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A Guide to Anaemia Aymptoms
Anaemia is a condition that affects millions of people globally and can have subtle symptoms. It may be easy to dismiss anaemia as something you can ignore – but it’s important to be aware of the signs and be able to recognise them early on. Whether you’ve been feeling more tired than usual, struggle with shortness of breath or seeing your skin look paler than usual – these could all be signs indicating anaemia. In this blog post, we will guide you through the symptoms of anaemia so that if you experience any of them, you know what it might mean and how best to go about getting help.
Anaemia- A brief Introduction
Anaemia is a condition characterized by low levels of haemoglobin, a substance in red blood cells that carries oxygen throughout the body. A variety of factors can lead to the development of anaemia, including diseases such as iron deficiency, vitamin B12 and folate deficiency, overuse of medications and other chronic illnesses, as well as poor nutrition. Since red blood cells carry oxygen throughout the body, a lower than normal number results in decreased oxygen flow to vital organs and tissues. This can cause fatigue, shortness of breath, dizziness, and even heart palpitations. Identifying the cause of anaemia is key to addressing it effectively; with appropriate diagnosis and treatment there are far-reaching benefits on overall health.
People often confuse the signs and symptoms of anaemia and refer to them as one term. Symptoms of anaemia are what you feel and experience physically and psychologically in the form of fatigue, tiredness and anxiety. Signs are observed by others like health care professionals and physicians, and that helps them form a diagnosis and chalk up a treatment plan.
Symptoms of Anemia
The type of anaemia you are experiencing determines the type and severity of the symptoms. Some of these symptoms are
Anaemia is a condition characterised by the loss, destruction or faulty morphology of red blood cells in the body that carry oxygen from the lungs to other body parts. The damage to the RBCs impacts the haemoglobin with the oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood. Reduced oxygen supply to the muscles and tissues decreases the protein synthesis capacity and stamina, resulting in fatigue experiences.
Faulty oxygen supply to all body parts, including the brain or, precisely, the cerebellum, results in swelling in the brain's blood vessels with fall in blood pressure resulting in dizziness and lightheadedness symptoms. Decreased blood flow to the brain is a serious problem and can lead to slurred speech, loss of balance, vision problems, and dizziness.
A deficit in the haemoglobin levels in haemolytic patients ( anaemia ) leads to iron deficiency and compromises the body's capacity to carry and deliver oxygen. The result is a decrease in the maximal oxygen uptake and a decrease in the cardiorespiratory capacity, making it difficult to exercise.
Pale or Yellowish Skin
Skin redness is attributed to evenly distributed haemoglobin deposits that ensure a healthy complexion and even tone of the skin. Depletion in the haemoglobin and RBC levels results in the shunting of the blood away from the skin, resulting in pale or sallow-looking skin. In severe conditions, the skin can look bluish or greyish with sunken-looking eyes.
Irregular Heart Rate
Studies have shown that hypoxia-stimulated chemoreceptors and increased sympathetic activity in anaemic conditions result in tachycardia or irregular heart rate. Reduction in the iron levels impacts the oxygen levels transported to the heart. On perceiving a lack of oxygen, the heart starts pumping more blood to make up for the deficit, resulting in an irregular heart rate.
Anxiety and Depressive Symptoms
Iron regulates several enzymes involved in neurotransmitter activities of the body, like serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine, that play an important role in mood, stress and neural activity levels. Reduced iron levels reduce serotonin and dopamine levels, resulting in mood alteration with anxiety symptoms in patients. Studies have shown that serotonin deficiency can result in a relapse of depression with other psychiatric disorders in patients.
Chest Pain and Other cardiac-related Symptoms
Anaemic systems experience a compensatory response of increased cardiac output to maintain the depleted oxygen supply to various body parts. A low hematocrit ( volume percentage of RBCs in blood added by a reduction in blood viscosity in increasing the cardiac output. But in the process, they cause changes in peripheral vascular resistance. Furthermore, the RBCs produce increased 2,3 diphosphoglycerate, indicating heart problems and accompanying chest pain.
Cold Hands and Feet
Poor blood circulation in anemic conditions reduces oxygen supply to your limbs and makes you feel cold regularly. Lower iron content in the body also impacts the thermoregulation quality by making it harder for the body to store, generate and spread heat. In return, the system retaliates by shivering to send nerve impulses from the hypothalamus to the skeletal muscles to generate heat through rapid contractions.
A meta-analysis of the trials conducted on anaemic patients has shown that patients with anaemia have an approximately 1.39-fold risk of developing cognitive impairment compared to healthy patients. While several researchers have attributed the cause to tissue hypoxia and decreased oxygen delivery to the brain, some have hypothesised about the mitochondrial damage brought about by iron deficiency resulting in a decreased function of cytochrome oxidase and, subsequently, cognitive impairment.
Anaemia, especially Iron-Deficiency anaemia, can decrease a person's appetite, resulting in anorexic changes. Additionally, nutritional deficiency anaemia, due to faulty absorption of iron, folate or Vitamin-12 from the diet either through insufficient diet or because of medical factors interfering with the body's ability to absorb nutrients, can result in malnutrition symptoms.
How to Check if you are Anaemic
The physician can check the state of your haemoglobin and RBCs through the following tests.
Through CBC or Complete Blood tests, the physician assesses your body's WBC count and RBC count with your Haemoglobin levels.
Ferritin tests indicate the iron levels in your blood, and lower ferritin levels indicate anaemic changes.
Liver Function Tests are indicated in sickle-cell anaemia conditions as sickle-cell anaemia, and its treatment through blood transfusion can lead to liver damage.
Additional Diagnostic Tests
Endoscopy, Colonoscopy and ultrasound are other diagnostic tests doctors use to search for internal bleeding causing anaemic changes.
Despite the many potential risks and health concerns associated with anaemia, it is important to keep in mind that early diagnosis and treatment can help to minimize or even prevent any long-term dangers. Regular check-ups with your doctor and paying attention to the possible signs of anaemia can be key to conquering this condition in the most timely and effective way possible. So if you are experiencing any of the symptoms discussed – such as fatigue, pale skin, or headaches – then it might be worth organizing an appointment with your GP right away. As always, stay informed and keep an eye out for anything unusual; this way you can stay on top of your health at all times.
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