Anaemia - Know it to cure it!

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Anaemia - Know it to cure it!

Anaemia - Know it to cure it!

How often do you feel tired, depressed and weak? In this fast paced, tech-driven, high – stress world, perhaps every day. But did you know that these could also be the signs of anaemia, one of the most common problems to affect blood – the most important fluid in our body? The malady is common and very often goes undetected, being attributed to sleep deprivation and stressed lives. However, if you find these symptoms persisting even after resting well, stick up the red flag and see your medical practitioner immediately.

So what really is Anaemia and what are the causes? Anaemia is a condition in which the Red Blood Cells or RBCs are not able to do their job of supplying oxygen to the body well. This could be because there aren’t enough RBCs in your blood or because the blood lacks enough haemoglobin – the critical iron-containing molecule that carries oxygen to different body tissues. This lack of oxygen to one of the most important organs in the body – the lungs – is the chief reason you feel lethargic and weak.

Anaemia could be present due to several reasons like mineral deficiencies (lack of vitamin B 12 or Folate), excessive blood loss (haemorrhage, disease) or insufficient production of blood by the body. One of the most common causes, however, is not having sufficient amount of iron in blood. This could be the result of an iron-deficient diet or your body not being able to absorb enough of it. Either case results in your blood cells working at less than their optimal levels in supplying oxygen to different organs and you end up Anaemic.

Although Anaemia affects humans regardless of gender, women and children are at a higher risk. Did you know that as a ‘Population Billionaire’ India has the largest number of anaemic people in the world? Women get the short end of the Anaemia stick with over 70 % suffering from this debilitating condition. Children face a worse scenario at almost 80% while men are increasingly going above the average of 40%-45%. These figures are astounding as well as disturbing; however this can be controlled with proper diet and medication.

So, are you Anaemic? Here are a few symptoms that you should look out for:

- Frequent pain in legs

- Fatigue

- Frequent episodes of irritability

- Short – temperedness

- Lethargy and general tiredness toward the end of the day, especially if you are a woman working outside of home

If you are suffering from even a few of these symptoms at the same time, head to your medical practitioner for a complete check up of the blood. Your doctor will prescribe a CBC or a Complete Blood Count and will be most interested in the levels of Haemoglobin – one of the most important indicators of Anaemia related to iron deficiency. In women, desired level of Haemoglobin (as per WHO standards) is more than 12 and in men it should be at a minimum of 14. One thing to note in test results showing low levels of Haemoglobin is that it could also be an indication of Thalassemia – the weakening and destruction of RBCs and must be treated appropriately.

Anaemia, whether related to iron deficiency or the lack of other minerals and vitamins like vitamin B12, Folate and vitamin A can be easily controlled and good health can be restored with proper diet and supplements plus medication. Follow a diet plan heavy with iron-rich foods like dark leafy-green vegetables, whole-grains, nuts, beans & legumes and fruits like apricots & prunes. Start your day with iron-fortified cereals and if you are a meat eater, include more sea food, fish & poultry in your daily diet.

Finally, be positive and know that Anaemia is a small problem that can be easily taken care of. And laugh a lot – they say it’s the best medicine!