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Anaemia: Weak Blood

Your Tired Blood and Your Sexual Health
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Anaemia
Are you always feeling tired? Are you always feeling weak? Then it could be your blood. When your blood is weak or tired, it therefore means you might be anaemic, which consequently means you have no strength. An individual who do not have strength maybe as a result of his/ her anaemia will not be able to have and enjoy good health. Therefore, getting an indebt knowledge of your weakness or tired blood is the first step to solving your blood disorder.

The word anaemia is derived from an Ancient Greek word "anaimia" meaning "lack of blood". It is a medical condition which is characterized by the reduction in the quantity and/ or quality of the blood. Anaemia is caused by a decrease in the ability of the blood to carry or transport oxygen. This could be as a result of the fall in the amount of red blood cells, erythrocytes (quantity) or a reduction in the amount of the oxygen carrying pigments, haemoglobin contained in the red blood cells (quality).

Anaemia is one of the most common blood disorder that is affecting about one-third of the world's population. women, young children and People with chronic diseases are at greater risk of developing anaemia.

Classification of Anaemia

Anaemia can be classified on the basis of the sizes of the red blood cells (RBCs), which are:

Microcytic anaemia
This is a type of anaemia where the sizes of the red blood cells (RBCs) are smaller than usual. It could primarily be as a result of haemoglobin synthesis (erythropoiesis) failure.

Macrocytic anaemia
This is a type of anaemia where the sizes of the red blood cells (RBCs) are extremely larger (megaloblast) than normal. Megaloblastic anaemia is the most common cause of Macrocytic anaemia. It is basically caused by a deficiency of either vitamin B12, folic acid or both. Deficiency of folic acid and/ or vitamin B12 can be either due to an inadequate intake and/ or insufficient absorption.

Normocytic anaemia
This is a type of anaemia where the sizes of the red blood cells (RBCs) are normal, but there is an overall decrease in the levels of haemoglobin in the blood. This could be as a result of acute blood loss, chronic disease, bone marrow failure, etc.

Types of Anaemia

There are different types of anaemia. Some of the most common types of anaemia and there probably causes are: 

Iron deficiency anaemia

This is by far the most common type of anaemia in the world. This type of anaemia is due to an insufficient dietary intake and/ or absorption of iron. Children, pregnant women and breast feeding mothers have a higher than average need of iron. The bone marrow needs iron to manufacture haemoglobin, the part of the red blood cell (RBC) that transports oxygen to the organs and tissues of the body. Therefore, without adequate iron, the body can not produce enough haemoglobin for the red blood cells (RBCs).

Causes

Iron deficiency anaemia could be caused by some of the following:

Heavy Menstrual flow
A substantial amount of iron is normally lost during Menstrual flow, if the menstrual period is heavy a remarkable amount of iron may be lost. Hence, the amount of iron taken may not be enough to replace the amount lost in a month, therefore iron deficiency anaemia might result.

Poor iron absorption
Some prevailing intestinal disease such as crohn's disease or certain surgical procedures may have some level of effect on the rate at which iron is absorbed from the small intestine. If such conditions are prolonged, iron deficiency anaemia might result.

Blood donation
Frequent blood donation could be a factor of iron deficiency anaemia. A substantial amount of iron is lost at every donation, if blood donation happens frequently, iron deficiency anaemia may result.

Poor diet
A diet which is poor in iron especially for infants and vegetarians who consume a lot of processed foods can equally be a cause of anaemia.

Intestinal bleeding
Some medical conditions of the gut such as ulcer can cause enough bleeding to result to anaemia. One might not be aware of such bleeding and therefore there might not be any control measures to stop the bleeding. If such intestinal bleeding is severe and prolonged, it might lead to iron deficiency anaemia and death may even occur.

Drugs
Certain drugs such as aspirin, foods and some caffeinated drinks could also be a cause of iron deficiency anaemia.

Haemolytic anaemia

This is a type of anaemia or a blood disorder where there is an unusually excessive or chronic break down or destruction of red blood cells (RBCs). In this disorder, the red blood cells (RBCs) are made to rupture spontaneously or by an external Trigger mechanism which could be caused by Infections, Exogenous substance, toxins, etc. or could be because the cells are too fragile and cannot withstand the basic routine stress of circulation in the vessels, hence are set to abnormally rupture or broken down prematurely. Certain blood diseases may also increase the abnormal destruction of the red blood cells (RBCs).

