What Every Woman Should Know about Anemia
Domlur, Bengaluru Feb 9, 2017
The world is lucky to have women. Every woman breathing in this world goes through a lot of trials and tribulations that the opposite gender will never want to or have to experience.
With monthly menstrual cycles and having to undergo pregnancy, we take for granted the responsibilities most women are born with, and her problems don’t end here. After undergoing a draining phase which is menstruation, or even more tiring, which is pregnancy, by the very nature of these natural processes, disease and ailments find their way in. Anaemia is one such disease more prevalent in women.
imply put, anaemia is a condition caused as a result of the lack of healthy red blood cells or haemoglobin in one’s blood. It is easy to reason why anaemic patients usually look very pale. Haemoglobin is a pigment of your blood which is responsible for binding oxygen in your blood for your body to use. Fresh blood contains oxygen that delivers it to important organs of your body when your heart pumps. Being anaemic means that haemoglobin is lacking, and as a result, its job is not being completed. Due to this, your important organs do not receive any oxygen, meaning without treatment, the whole functioning of your body will be hampered.
Women, as noted above, are the more common victims of anaemia along with young children and patients with other chronic diseases. In a population, for every 2% of anaemia affected men, there’ll be 20 percent of women with the same disease.
A woman’s life cycle is the main reason why women are at a disadvantage where anaemia is concerned. How? Here’s a closer look-https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bTsxINHjU0E
- Menstrual Cycle- A woman undergoes monthly menstrual cycles. During this period, she suffers chronic blood loss. While normal and healthy diet covers for this loss of blood more often than not, women who don’t eat much, or have wrongly begun depriving themselves of important nutrients through bad diet plans will not recover from this loss of blood. As a result, the signs of anaemia start to show up.
- Pregnancy– We all know, during pregnancy, the mother has to intake twice the nutrition to keep the baby healthy. Unfortunately, not eating enough can cause the mother to become nutritionally deficient, and when iron is deficient in the blood, the mother in all likelihood becomes anaemic. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=woU1FSJNG5o
- Diet- In both the causes of anaemia above, diet has already made its mark. If your diet isn’t balanced enough to contain iron, anaemia will show up, irrespective of the gender. Women will be at greater risk because while not ingesting iron, they are also losing considerable amounts of blood.
- Contraceptive Pills And Intra-uterine devices- Intra-uterine devices cause excess bleeding in a woman, which in turn causes anaemia. While the effect of contraceptive pills is not documented, any doctor will ask you to stop the intake of such pills upon oncoming disease.
- Hormonal Changes- We’ve already seen pregnancy and menstruation as primary causes of anaemia. However, pregnancy, puberty, lactation and menstruation all cause hormonal changes in the body during which the body’s demand for calcium and iron is greatly increased, resulting in increased chances of anaemia
- Childbirth- The nature of childbirth is such that a lot of blood is lost during the delivery. In turn, this might cause anaemia post-pregnancy.
- Urinary Tract Infection- Women are the most common victims of urinary tract infections or UTI. The presence of this infection in women increases their susceptibility to anaemia.
- Alcohol, tobacco and other addictions- As if we haven’t stressed the importance of diet enough. Over intake of alcohol and tobacco causes the poor nutritional status of the body, increasing the chances of anaemia.
- Other diseases- Anemia is a common symptom of many other diseases. Some of them are- malaria, worm infestation, chronic renal failure
Warning Signs Of Anemia You Should Know-
We’ve noticed how anaemia is a result of other processes that already cause distress to women. During pregnancy, menstruation, ageing etc. it is easy to mistake the onset of anaemia as just another phase of pain. This is why you yourself, and the people around you must have a keen eye to notice when anaemia strikes. Here are a few symptoms you should look for-
- Fatigue- Who hasn’t had a bad health day? Or a couple of bad health days? The most common symptom of anaemia is also the hardest to notice. If you notice chronic tiredness while performing day to day, even simple activities, consult your doctor immediately. Specifically, fatigue due to anaemia will feel like bone-tiredness, sluggishness and a struggle to get past the day.
- Paleness- Paleness is another inseparable symptom of anaemia. Due to the lack of haemoglobin in your blood, which is responsible for giving colour to your blood, your body will start looking pale, especially the face. When you see increased paleness, do this simple test to increase your suspicions of anaemia. Lift your lower eyelid and look at the skin in the mirror. If it has a lesser pink or whitish colour, consult your doctor immediately.
- Craving For Strange Things- When you do not ingest enough iron through your food, every other things starts to look tastier. During anemia, one has strange cravings for material like paper, clay, sand, dirt and ice. While we know you probably will not act on these cravings, it is probably better to be informed that when you eat such material, initially it will feel like nothing is wrong, even when you consume in larger amounts. If you progress for days giving in to your cravings, eventually, you will develop poisoning due to other harmful material present in these things.
- Hair Fall- Look at your comb for signs of anemia. If your comb is constantly clogged with broken hair, anemia is to be suspected.
- Cold Feet And Hands-Cold feet and hands is a sign that your body contains low levels of iron. These cold feet and hands arise irrespective of the weather. It might be scorching summer, but an anemic will experience cold feet and hands nevertheless.
- Headaches-Stress headaches and migraines might be weekly or monthly nightmare for you. However, if these ailments continue for days consecutively, don’t hesitate to call your doctor. With anemic headaches, no amount of home remedies or analgesics will help reduce the pain.
- Fast And Irregular Heartbeat-Another symptom of having low iron content in blood is fast and irregular heartbeat. Try to feel the nature and speed of your heartbeat with a stethoscope or with your hand. Consult a doctor if you experience such heartbeat without much exertion.
- Anxiety-If you’re experiencing anxiety that is actually eating you up from the inside, then you should look towards the possibility of anemia.
- Tongue Swelling-Swelling and soreness of the tongue are also a symptom of anemia.
How To Treat And Prevent Anemia?
The severity of anemia can range from mild to intense and so does its treatment. Mild anemia can simply be taken care of with good diet and supplements which we will elaborate later. For severe anemia, the doctor might recommend one or more of the following-
- Blood transfusions
- Iron reduction supplements to reduce iron build-up due to blood transfusions.
- Bone marrow transplant
Treating mild anemia and prevention of anemia is a subject of great importance among women. Of course good diet for anemia has been stressed a little too much here, but here is exactly what you need to focus on eating to treat mild anemia and to prevent getting anemia in the future.
The following are some common iron rich foods
- Red meat (beef and liver)
- Dried fruits such as prunes, apricots and raisins
- Iron-fortified cereals
- Peas, lentils soyabeans, baked beans and chickpeas
Vitamin C intake is also important as it helps to absorb iron in your body. You might take oral vitamin C supplements, but it is always good to include some Vitamin C rich foods including citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons, broccoli, berries, and dark green leafy vegetables
Your doctor might also recommend you to increase intake of vitamin B12. Foods rich in vitamin B12 are-
It is always better to not drink alcohol where the health of your body is concerned. However, whenever you drink, try to stay within the daily limits of alcohol intake set by the Royal College Of Physicians. The limits are set to about 14 units of alcohol per week spread evenly throughout the week and with at least 2 alcohol free days. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2dNYk36zk_U .
A good diet and anemia will never be able to interfere with your responsibilities of womanhood.