We’ve all felt tired, time and again. It could be more than usual amount of work, lack of sleep, even stress. More often than not, however, the cause could be as singular as anemia or the decreased production of red blood cells, the component of blood responsible for carrying oxygen to various cells and tissues in our body.
What causes Anemia?
Anemia results from either decreased production of red cells or due to presence of defective red blood cells in circulation that get broken down by the body’s immune system. Some of the conditions leading to anemia include:
- Deficiency of certain nutrients, such as Iron, Folic acid, Vitamin B12 and Vitamin C
- Parasitic infestations such as hookworm, and infections like malaria
- Increased blood loss, for instance through high menstrual flow, trauma, stomach ulcers or even certain medication
- Chronic diseases, especially chronic kidney disease
- Genetic – certain rare diseases like Sickle Cell Anaemia run in the family and are associated with several symptoms, including anemia
What are some clues to check if I have Anemia?
Due to lack of oxygenation of tissues, you may be experiencing increased fatigue. In addition, your skin, tongue and inner eyelids may be pale. In severe cases there may be associated jaundice.
Severe anemia can also cause the heart to fail, which can manifest as irregular heartbeats, swelling of legs, and shortness of breath.
When should I see a doctor?
Anemia can be temporary or long-term. It can range from mild to severe forms. It may be a symptom of an underlying disease or an isolated problem. Hence, it is always prudent to get a thorough check-up done once you suspect anemia. In addition, anemia associated with pregnancy can have dreadful complications and requires more vigilant treatment.
Depending on the severity your doctor may supplement you with required nutrients, or advice iron preparations or blood transfusions. With timely treatment, most symptoms can be reversed.