ANEMİA Symptoms Causes Diagnosis Treatment

Anemia is a condition developing as a result of the reduction of the total number of red blood cells or the amount of hemoglobin in erythrocytes, or both. Hemoglobin in red blood cells binds the oxygen and carries it from the lungs to tissues and organs. As oxygen is essential for cell viability, a reduction in the amount or function of red blood cells has numerous clinical consequences.

Anemia is the most commonly encountered blood disorder. There are many types of anemia with varying causes. Iron, folic acid and vitamin B12 are of critical importance for red blood cells. Iron deficiency may result in “iron deficiency anemia”. In this case, erythrocytes are smaller than normal and fail to function fully and successfully. Folic acid and vitamin B12 deficiency cause erythrocytes become larger than normal and to dysfunction, which is called as “megaloblastic anemia”.

Symptoms

Anemia patients do not exhibit obvious signs. Many patients are not even aware that they are anemic. Patients generally suffer from fatigue, weakness, powerlessness, shortness of breath and tachycardia. Paleness in the skin, lips or nail folds may be observed..

Causes

Anemia may be associated with disorders in red blood cell generation, conditions due to the increase of red blood cell destruction, blood loss and fluid overload. Many different types of anemia may be encountered as a result of these diverse causes. The most common type of anemia worldwide is iron deficiency anemia.

Diagnosis

Diagnosis is made by examining blood values in the laboratory. At first, values such as hemoglobin (HB), number of red blood cells (RBC), hematocrit (HCT), mean red blood cell volume (MCV), red blood cell distribution width (RDW) are considered. After diagnosing anemia based on low HB, HCT and RBC values, the cause of anemia must be established. A definitive diagnosis may be possible after looking at the differences in the forms and sizes of erythrocytes.

When a chronic blood loss is suspected, the gastrointestinal tract may be examined via methods such as endoscopy and colonoscopy etc. For a differential diagnosis of iron deficiency anemia, various values such as the amount of iron in blood and the capacity of hemoglobin molecules to bind iron must be examined.

Treatment

It is extremely important to establish and eliminate the underlying cause before starting treatment. In vitamin and iron deficiency, deficient vitamins and elements must be administered through oral route or via injections. Under normal conditions, blood transfusion is not recommended unless blood hemoglobin is below 7 g/dl. In cases of anemia encountered in late stages of chronic renal insufficiency, drugs increasing the production of erythropoietin, which stimulates blood formation, must be administered.