Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Anemia: Highly prevailing in India

Anemia is a condition that develops when blood lacks enough healthy red blood cells or hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is a main part of red blood cells and binds oxygen. If the count of red blood cells is low or if they are abnormal, hemoglobin will be abnormal or low and cells in the body will not get enough oxygen. Symptoms of anemia like fatigue occur because organs aren't getting what they need to function properly.

Anemia is the most common disorder of the blood. Estimates suggest that over one third of the world’s population suffers from anemia, mostly iron deficiency anemia. India continues to be one of the countries with very high prevalence. National Family Health Survey reveals the prevalence of anemia to be 70-80 per cent in children, 70 per cent in pregnant women and 24 per cent in adult men.

Anemia can cause serious problems in children and pregnant mothers such as respiratory failure, cardiac arrest, breathlessness, low blood pressure, maternal death, low birth weight etc. Prevalence of anemia in India is high because of low dietary intake, poor availability of iron and chronic blood loss due to hook worm infestation and malaria. Poor nutritional status and anemia in pregnancy have consequences that extend over generations. Anemia needs to be evaluated with blood test.

A CBC (Complete Blood Count) is usually used to count the number of blood cells in a the blood sample. For anemia, the doctor will be interested in the levels of the red blood cells contained in the blood (hematocrit) and the hemoglobin in your blood. Normal adult hematocrit values vary between 38.8 and 50 percent for men and 34.9 and 44.5 percent for women. Normal adult hemoglobin values are generally 13.5 to 17.5 grams per deciliter for men and 12 to 15.5 grams per deciliter for women.

Tips to prevent anemia include consuming vitamin C rich foods such as orange, sweet lime, guava, kiwi, amla, cabbage, sprouts, capsicum, etc regularly in your diet. Doctors usually prescribe Iron tablets in anemia; they should be carefully taken two hours before, or four hours after ingestion of antacids. Inhibitors like tea, coffee, herbal drinks, calcium etc. should not be consumed with iron tablets or immediately after a meal.

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