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Anemia: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

By Dr. Kirti Malviya | Diseases | Posted on :   11-Jan-2021

Anemia is defined as a low hemoglobin concentration/ may be due to either low red cell mass/ increased plasma volume. Low Hb is <13.5 g/dL for men and <11.5g/dL for women. It can be due to reduced RBCs production/ loss of RBCs due to several causes. Some forms of anemia include aplastic anemia/ folic acid deficiency anemia/ hemolytic anemia/ sickle cell anemia.

According to the Ayurveda concept, Anemia is generally known as Pandu Roga. It is due to less amount of blood( rakta-alpata). Pandu is considered as Rakta Pradoshaja Vikara. In this case, the patient skin color changes to shveta peet(pandu varna).

Pandu ( Anaemia) according to Acharya Charak is mainly classified into five types:-
1) Vataja
2) Pittaja
3) Kaphaja
4) Sannipataja
5) Mridu Bhakshan Janya

Anemia Causes

  • Blood loss/ decreased red blood cell production/ increased red blood cell breakdown
  • Trauma/ gastrointestinal bleeding
  • Iron deficiency
  • Vitamin b12 deficiency
  • Thalassemia
  • Bone marrow neoplasms
  • Genetic conditions ( sicke cell anemia/haemophilia)
  • Certain autoimmune diseases
  • Blood loss/fluid overload
  • Kidney failure
  • Some endocrine disorders
  • Protein malnutrition
  • Hepatic failure
  • Aplastic anemia
  • Drug-induced anemia
  • Scurvy

Anemia Symptoms

  • Fatigue/ Weakness
  • Decreased energy
  • Weakness/ Numbness
  • Palpitations
  • Lightheadedness
  • Looking pale
  • Cramps
  • Breathlessness
  • Dyspnoea
  • Tinnitus
  • Anorexia
  • Coronary Artery Disease
  • Dryness of skin
  • Excessive salivation
  • Indigestion
  • The yellowness of urine/stool
  • Loss of glow
  • Tinnitus/ vertigo
  • Fever
  • Hair fall
  • Excessive sleep/excessive salivation
  • Cramps in the calf region

When to See Your Doctor for Anemia Disease?

If signs and symptoms appear for a long-duration / some of the following symptoms appear, then you should consult doctor as soon as possible :

  • Tiredness/ vertigo/ excessive fatigue
  • Pale skin/ pale eyes
  • Rapid heartbeat ( tachycardia)
  • Palpitations occur for long
  • Blood in urine/ stool
  • Heavy menstrual periods
  • Hereditary anemia conditions

Diagnosis

  • Hb Examination and levels
  • CBC ( Complete Blood Count)
  • Vit B12 levels
  • Homocystene Serum
  • Ferritine Serum’
  • Peripheral smear microscopic examination
  • MCV (Mean Cell Volume) investigation.
  • In Ayurveda, differential diagnosis is examined by checking vata/pitta/kapha prakriti.

Prevention of Anemia

  • Proper nutrition and diet of Iron.
  • Prevent yourself from infectious and parasitic diseases.
  • When signs and symptoms appear then consult doctor soon.
  • By examining yourself by doctor to check any other disease leading anemia.
  • Take iron supplements under the guidance of Doctor.

Risk Factors of Anemia

  • Premature birth
  • Excessive menstruation
  • Being pregnant/ giving birth
  • Diet low in vitamins
  • Family history
  • Chronic illness ( AIDS/Diabetes/ Kidney disease/ Heart failure/ Liver disease)
  • Trauma

General Tips

  • 3 gm Gooseberry powder three times a day with honey.
  • Dry Grapes intake
  • 1cup beetroot juice + 1 cup apple juice + mixed with sugar/honey = once a day
  • Fresh pomegranate/ fresh bananas
  • Intake of jaggery
  • Intake of anjeer ( fig)
  • Broccoli/ green leafy vegetables/ carrot/ spinach.
  • Peanut butter
  • Intake of kidney beans/ black- eyed peas
  • Avocadoes

What to Avoid?

  • Salty/ sour/ spicy /hot diet
  • Exposure to sunlight
  • Drinking and smoking
  • Excessive exercise
  • Junk foods

What to Eat?

  • Green leafy vegetables such as spinach
  • Carrot/carrot dishes
  • Dates
  • Cherry/ cranberry
  • Jaggery
  • Anjeer ( fig)
  • Pomegranate/ banana
  • Grapes/ mango/ apple
  • Eggs
  • Beetroot juice
  • Apple juice

Questions & Answers

Q.1 What are the reference ranges of Hb in adults and children?
Ans-
Reference ranges are -

  • Men  = 14- 18 g/ dL
  • Women = 12-16 g/dL
  • Pregnant women > 11g/dL
  • Newborn = 14-24 g/dL
  • 0-2 weeks = 12-20 g/dL
  • 2-6 months = 10-17 g/dL
  • 6 months/ 1 year = 9.5-14g/dL
  • 1) 6 years = 9.5 - 14 g/dL
  • 6-18 years = 10-15.5 g/dL

Q.2 Is it normal to have Hb value high?
Ans-
No, it's not to be normal while having high Hb values. High Hb values occur when the body requires an increased Oxygen carrying capacity. It may result in polycythemia/ Heart diseases/ COPD/ emphysema/ heart failure/ kidney Cancer/ liver cancer/ dehydration/ etc.

