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Anemia is a deficiency of red blood cells or hemoglobin in the blood The word anemia comes from two Greek roots together meaning without blood At the beginning of the nineteenth century anemia referred to the pallor of the skin and mucous membranes After medical science advanced blood cell counts could be done Anemia became the disease we know todayMild anemia may have no outer symptoms Weakness fatigue and pallor are very common symptom Symptoms of severe anemia are shortness of breath rapid heartbeat lightheadedness headache ringing in the ears irritability restless leg syndrome mental confusion dizziness fainting and dimmed visionIron deficiency anemia- the most common type of anemia occurs because of low iron levelsFolic acid deficiency anemia- levels of folic acid are low because of inadequate dietary intake or faulty absorptionPernicious anemia- inability of the body to properly absorb vitamin B12Hemolytic anemia- red blood cells are destroyed prematurelySickle cell anemia- inherited abnormality of hemoglobin occurs mainly in people of African or Mediterranean decentThalassemia anemia- inherited disorder in the synthesis of hemoglobinAplastic anemia- decreased bone marrow productionDetermining the cause of anemia is very important because it may be the sign of a very serious illness A physician should ask about family history of anemia gallbladder disease jaundice and enlarged spleen A stool test should be done and the physician should check for swollen lymph nodes an enlarged spleen and pallor Laboratory tests can test both the numbers of red blood cells as well as look at their appearanceBecause there are so many different types of anemia as well as causes treatments vary widely If the type of anemia results from a vitamin deficiency and there is no underlying cause treatment is simple Vitamin supplements can be taken or a change in diet can be made Transfusions and bone marrow transplants for some other types of anemia can be made New drugs are currently being tested to help anemic patientsBibliographyhttpwwwhealthynetlibrarybookshealthyselfwomensanemiahtmhttpwwwwebmdlycoscomcontentdmkdmkarticle5461922httpwwwsleeptightcomEncyMasterAanemiahtml httpwwwsleeptightcomEncyMasterSsicklecellhtmlUnderstanding Anemia by Ed Uthman MD
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