Read about anemia medical facts: what is the definition of anemia, what are the signs and symptoms, medical treatment & how to treat anemia, and related anemia diseases.

Definition: What is "Anemia"?


Anemia comes from the Greek words "an-hama", which means "without blood". Anemia is the most widespread blood disorder. This condition is a deficiency of RBCs (red blood cells) or hemoglobin, the molecules inside RBCs. When hemoglobin carries oxygen from the lungs into tissues, anemia causes lack of oxygen in organs. When this happens, different clinical consequences may occur due to oxygen deficiency. There are three classes of anemia - excessive blood loss, excessive blood cell destruction & deficient production of red blood cells. Anemia has several types, which are produced by various underlying causes. This disease can be classified using different ways, normally based on discernible clinical spectra, the morphology of red blood cells & etiologic mechanisms.

Symptoms & Signs

Symptoms of anemia can be vague & could go undetected for years. Patients with anemia usually report a fatigue or weakness during exercise, poor concentration & malaise. Severe anemia can produce shortness of breath, palpitations & increased cardiac output, which may lead to heart failure. Pallor is a good diagnostic sign of severe anemia. However, this condition is not always apparent. Other useful diagnostic signs include koilonychia & chelosis. Severe anemia in children may also result in behavioral disturbances as a result of impaired neurological developments during infancy. Such behavioral disturbances can be mistakenly diagnosed as attention deficit disorder.

Treatment: How to Treat "Anemia"?

Treatments for anemia vary depending on causes & severity. Mild to moderate cases of iron deficiency is treated by iron supplementation combined with ferrous sulfate. To absorb iron completely, Vitamin C may also be supplemented. Some doctors recommend vitamin supplementation of folic acid given orally or vitamin b12 given subcutaneously to replace various deficiencies. For severe cases of anemia, those with ongoing loss of blood, blood transfusion may be recommended. However, doctors usually avoid blood transfusion since many patients experience adverse effects.

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