Cause

Haemolytic anaemia could arise as a result of chronic disease, infection, toxic chemicals or autoimmune disorder. Some of which are:

Malaria
This is an infection cause by a protozoa called plasmodium. There are different species of plasmodium, four of which causes malaria in Humans. They are, Plasmodium ovale, Plasmodium fulciparum, Plasmodium vivax and Plasmodium malariae. These parasites are carried about and nourished with human blood by the female anopheles mosquito. Malaria infection results in the break down of red blood cells (RBCs) in the body. In severe malaria infection, patients suffers haemolytic anaemia as a result of the chronic or excessive break down or destruction of the infected red blood cells (RBCs).

Hereditary
Inherited conditions or blood disorders such as sickle cell anaemia and thalassemia are also a major cause of anaemia.

Chronic disease

Toxins released into the body as a result of some advanced liver disease, kidney disease could also be a cause of haemolytic anaemia. The drugs and/ or chemotherapy treatment for cancer could also cause haemolytic anaemia.

Rhesus (Rh) disease
This is a rare autoimmune disease which is primarily caused by Rh incompatibility. It is the major cause of haemolytic disease of the new born and foetus (erythroblastosis foetalis). This happens when the foetus blood and the mother's blood have Rh incompatibility and basically occur in foetus during pregnancy (foetal life). Some other causes may include:
  • Chronic disease such as leukaemia,
  • Stressor such as Infections, drugs, snakes or spiders venom or certain foods,
  • Severe hypotension,
  • Blood clotting disorder,
  • Severe burns and exposure to certain chemicals,
  • Heart surgery,
  • Haemodialysis,
  • Tumor.

 

Aplastic anaemia

This is a rare, serious and life threatening blood disorder that arises as a result of failure in the production of red blood cells (RBCs). Aplastic anaemia occur when there is a remarkable reduction in the number of stem cells (proerythroblast) or the total absence of these stem cells.

Cause
Aplastic anaemia can be inherited, it can be as a result of an autoimmune disease or it can also be caused by disease such as cancer or damage to bone marrow. Damage to the bone marrow can be caused by Infections, radiation or exposure to certain toxic chemicals.

Sickle cell anaemia (drepanocytosis)

This is an inherited blood disorder that affects the red blood cells (RBCs) and it's ability to bind and transport oxygen to organs and tissues of the body. It occur when the sickle cell gene (SS) has been inherited from both parents, and it is characterized by the production of an abnormal type of haemoglobin: sickle cell haemoglobin (Hbs), which precipitate in the red blood cells (RBCs) when the blood is deprived of oxygen. As a result of this disorder, the red blood cells (RBCs) becomes or assume a crescent shape, a process called sickling. Because of this genetic defect, the the red blood cells (RBCs) sometimes get stuck in tiny blood vessels and causes severe pain. This crescent or irregularly shaped red blood cells (RBCs) often or are mostly broken down prematurely, which results in a chronic shortage of blood, thereby causing anaemia. The blood disorder mainly affects people of African ancestry. Individual who inherits the gene from only one parent (AS) - carrier conditions show no symptoms and are remarkably resistant to malaria.

Megaloblastic anaemia

This is a blood disorder that arises as a result of vitamin deficiency. This is the result of either the deficiency of vitamin B12 or folate or both. It is called megaloblastic anaemia because of the large size of the defective red blood cells (RBCs) seen in the blood. The body needs both vitamin B12 and folic acid to make blood, hence deficiency of either or both leads to megaloblastic anaemia.

Pernicious anaemia

This is a type of anaemia caused by the deficiency of an intrinsic factor or vitamin B12 or both. The most common cause of this type of anaemia is the failure to produce intrinsic factor by the stomach lining, thereby preventing them from absorbing vitamin B12. Pernicious anaemia can also be caused by poor vitamin B12 absorption caused by conditions such as crohn's disease, intestinal parasites Infections, HIV/AIDS Infections, surgical removal of parts of the stomach or intestine.

Summary

Anaemia can most probably cause certain changes and/ or damages to some organs and tissues in the body, since the blood is weak and tired and cannot carry enough oxygen to such organs and/ or tissues therefore suffocating them. anaemia increases cost of medical care and lowers a person’s productivity through a reduced physical ability to work. Anaemia could be a serious life threatening condition.

See a Doctor

If you are experiencing some of the conditions stated above, then it is time to see a doctor. Are you feeling persistently tired, lethargic or fatigued? Are you experiencing palpitation? Having a pale skin? Having spontaneous bleeding around your nose or anus? Are experiencing an unusually heavy Menstrual flow? or you are feeling malaise or having this general body weakness for reasons you can not possibly explain or having incessant loss of appetite. Make an appointment with your doctor get yourself checked and treated. It is time to get well and be happy again.


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