Anemia is usually defined as a decrease in the amount of red blood cells (RBCs) or hemoglobin in the blood. It can also be defined as a lowered ability of the blood to carry oxygen. When anemia comes on slowly, the symptoms are often vague and may include feeling tired, weakness, shortness of breath or a poor ability to exercise. Anemia that comes on quickly often has greater symptoms, which may include confusion, feeling like one is going to pass out, loss of consciousness, or increased thirst. Anemia must be significant before a person becomes noticeably pale. Additional symptoms may occur depending on the underlying cause.
There are three main types of anemia: that due to blood loss, that due to decreased red blood cell production and that due to increased red blood cell breakdown.
Certain groups of individuals, such as pregnant women, benefit from the use of iron pills for prevention. Dietary supplementation, without determining the specific cause, is not recommended. The use of blood transfusions is typically based on a person’s signs and symptoms. In those without symptoms, they are not recommended unless hemoglobin levels are less than 60 to 80 g/L (6 to 8 g/dL). These recommendations may also apply to some people with acute bleeding. Erythropoiesis-stimulating medications are only recommended in those with severe anemia.
Anemia is the most common disorder of the blood, affecting about a quarter of the people globally. It is more common in females than males, among children, during pregnancy, and in the elderly.
Anemia. (2016, October 7). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 00:17, October 7, 2016, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Anemia&oldid=742972693