Anemia (anemia)

Anemia, also called anemia, is a condition in which there is too low a hemoglobin level in the blood. Characteristic symptoms of anemia are a pale complexion, dizziness, palpitations and shortness of breath on exertion. A common cause of anemia is iron deficiency. Treatment of anemia can – depending on the severity and cause – consist of iron tablets and a blood transfusion.

  • What is anemia (anemia)?
  • Symptoms of anemia (anemia)
  • Anemia, how did you get it?
  • Anemia, how do you get rid of it?


What is anemia (anemia)?

The word anemia is derived from the Greek αναιμία, meaning bloodlessness. Anemia has everything to do with hemoglobin , a protein found in the blood of humans and animals. Hemoglobin is located in the so-called red blood cells, which are produced in the bone marrow, especially in the pelvis, vertebrae and ribs. Hemoglobin plays an important role in transporting oxygen through the body and contains an iron core. In the lungs, hemoglobin binds oxygen and in the tissues it releases this oxygen to the cells. In this way, body cells are supplied with sufficient oxygen. People with anemia have too low a level of this so-called red blood dye in the blood and as a result experience various complaints.

Hemoglobin content

The amount of hemoglobin in the blood varies from person to person and is partly determined by the speed at which the red blood cells are broken down in the liver and spleen (after an average lifespan of three months). The breakdown products leave the body through the intestines, the iron from the hemoglobin is stored and recycled during the production of new red blood cells. In general, (pregnant) women have a lower hemoglobin level than men, and adults have a higher hemoglobin level than children.

Symptoms of anemia (anemia)

Anemia can develop gradually, which means it can sometimes take a long time before the diagnosis is made. Characteristic symptoms of anemia are:

  • A pale complexion
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Feeling of weakness
  • Palpitations
  • Shortness of breath on exertion


Anemia, how did you get it?

Anemia has several possible causes. The best known cause of anemia or anemia is probably iron deficiency . Iron deficiency is also the most common cause of anemia: iron deficiency is the culprit in approximately 30 to 50 percent of anemia cases. When the body does not have enough iron, it cannot produce enough hemoglobin, resulting in anemia . Anemia appears to be associated with a number of other conditions. For example, rheumatism, leukemia and chronic kidney disease can cause anemia. Hair loss and pica (a condition in which people eat things not intended for consumption such as clay or paper) are also sometimes associated with anemia. Some medications can also cause anemia, such as HIV medications and chemotherapy.

Iron deficiency

Iron deficiency has several possible causes. For example, an inadequate diet can be a culprit, as the body does not have sufficient opportunities to absorb sufficient iron from food, causing a deficiency. It may also be that the body is less able to absorb iron from a complete diet. In addition, certain nutrients prevent the body from adequate iron absorption , such as grains, coffee, tea and milk.
However, the most common cause of iron deficiency is blood loss . This can be very heavy blood loss, such as during surgery or childbirth, but in most cases it is gradual blood loss. For example, some women lose a lot of blood during menstruation, which naturally also reduces the number of red blood cells. Normally, men and non-menstruating women lose about 1 mg of iron per day. However, menstruating women lose 0.6 to 2.5 percent more iron per day. Finally, a deficiency of vitamins and minerals can also cause anemia.

Anemia, how do you get rid of it?

What can you do yourself?

First of all, a wholesome diet is essential as it is the main cause of iron deficiency (and therefore anemia). A complete diet includes varied food, sufficient fiber, fruit, legumes, vegetables and fruit.

What can the doctor do?

If you suspect that you suffer from anemia, you can make an appointment with your doctor. This can use a small, simple finger prick to test whether you indeed have anemia. If this turns out to be the case, he will try to determine the cause of your anemia. What does your diet look like? Do you have gastrointestinal complaints? Do you have a very heavy period ? Depending on the cause and severity of your anemia, the doctor will be able to recommend various treatments. In milder cases of anemia, iron tablets and nutritional supplements are often sufficient ; in severe cases of anemia, hospitalization and/or blood transfusion may be necessary.

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