Anemia – Blood under the weather
Despite all the apples from doctors to eat healthier and diverse food, in our diet there are still too many processed foods and sugar, with less vitamins and minerals. That’s why it’s not a surprise that anemia is a relatively common problem among young children, especially those whose mother also had anemia during the pregnancy. Often this problem occurs with women because of menstruation, people with chronic kidney and liver problems or they have long term bleeding in their digestive tract. Anemia can occur also with people who are doing physical work or athletes during heavy efforts.
Main characteristic of anemia is lower concentration of red blood cells and/or hemoglobin in one liter of blood. Hemoglobin is a protein that’s located inside of red blood cells and its role is to transfer oxygen from lungs to the cells in the body. Although anemia can occur due to lack of B12 vitamin, the most common cause is lack of iron in the body. This mineral is absorbed in duodenum and the beginning part of the small intestine and has a huge role in that absorption has gastric acid and vitamin C.
Always tired without a reason
The condition is diagnosed with a lab test that shows the value of hemoglobin and concentration of red blood cells and their satiation with hemoglobin. In getting a diagnosis helps the value of iron in the blood which normal values range between 8 – 30 mmol/L. Due to this high span in acceptable iron values it’s very important to prepare well for the blood test to get much precise results since heavy physical work, alcohol, some drugs and vitamins supplemented food can give false results.
People who should consider anemia as a health issue are those who get tired quickly during physical work, they are sleepy without any reason, their heart has a higher pump rate or they have a sense of choking. Often headaches, irritability, dizziness, lack of appetite can also point toward anemia. People who have anemia can be recognized by their pale skin, their tongue is red and smooth, corners of their lips cracked and nails are easy to break. Children with anemia usually develop more slowly from their peers, they have problems with concentration, memory and are more susceptible to illness.
Treating anemia always depends on the cause, but sometimes it takes a value to find the right cause. Long term chronic illness can often be a cause of anemia but due to the importance of the primary illness anemia can be overlooked and in this case it should be treated along with primary illness.
Persistence gives results
Today anemia is easily treated with iron supplements, but they should never be taken without consultations with a doctor who will prescribe specific dosage and type of supplement. That is especially important for older people whose digestive tract absorbs more slowly and people with stomach problems that are using anti acid supplements on their own but they can cause problems with iron absorption. Some other drugs like tetracycline and sulfonamide can also disrupt the absorption of iron. Important thing to know is that anemia can’t be solved overnight and it usually takes weeks or months to fix the problem.
How to help yourself?
Major number of anemia in the population is due to bad eating habits, by taking food that has low iron values or causes the problem with iron absorption in some way. Natural sources of iron in food are meat, fish, liver, eggs, integral cereals, green leafy vegetables and fresh fruits. Iron from meat and fish are 4-5 times better absorbed by our body than those coming from fruits or vegetables, but those are also rich in vitamins especially those rich with vitamin C which helps in iron absorption. So a healthy and broad eating menu is advised to keep iron in check.
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