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Signs and symptoms of Anaemia

Your Blood Is Tired...! 
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Symptoms of Anaemia
Are you always feeling tired or weak? Then it might be your blood! Your blood is tired, it might be Anaemia.

Anaemia is one of the most common blood disorder in the world, it is the inability of the blood to bind to and/ or transport sufficient amount of oxygen to the organs and tissues in the body. This is due to a reduction in the amount of red blood cells (RBCs) and consequently haemoglobin in the body. It occurs in all ages, races, genders and ethnic groups.

some of the symptoms or signs of anaemia are remarkable, while others are not and goes undetected in many people. The Symptoms can be related to an underlying cause or conditions or the anaemia itself. Though, the symptoms of anaemia vary according to the type and severity of the anaemia, some of the most reported signs and symptoms of anaemia are:

Fatigue:

This is a mental or physical tiredness, a general body weakness which is caused by low level of red blood cells (RBCs), low level of haemoglobin concentration as a result insufficient level of oxygen in the blood. Hence, organs and tissues suffocate for lack of oxygen, cellular activities also are reduced to minimum which eventually leads to the unavailability of energy for tissue functions and hence the fatigue, general weakness and tiredness anaemic patients feel.

Lethargy:

This is a state of complete lack of energy, a state of being inactive mentally and physically. That is, a degree of inactivity and unresponsiveness cause by anaemia which is as a result of the low level of oxygen in the blood. This level of unresponsiveness is close to or verging to unconsciousness.

Headache:

This is a pain or ache that is felt deep within the head. It is often a symptom of anaemia.

Palpitation:

This is a medical condition where an individual becomes aware of his/ her heart beat. The heart beat is not noticeable normally. But with the exertion that accompanies anaemia, a patient normally experience palpitation.

Altered taste:

This is a medical condition known as anorexia. It is a complete or partial loss of appetite, a lack of desire to eat as a result of bad/ altered taste which is common with some anaemic patients. The insufficient amount of oxygen supply to the stomach, intestine and taste glands in the mouth could be the cause.

Tinnutus:

This is a ringing or buzzing sensation of sound in the ear or head that does not have a real external cause. Often times, anaemic patients experiences tinnutus as a result of the insufficient amount of blood and oxygen in their system, more especially the inadequate supply to the head.

Pale appearance:

Anaemic patients often appear pale, having haemolytic anaemia which is caused by the excessive destruction of red blood cells (RBCs). The skin and the eyes appear pale and yellowish. This is a typical appearance of a jaundiced caused by haemolytic anaemia.

Leg pain:

Anaemic patients sometimes feel some level of discomfort or pain around the legs. This pain, sometimes mild but is abnormal and is most likely caused by a reduced blood supply.

Dizziness:

Most anaemic patients, as a result of reduced blood levels and consequently inadequate oxygen content feel dizzy most times. They feel lightheaded, and faintness which is caused by the hypoxia. This is also consistent with the lethargy experienced by most anaemic patients.

Breathing difficulty:

Since the inadequate blood of anaemic patients transport insufficient amount of oxygen, they most often become hypoxic. As the blood oxygen level become thin, breathing becomes light (surface) and difficult as the organs and tissues no longer get enough of oxygen. The patient labours with the breathing, and yet it appears not to be enough, hence the difficult breathing.

This is short for angina pectoris. This is an intermittent crushing chest pain that normally accompanies the shortness of breath experienced by anaemic patients. This is due to the thin or inadequate level of oxygen in the red blood cells (RBCs), therefore the body tends to compensate for this insufficient blood oxygen level by increasing the cardiac output. As a result the crushing pain in the chest. This angina or chest pain in anaemic patients seems to increase on exertion or exercise.

Difficulty concentration:

Anaemic patients sometimes find it difficult to concentrate while doing mental work, or in performing a particular task. This is primarily due to the fall in the quantity of blood and insufficient amount of oxygen carried by this reduced blood to the brain. Therefore, the brain suffers anoxia, hence the difficulty in concentration or inability to stay focus.

Leg cramp:

This is an intermittent claudication of the legs. It is commonly induced on exertion or exercise. It is a painful spasmodic muscular contraction of the limbs that is commonly experience by most anaemic patients. This is basically caused by an inadequate supply of blood and/ or oxygen to the affected muscles. It is commonly seen in the legs of anaemic patients.

Insomnia:

This is a sleeping disorder experienced by most anaemic patients. It is the inability of an individual to fall asleep and/ or remain asleep for an adequate period of time. This results in a debilitating tiredness which is common to most anaemic patients. This is most likely caused by an inadequate supply of blood to the brain, organs and tissues in the body.

Cold hands and feet:

This is one of the most common symptoms of anaemia. As a result of the reduced blood level in anaemic patients, oxygen and nutrients are also cut short, and eventually the hands and the feet develop some level of coldness. This could be because the cells and tissues suffocates from the anoxia, and most times it often leads to some degree of numbness and loss of the sense of touch.

Confusion:

In some anaemic patients, confusion is a major symptom. Due to the reduced blood volume, the amount of oxygen reaching the brain is insufficient.  The brain suffers anoxia and is expressed as confusion. In Some patients, this could cause lack of clarity and/ or order. The patients also often experience some level of disorientation.

Loss of consciousness:

In severe anaemia, the excessive fall in the volume of blood supply to the brain leads to a reduced brain activity which can eventually cause loss of consciousness. This is a state where the patient is partially or totally unaware of his/ her surroundings and is unresponsive to stimuli.

Increased thirst:

In anaemia, the reduced blood volume tends to increase osmotic pressure of the blood. This is detected by the hypothalamus in the brain. The hypothalamus then stimulates and activates the thirst mechanism. Therefore, the body normally tends to compensate for the fall in blood volume in anaemia by increasing the thirst of anaemic patients to drink substantial amount of water.

Memory loss/ dementia:

The brains normally requires adequate amount of blood and oxygen supply to function properly. When the brain oxygen levels drop, brain activities also drops. Since anaemia is a blood disorder that is characterized by an inadequate blood supply and insufficient oxygen levels, brain activities and functions also drops. Therefore, anaemic patients often feels disoriented, confused, personality change, loose focus, lessening of intellectual capacity and experience memory loss.

Malaise

This is a feeling of being sick, a feeling of general body discomfort. A general feeling of unwell. A feeling of some level of unexplained disorientation. This is common to anaemic patients.

Depending on the underlying cause of anaemia, other symptoms may also arise, some of which include:

  • Unusual craving for specific foods,
  • Painful cracks at the corners of the month, 
  • Difficulty swallowing,
  • Brittle and spoon shaped nails,
  • Loss of sense of touch, tingling (pin and needle) sensation,
  • Jaundice, yellowing of the skin,
  • Abdominal pain,
  • Spontaneous bleeding under the skin or from the gums, nose, Vagina or anus,
  • Black stools, or presence of blood in the stool (feaces).


Your health

Anaemia could be a serious life threatening condition. An anaemic blood is a weak or tired blood, and a weak or tired blood can not partake and enjoy the functions of life effectively. Anaemic patients could possibly experience general body weakness, lack of focus, lack of concentration which will translate into reduced work output. All these could be attributed to lack of energy, fatigue, lethargy and tiredness which are a common symptoms of anaemia. Therefore, anaemia could be a major cause of poverty in a society.

See a Doctor

If you are experiencing some of the Signs and symptoms 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 you experiencing an unusually heavy Menstrual flow? or you are feeling malaise or this general body weakness for reasons you can not possibly explain. Make an appointment with your doctor get yourself checked and treated. It is time to get well and enjoy a happy and feel healthy again.


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