cells. These cells are manufactured in the bone marrow and have a life expectancy of approximately four months. To produce red blood cells, the body needs (among other things) iron, vitamin B12 and folic acid. If there is a lack of one or more of these ingredients anaemia will develop.
2 people like this
8 responses
@raveena (1353)
• India
1 Feb 07
Blood is composed of three types of cells (red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets) that circulate throughout the body. Red blood cells contain hemoglobin (Hb), a red, iron-rich protein that carries oxygen from the lungs to all of the body's muscles and organs. Oxygen provides the energy the body needs for all of its normal activities. Anemia (ah-NEE-mee-ah) is a medical condition that occurs when a person does not have enough red blood cells. Red blood cells are important because they contain hemoglobin, a protein that carries oxygen from the lungs to the body's muscles and organs. The body requires oxygen for energy. Therefore, when you are anemic, you may feel tired mentally and physically. When the number of red blood cells decreases, the heart works harder to deliver oxygen where it is needed throughout the body. Anemia may become worse if it is not treated.
1 person likes this
• United States
1 Feb 07
Yeah you are absolutely correct, when the number of the red blodd cells decreases then you have the lack of Hemoglobin and you feel tiredness, you will feel more sleepy. And specially women have to take care of this, I always have tablets atleast 10 days a month and I have started taking more chicken in my diet these days. Thanks for the response.
@navikh333 (529)
• India
6 Feb 07
thanks for your kind info.i have learnt that it comes due to lack of iron in our body. if there is lack of iron,our blood carries less amount of oxygen.............continue as you have told!
• United States
6 Feb 07
Thanks for the response that you have mentioned for my discussion.
@navikh333 (529)
• India
1 Feb 07
hey i read about this in my school times .aneamia is the defficiency in iron.am i right?
• United States
1 Feb 07
Yes it is the deficiency of iron in your blood which isknow as hemoglobin and mostly women have this problem. I take medication for this as I always have low hemoglobin in my body. Thanks for the response.
• Canada
31 Jan 07
I am not really sure what it is . I always thought it was when you were lacking milk but when one of my children was a baby I went to the doctor's with them as they were drinking milk constantly and therefore wouldn't eat anything for me . When I took her in the doctor said if I didn't stop giving her all the milk I was going to cause her to be anaemic . I never did fully understand then and I still don't understand .
• United States
31 Jan 07
What is anaemia? Anaemia is a deficiency of red blood cells, which can lead to a lack of oxygen-carrying ability, causing unusual tiredness and other symptoms. The deficiency occurs either through the reduced production or an increased loss of red blood cells. These cells are manufactured in the bone marrow and have a life expectancy of approximately four months. To produce red blood cells, the body needs (among other things) iron, vitamin B12 and folic acid. If there is a lack of one or more of these ingredients anaemia will develop. What are red blood cells? Red blood cells are made in the bone marrow and circulate in the blood. Through its pumping action, the heart propels the blood around the body through the arteries. The red blood cells obtain oxygen in the lungs and carry it to all the body's cells. The cells use the oxygen to fuel the combustion (burning) of sugar and fat which produces the body's energy. During this process called oxidation, carbon dioxide is created as a waste product. It binds itself to the red blood cells that have delivered their load of oxygen. The carbon dioxide is then transported back to the lungs where it is exchanged for fresh oxygen by breathing. What causes iron deficiency? Most cases of iron deficiency in children are caused by eating a poor diet containing little iron. In adults, however it is most commonly caused by losing blood faster than the body can remake it. A lack of iron in the diet is common in vegetarians because the main general dietary source is red meat. Babies can develop iron deficiency, especially if they have been born prematurely. Their storage of iron is usually not completed until the final stages of pregnancy. An increased need for iron arises when a large amount of cell divisions occur, such as during pregnancy, and during periods of rapid childhood growth. Reduced absorption from the intestine of iron can be caused by diseases of the small intestine such as gluten intolerance (coeliac sprue) or Crohn's disease (inflammation of the intestine). Always consult a doctor for unexplained iron deficiency. The cause could be small ruptures in the intestine due to cancer or polyps (small growths). Ulcers in the stomach and duodenum can also lead to iron deficiency anaemia. This loss of blood from the digestive tract may be so slight as to be undetected on its own. Iron deficiency is more frequent in women who