Finding Out That You Are Anemic
You have surely heard of crimes committed in cold blood. Lovers are said to be hot-blooded. People with a specific talent or drive often say it is in their blood. We use blood to describe a variety of feelings and situations, especially when we want to explain something strong, powerful, or inevitable.
Humans and animals need blood to survive but, like anything else in the body, it too can experience problems, such as the condition of anemia. Therefore, it is imperative to find out if you are anemic.
Symptoms of Anemia
The purpose of the blood in your body is to carry oxygen and other kinds of nourishment throughout your body. It may surprise you to know that an adult has only about one gallon of blood in their body. Think of this the next time you pick up that carton of milk or orange juice.
Although blood appears to be just one solid red mass, there are actually several different components to it. Human blood can be separated into three parts.
Most of your blood is made of a substance called plasma, which consists of various proteins that help your blood do its job properly. The rest of it contains of a mixture of cells, each with its own function.
The white blood cells have the job of helping you battle any viruses or foreign substances that enter your body. Red blood cells, also called hemoglobin, are responsible for distributing oxygen where you need it, and the platelets function by giving your blood the ability to clot, which prevents excess bleeding.
Diseases such as hemophilia, leukemia, and even malaria are disorders that are caused by or affect your blood. Anemia is another kind of blood disease. Basically, anemia is characterized by not having enough red blood cells. As a result, there is less oxygen getting to the tissues.
For some people, anemia has no apparent effect, but others may be subjected to feelings of exhaustion or losing their breath quicker than someone without the condition. Other warning signs for anemia include an ashen complexion, rapid heartbeat, unpleasant coldness in your extremities, and feelings of lightheadedness. If you experience any combination of these symptoms, it is important to schedule a check-up with your doctor as soon as possible.
A physician can diagnose anemia with a simple blood test. The test typically involves extracting a little of your blood to be viewed with a microscope. Anemia can also be detected through a process called a Coombs test, in which they search for hemoglobin-destroying antibodies.
Different Types of Anemia
Sometimes, the cause of anemia is a severe loss of blood. This can happen as a result of intestinal bleeding, cancers, or ulcers.
While red blood cells are the main culprit in anemia, a shortage is not the only thing that can go wrong with them. A related condition called hemolytic anemia is triggered when red blood cells erupt due to a glitch in your immune system.
Another type of anemia is called Sickle Cell disease. Typically affecting African Americans, this situation occurs when red blood cells inexplicably change shape, becoming more crescent-shaped instead of circular. This means that the blood flowing through your veins has an irregular shape, which can impair your organs as well as produce pain. Sickle cell is a life-threatening problem that is likely permanent.
There is also iron-deficiency anemia, which occurs when your body does not have enough iron. Your bones require iron to create the hemoglobin. Lead poisoning can also affect the production of red blood cells.
The body also needs vitamins, which help to generate red blood cell production. Several kinds of anemia result as a consequence of a lack of vitamin B12, including pernicious anemia and megaloblastic anemia.
Girls at puberty and women of childbearing age can also become anemic due to menstruation or pregnancies. In addition, the elderly, people with kidney disease, and anyone with persistent ailments such as rheumatoid arthritis are also more susceptible to developing anemia.
Treatment Options for People Who Are Anemic
Since anemia is caused by a deficiency of red blood cells, treatment often involves ways to increase their production. One option is to inject the patient with a specific hormone from the kidneys to accomplish this.
A transfusion of blood from someone else is also a common treatment for anemia, especially when blood loss is the chief factor. The red blood cells are withdrawn from the donated blood and then injected into the anemic patient.
Often, anemia can be cured through a change in your diet. For those who have iron-deficiency anemia, eating a variety of iron-rich foods such as liver, dried fruit, and egg yolks may be all that is necessary to fix the problem.
People with vitamin-deficiency anemia, common among those with digestive issues, should try to consume more cheese, shellfish, and beef. Iron or vitamin supplements have also proven effective in the treatment of anemia.