Q.3 What are the causes of High Hb values?
Ans-
Many factors and various causes are associated with high Hb values like -

  • Smoking
  • Increase count of RBCs
  • Bone marrow produces many RBCs
  • Drugs that increase your erythropoietin that further will stimulate RBCs production.
  • Chronic kidney disease, etc.

Q.4 What sign does eyelid color shows when anemia occur?
Ans-
‘Conjunctival pallor’ is the classic sign of anemia. The pallor refers to the vasculature on the inner surface of the lid lacking Hb conc. It is usually caused by a reduction in blood flow and oxygen / by decreased no. Of RBCs.

Q.5 What are the classifications of Anemia?
Ans-
Anemia is generally classified by two methods:-
1) Morphological
2) Etiological

1) Morphological - It mainly depends upon the size and color RBC. It includes:-

  • Normocytic Normochromic Anemia
  • Macrocytic Normochromic Anemia
  • Macrocytic Hypochromic Anemia
  • Microcytic Hypochromic Anemia

2) Etiological - Depends on cause/ origin, it includes -

  • Hemorrhagic Anemia
  • Hemolytic Anemia
  • Nutrition deficiency Anemia
  • Aplastic Anemia
  • Anemia of chronic disease

Q.6 What happens when Hb value gets lower in Pregnant women? How can it overcome?
Ans-
Hb value gets lower due to insufficiency of RBCs to carry oxygen to tissues. During pregnancy, as a growing fetus also requires oxygen and blood supply, so, it is important to increase iron supplements and dietary intake. Hb low value in pregnancy leads to weakness/ fatigue/ pale/yellowish skin/ breathing shortness/ chest pain/ cold hands and feet/ headaches.

Q.7 What are the various dietary intake to come over the deficiency of Anemia?
Ans-
Various dietary intake includes:-
- consumption of fortified foods.
- vitamin A-rich foods/folic acid/ vitamin B-12/ Iron-rich supplements and food in the diet
- Foods that rich in vitamin-c ( fruits/tuber/ green leafy vegetables) should be consumed at mealtimes.
- Vitamin B-12 rich animal products
- Folic acid rich legumes.
- beta-carotene/ vitamin A-rich foods
- restrict consumption of tea/coffee/ cocoa between meals/ 1 hr after meals, since it inhibits iron absorption.
- avoid intake of milk/ milk-related products at meals as calcium in milk inhibits iron absorption.

Q.8 How the deficiency of Iron affect the Nervous and Endocrine system?
Ans-
It alters the production of Triiodothyronine ( T3) and thyroid function in general,  production of catecholamines and other neurotransmitters, it results in impaired temperature response to a cold environment.

Q.9 Where Folate is found and what are the causes of its deficiency?
Ans-
It is found in green vegetables, nuts, yeast & liver/ synthesized by gut bacteria. Causes of its deficiency include poor diet e.g. poverty, alcoholics, elderly/ increased demand, e.g. pregnancy/ increase cell turnover/
Malabsorption/ drugs/alcohol/ antiepileptics etc.

Q.10 What kind of treatment is available in Ayurveda for Anemia?
Ans-
In Ayurveda medicine, treatment generally includes Nidaan Parivarjan, Samshodhana chikitsa( nidan parivarjan, aabhyantar snehana, tikshana samshodhan with vamana or virechana,raktabasti, Samshamana chikitsa includes rasa, virya ayurveda drug formulations according to vata/pitta/kaphaja/sannipataja prakritis.

 

REFERENCES:-

1. Longmore, Wilkinson, Davidson, Foulkes, Mafi, Oxford Handbook of Clinical Medicine 8th Edition.
2. Kayachikitsa Volume-2 by Prof. Ajay Kumar Sharma (2017)
3. Charak Samhita, Chikitsa Sthana - ch-16
4. Madhava Nidana, Ch-8
5. J.Alastair Innes, Davidson’s Essential of Medicine 2nd edition
6. K Sembulingam, P Sembulingam, Essentials of Medical Physiology 6th Edition.

Dr. Kirti Malviya

Consultant Physician, NirogStreet 

Get Free Consultation 9625991603 | 9625991607 | 8595299366

Disclaimer - The aim of the article is just to convey information to you. Use any medicine, therapy, herb or fruit please do it under the guidance of a qualified Ayurveda doctor.