Anaemia is very common medical condition, where the body does not produce enough healthy red blood cells or excessively destructs blood cells.
Most people have anaemia due to poor dietary habits and inadequate nutrition while certain forms of anaemia are hereditary.
Some of the early warning signs , which are common across all 400 types of anaemia are:
Fatigue : The most common warning sign of anaemia is fatigue. It occurs because the body doesn’t have enough Red Blood Cells to carry haemoglobin which contains oxygen to the cells leading to exhaustion.
Pale Skin : Paleness of the skin is usually dependent on the thickness and density of blood vessels below the skin. A lack of red blood cells due to anaemia
A very pale pallor can also be due to sickle cell anaemia ( a medical condition where abnormally shaped red blood cells block the flow of blood).
Swollen or Sore tongue : A big warning sign of anaemia is an anaemia tongue wherein ones tongue gets inflamed due to low iron levels in the body. The surface of the tongue can often smoothen out or your tongue can morph into different shades.
Swollen Hands and feet : Swollen hands and feet are a symptom of sickle cell anaemia. In sickle cell anaemia, the sickle shaped red blood cells clump together and block the flow of blood in the body – leading to the blood flow being cut off from the tissues and organs.
Shortness of breath : This occurs because the red blood cells carrying oxygen have less haemoglobin and less capacity to bind oxygen causing shortness of breath.
Brittle nails : Nails have a protective hard layer called keratin that protects the soft tissue in your nails. Lack of red blood cell production due to anaemia prohibits the growth of nails. Ridges and banding in the nails are often indicators of anaemia.
Appetite for inedible items : Pica is defined as a craving to chew or eat substances of no nutritional value such as ice, paper, chalk, pencils, wall putty etc. These unusual cravings in order to satiate the body’s appetite for iron must not be ignored as it is the first sign of anaemia.
Sickle cell anaemia is a very severe form of anaemia and is often inherited. Although those suffering from anaemia and sickle cell disease suffer from fatigue, pale pallor, shortness of breath, people suffering from just anemia rarely suffer from frequent chest infections or have painful crisis
Sicklers or people suffering from sickle cell anaemia, often have painful crisis situations, when the haemoglobin can even drop to between 1 and 3 leading to even death within few hours.
Although Sickle cell anaemia can be managed with hydroxy urea, if the patients has reached a point where he or she suffers from chest infections, frequent painful crisis, or needs a hip replacement or shoulder replacement, a bone marrow transplant should be considered.
A bone marrow transplant, with matching donors has more than an 85% success rate and is the only possible cure and treatment for sickle cell anaemia.
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