A person is said to have anaemia if he/she has a reduced number of red cells or amount of haemoglobin in the red cells or both, so that in the end the level of Hb expected for the person’s age and sex is reduced
How does a person get anaemia?
To understand this, remember these four facts; the bone marrow needs nutrients from good food, like iron, proteins and vitamins to make the red cells; the red cells are normally kept from flowing out by intact blood vessels; and the red cells are made in the bone marrow.
A problem in any of these four areas can lead to anaemia. Thus:
Poor diet – Not eating the right foods containing iron, proteins and vitamins
Bleeding – we lose blood and thus red cells. Any unusual bleeding must be reported early for correction. Worms and bowel disease can cause bleeding which may not be obvious.
Destruction of red cells before their time is up – because e.g. their shape is abnormal as in sickle cell disease.
Bone marrow disease – the space for making red cells may be taken over by bad cells.
How does one know he/she has anaemia?
Since red cells are the ones that carry good air for use by all the body cells for energy, it means without it there will be loss of energy. Not having enough energy makes a person less able to concentrate on whatever work they have to perform. The body’s attempts at getting in more air makes the person pant. The red colour of the cells make the nails, lip etc pink, so with reduced numbers they look pale.
Why should a person with anaemia be concerned?
Anaemia makes a person unable to perform his/her normal duties and therefore their contribution to family and society goes down. Children with anaemia perform below their standard at school. Adults with anaemia may be harbouring a bad disease which if found early could be cured.
A person is said to have anaemia if he/she has a reduced number of red cells or amount of haemoglobin in the red cells or both, so that in the end the level of Hb expected for the person’s age and sex is reduced What should a person with anaemia do?
Correct the causes e.g. improve on a poor diet. If the person not know why, as happens in most cases, the person has to go to the hospital and see a doctor who will first talk to him or her, feel his body for disease, and then check that he or she really has anaemia by measuring the Hb which will be low. Other tests will also be done to find the cause. Once the cause has been found, the correct treatment can be given.
How is anaemia treated?
Anaemia is treated by getting rid of the causes and raising the haemoglobin level to its normal. With the commonest cause of anaemia which is iron deficiency, one may have to take the tablets for as long as 6 months. Occasionally some may require blood transfusion, surgery and other more demanding treatments. As in all diseases, the earlier it’s reported the better.