By Dr Harsh Sharma, DHMS, BHMS
Published July 16, 2014, Last updated October 21, 2016
What is Anaemia
Anaemia is a condition of the blood when either the number of red blood cells or the haemoglobin levels of the red blood cells decreases. Haemoglobin is the protein present in the red blood cell which is responsible for the transport of oxygen through the blood to the various body parts. Therefore, any deficiency of either the red blood cells or the haemoglobin level in the red blood cells will cause a deficit of oxygen in the various body parts. Anaemia is actually the most common blood condition that affects people. Mostly, the cause of this condition is nutritional in nature though some pathological causes can also be present. The minimum requirements of haemoglobin vary a bit in males and females. In males, a minimum of 14 gm/100ml is required whereas in the case of females, it is 12gm/100 ml.
Symptoms of anaemia
The symptoms that are commonly observed because of the presence of anaemia are actually because of the reduced flow of oxygen to the various tissues of the body, which decreases their capacity to function to the best of their ability. The most common symptoms of anaemia are the feeling of weakness and tiredness, lack of physical stamina, breathlessness on the slightest exertion or walking upstairs and palpitation of the heart. All these are the manifestation of an increased requirement of oxygen which the body is unable to cater to. Headaches are another common manifestation of anaemia. Usually anaemic people get irritated very soon and they may be at odds to understand the cause of this irritability. The person may feel a bit dizzy when trying to stand up from a sitting position or a sensation of vertigo may be felt. The skin of the face, hands and feet are usually a bit pale. The mucous membranes of the mouth may also be pale and the conjunctiva in the eyes will also be paler than normal. The normal pink colour of the nails is also lost and are pale to look at. Another common symptom of anaemia is hairfall. There may be soreness in the mouth or the tongue. Another manifestation of anaemia is that there is an inordinate craving for eating some indigestible and unnatural things like earth, chalk and even paper. In females, disturbance in the menstrual cycle occurs and there may be frequent menses or too profuse menses.
Causes of anaemia
In most of the cases, the anaemia is caused by nutritional deficiencies. Insufficient intake of iron is the most common reason for anaemia. In some other cases, there may be a deficiency of Vitamn B 12 and folic acid. Pure vegetarians who do not consume any animal products are at a much higher risk of a deficiency of Vitamin B 12 as it is found mainly in animal sources. In the case of children, the most common cause of anaemia is improper nutrition as the kids these days are munching more and more fast food which is high on calories and low on nutrition. This causes obesity which means that the child is healthy to look at but is anaemic otherwise. Presence of hookworms or other worms may also cause a loss of blood from the intestines which gets discharged with stool and often goes unnoticed. In females, the most common cause of anaemia is excessive menstrual bleeding.
Do’s and Don’t’s
It is important to correct the anaemia as early as possible. While the milder forms can be corrected with a few changes in one’s diet, the severe forms might even require transfusion of blood. The common things that one can do to improve one’s haemoglobin levels are —
- Increase the intake of iron. The natural sources of iron are apples, guavas, bananas, green leafy vegetables, cereals, fish poultry and meat.
- Vitamin C helps in the absorption of iron. Therefore, add a little lemon juice to your salad or fruits or vegetables.
- Avoid taking tea or coffee with food as the tannins and the caffeine hinder the absorption of iron.
- Any continuos loss of blood needs to be identified and treated at the earliest.
- Taking iron, folic acid or vitamin supplements can help.
- Supplements of iron, vitamins and folic acid can be taken with the help of your doctor.
Treating Anaemia with Homoeopathy
Homeopathic medicines like China, Ferrum Met, Arsenic and Natrum Mur are very good at correcting the anaemic states in a person, where there is no tangible cause of anaemia.