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Anaemia – Causes, Symptoms and Dietary Guidelines

What is Anaemia ?

The blood in our bodies is composed of three types of cells (red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets) that circulate throughout the body.

Red blood cells contain hemoglobin (Hb), a red, iron-rich protein that carries oxygen from the lungs to all of the body’s muscles and organs. Oxygen provides the energy the body needs for all of its normal activities.

Anaemia occurs when the number of red blood cells (or the Hb in them) falls below normal and the body gets less oxygen and therefore has less energy than it needs to function properly.

Signs & Symptoms

It is common for people to ignore symptoms of anaemia or attribute them to other causes.

Anaemia can make it hard to find the energy to enjoy hobbies or other leisure activities, or even to complete basic tasks at home or at work.

Major symptoms of anaemia include:

Because the symptoms of anaemia are easily confused with the symptoms of other conditions, it is important to see a doctor for an evaluation if you are experiencing significant fatigue or other signs and symptoms listed above, or if you already have a serious disease.

Causes

Anaemia may become worse if it is not treated, and it can lead to potentially serious, even life-threatening complications. When the number of red blood cells decreases, the heart works harder, pumping more blood to send more oxygen throughout the body.

If the heart works too hard, it can develop a rapid heartbeat (tachycardia), and/or another serious condition known as left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH), an enlargement of the heart muscle that in turn can lead to heart failure.

Anaemia occurs when the body produces too few red blood cells, loses too many of them, or if red blood cells are destroyed faster than they can be replaced.

Anaemia can have many causes, including:

Treatment

The treatment of anaemia varies greatly depending on the type. Your physician will help you determine the best treatment options, such as diet modification, or nutritional supplements, or medication, if needed.

Dietary Guidelines for Anaemia

Vitamin c helps in better absorption of iron, include sweet lime, orange, Indian goose berry [amla], guava, lime, strawberries, papaya, pomegranate, tomatoes, broccoli, bell peppers.

You also need folic acid to assist in preventing anaemia. Folic acid is mainly found in green leafy vegetables, and you can also obtain a supplement if necessary.

Heme iron, which makes up 40 percent of iron the diet includes lean meat & sea foods are well absorbed. Non heme iron, 60 percent of the iron in animal tissue & all the iron in plants includes beans, nuts, vegetables & fortified grain products are less absorbed.

Brocccoli is one of the vegetable which is high in iron & also in Vitamin C which can be very well absorbed.

Using iron based utensils for cooking will also act as one of the medium of incorporating iron in the diet.

Anaemia can be caused by unnecessary dieting and over-exercise. Also, excessive consumption of alcohol, tobacco, and caffeine causes the body to absorb iron poorly. Avoid over-consumption of these substances.