smoke, eat a diet low in iron and have heavy periods. What are the symptoms of anaemia due to iron deficiency? If a person is otherwise healthy, symptoms seldom appear before the haemoglobin (red pigment) drops below 10g/dl. The first symptoms will be tiredness and palpitations (awareness of the heartbeat). Shortness of breath and dizziness is common. If the anaemia is severe, angina (chest pain), headache and leg pains (intermittent claudication) can occur. Besides the general symptoms of anaemia there will be unique symptoms in pronounced and long-term cases of iron deficiency. These will be especially noticeable in the tongue and throat and include: a burning sensation in the tongue. dryness in the mouth and throat. sores at the corners of the mouth. an altered sense of touch. a smooth tongue. in extreme cases the nails can become brittle and spoon shaped with vertical stripes and a tendency to fray. or a 'pica' can arise - an insatiable craving for a specific food, eg liquorice. brittle hair. difficulty in swallowing. Possible deterioration Shortness of breath, palpitation and angina. Iron deficiency can in rare cases cause permanent changes to the mucosa (soft lining) in the throat (Plummer-Vinson syndrome). This condition is a preliminary stage to cancer. How does a doctor diagnose anaemia due to iron deficiency? First, the doctor must be sure that the patient suffers from anaemia and will probably request a blood test. With the result of the blood test, an analysis of the red blood cells will usually be included. In cases of pronounced iron deficiency the red blood cells will be small and pale. An iron deficiency can be identified by techniques that examine the proteins involved in the storage and transport of iron through the body (ferritin and transferrin). What can the doctor do to treat anaemia due to iron deficiency? Examine the patient and prescribe appropriate treatment to deal with the causes of the illness. Prescribe an iron supplement. Medicines Iron preparations. Iron tablets will rapidly reverse anaemia if the underlying cause of blood loss has been treated. The tablets can irritate the stomach and should be taken after food if this is the case. Iron tablets may colour the stools black and may cause constipation or sometimes diarrhoea. Very occasionally there may be a need for intramuscular iron injections to be given instead of tablets, but this is far less common. What can be done to avoid anaemia Eating a varied diet. Good sources of iron include liver, beef, wholemeal bread, cereals, eggs and dried fruit. A doctor should always be consulted immediately if there is loss of blood in the stools or urine. Medical advice should also be sought about persistently heavy periods. A woman who is pregnant or planning to become pregnant, should talk to her doctor about iron supplements.
@Informer (803)
• India
27 Aug 09
HI Neha, You seems like a medical student. Yes I know anemia a bit. It is a deficiency of blood. I also know that you already have wrote about it a lot in this discussion. Lol
@arun713 (43)
• India
19 Jul 08
well anaemia is the quantitative or qualitative decrease in Haemoglobin (Hb)concentration in blood. Hb is a thing which carries oxygen to all parts of the body. due to nutrition deficiency you can have less Hb synthesized in your body. Iron , folic acid and vit- b 12 helps in Haemoglobin synthesis... However you should know that Hb can be normal but still you can get anaemia... HOw? well as the defination of anamia says it is also qualitative decrease ...meaning the HB you have in your body does not have the capacity of carrying the oxygen... this might be due to some genetic defect... like hb alpha or beta chain synthesis... not only routine blood check but aslo Hb typing is necessary to rule out any genetic or chromosal defect...
@huanghaozi (1474)
• Egypt
9 Feb 07
Anaemia is a condition which occurs when you have an abnormally low amount of red blood cells. Red blood cells contain haemoglobin, a red pigment which gives blood its colour. The job of haemoglobin is to carry oxygen around the body. When red blood cells and therefore haemoglobin are low the blood fails to supply the body's tissues with sufficient amounts of oxygen. As your lungs and heart will then have to work harder to get oxygen into the blood, symptoms of anaemia, such as difficulty in breathing will begin to develop. Anaemia mainly affects women during pregnancy or women who suffer with heavy periods.
@wmg2006 (5383)
• United States
5 Feb 07
I was anemic when I was a teenager. My choices to cotrrect this problem was to eat liver(ugh) or take these real BIG red iron pills. I took the pills because I hate liver. The pills were so hard to swallow and after a time if I seated at all I smelled like the iron pills. It was horrible. Due to this anemia I would get nosebleeds for no reason, whether I was playing and getting hot or if I was just standing around doing nothing. Then my nose would not stop bleeding. I was lacking the coagulate to clot the blood, because of the Anemia. It is not a good thing to have and everyone should try to put some form of iron in their diet to avoid this as much as possible.