What is anemia?

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Anemia is a medical condition wherein there is not enough red blood cells in the blood. Along with white blood cells, and platelets, red blood cells or RBCs perform important functions in the body’s circulatory system. One vital function is the transport of oxygen in the blood stream. This particular function is carried out by hemoglobin which is a major component of RBCs. When this component is low, a person is said to have anemia. With hemoglobin being the main component, some people also refer to anemic patients as lacking hemoglobin. A person may have anemia through a variety of reasons. Some people have it because of inheritance and genetics. People with existing medical conditions like kidney problems and cancers may also have low red blood cell count. People who lost a lot of blood due to injury are also expected to get anemia. People with nutritional deficiencies like those who lack Vitamin B and iron may also become anemic. When there is anemia, not enough oxygen will reach the various organs and tissues in the body. This will then result to overall body weakness and pale skin. Some people will also tire easily and will have shortness of breath even during minor exertion. Some people will also get dizzy or have headaches. Diagnosis of anemia is through a blood test in the form of CBC or complete blood count. Once diagnosed, patients are often advised to take the necessary action in order to promote the production of normal levels of red blood cells. Symptoms may not be too serious at first but if the condition progresses, the lack of oxygen in major organs may lead to breathing and heart problems. Vitamin supplements and proper diet and nutrition advice are typically given for patients with anemia. For serious cases, hormonal therapy and strong medication may be necessary. There are also instances wherein blood transfusion or bone marrow transplants may be necessary.

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