Anemia

What is anemia?

Anemia means a lack of blood cells. It involves a complex list of symptoms and typically points to an underlying medical problem requiring investigation.

Several forms of anemia exist including:

  • Microcytic anemia – caused by chronic blood loss and iron deficiencies.
  • Macrocytic anemia – leads to a blown up appearance in the red blood cells and an insufficient number of red blood cells circulating in the blood.
  • Folate deficiency anemia – associated with celiac disease, pregnancy, malabsorption of nutrients and alcoholism.
  • Hereditary
  • Other forms of anemia can have their origin in bone marrow failure, can stem from chronic infection, inflammation or exposure to a cold or infection with sphillis. Some specific anemia’s are more common in certain populations.

What are the signs and symptoms of anemia?

Mild forms of anemia can go unnoticed yet laboratory tests will show abnormalities. Severe forms of anemia can produce signs and symptoms including:

  • Weakness;
  • Dizziness;
  • Headache;
  • Ringing in the ears (tinnitus);
  • Lack of energy;
  • Irrritability;
  • Loss of libido;
  • Jaundice;
  • Enlarged spleen; Fake Oakleys and
  • Gastro-intestinal pains.

How is anemia diagnosed?

To make a diagnosis, the physician will use blood tests and blood smear examinations. Bone marrow studies may be used to directly observe the activity and maturation of the red blood cell precursors. Bone marrow aspiration and biopsy are neither difficult nor invasive, can be done as a single procedure and for this reason should be part of the early diagnostic tools in suspected blood diseases.

The physician must also identify the cause that led to the development of anemia. Potential causes include:

  • Blood loss (either acute or chronic);
  • Deficient red blood cell production;
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