“Health is Wealth” and “A healthy man is a wealthy man” are taught since kindergarten. According to these, a man’s health is his real wealth as no money or property can buy you your health or bring back your life. The real meaning of these proverbs is understood well in today’s dynamic world. We all are well aware of how one’s health impact one’s life. Today, even common colds and coughs are considered to be dangerous. It is high time that we all understand that ignorance about health issues can be fatal. What if it is only about a normal headache or high blood pressure or low sugar levels, all of this matters.
The same goes with anemia too. Anemia refers to a lack of blood. It is a situation in which the blood does not have enough healthy red blood cells (RBCs). In other words, it results from a lack of red blood cells or dysfunctional red blood cells in the body. This leads to reduced oxygen flow to different parts of the body. Red blood cells have an iron-rich protein, known as hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is essential to carry oxygen from the lungs to all parts of the body and if you have too few or abnormal red blood cells or not enough hemoglobin, the capacity of the blood to carry oxygen to the body’s tissues reduces.
Symptoms of anemia
- Skin pallor
- Shortness of breath
- Fast heartbeat, etc.
Common causes of anemia
- Nutritional deficiencies, particularly iron deficiency
- Deficiencies in folate, vitamins B12 and A
- Infectious diseases, such as malaria, tuberculosis, HIV
- Parasitic infections
Some other causes may also include water, sanitation, and hygiene, lack of knowledge and awareness, etc.
The treatment of this disease varies depending upon its diagnosis.
- Iron supplements are for iron deficiency.
- Vitamin B supplements are for low vitamin levels.
- Blood transfusions are for blood loss.
- Medication to induce blood formation may be used if the body’s blood production is reduced.
Anemia is a grave global public health problem that predominantly affects young children and pregnant women. WHO estimates that 42% of children less than 5 years of age and 40% of pregnant women worldwide are anemic.
The treatment of anemia varies from person to person depending on their age groups. Different groups of people have different symptoms and also different treatments.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the criterion for anemia depending upon the hemoglobin (Hb) value are as follows:
- Children of the age 6 months to 6 years are anemic at Hb levels less than 11g/dL
- Children of the age 6 to 14 years are anemic at Hb levels less than 12g/dL
- Adults who are 15 years and above are anemic at Hb levels less than 12.5g/dL.
Also, anemic patients are of 3 types, mild, moderate, and severe anemia according to the World Health Organization (WHO) classification.
- Mild anemia (hemoglobin 9.0 to 10.9 g/dL)
- Moderate anemia (hemoglobin 7.0 to 8.9 g/dL)
- Severe anemia (hemoglobin less than 7.0 g/dL).
WHO, in 2016 started a five-year project to review the global guidelines for hemoglobin cut-offs. These were to define anemia to provide evidence-informed recommendations on assessing anemia in individuals and populations.
Treatment for anemia must be immediate and monitored by a professional. Negligence about this may lead to further big diseases even causing cancer. It is important to pay due attention even to all small health issues without fail to avoid future major diseases. Anemia is a pointer of both poor diet and poor health. It is challenging on its own, but it can also impact other global nutritional concerns such as stunting, low birth weight, and childhood overweight, and obesity due to lack of exercise. School performance in children and reduced work efficiency in adults due to anemia can have further social and economic impacts on the individual and family.