Anemia may not manifest itself for a long time, and a person has no idea that he has low hemoglobin. But anemia always has a cause, which is important to find and eliminate!
Signs of anemia include frequent fatigue, physical weakness, pale skin and mucous membranes. Iron deficiency anemia can also manifest itself as shortness of breath, dizziness, tinnitus, and a sudden increase in heart rate. The skin can become dry, nails brittle, flaky.
True, people, especially those leading a sedentary lifestyle, often attribute these symptoms to the fact that they do not move much, gain weight, and do not go to the sun.
Common causes of anemia
There are quite a few factors for the development of anemia. Let’s list the most common ones.
Chronic blood loss is a common cause of iron deficiency anemia in young women with heavy periods. For treatment, doctors prescribe either iron supplements during, before and after the “critical days”, or oral contraceptives, which reduce the intensity of bleeding. However, blood loss can also occur due to frequent nose or gastrointestinal bleeding. This is where the diagnosis and treatment can be more complex.
Lack of iron, vitamin B 12 (cyanocobalamin), vitamin B 9 (folic acid), individually or all together, can occur due to the lack of food with these substances in the diet – this is typical for followers of very strict diets or constant food restrictions. We usually get enough vitamins from food if the diet is varied, but there may be difficulty in absorbing vitamins.
Often the reason for the lack of iron is constant and subtle blood loss, vitamin B 12 – disturbances in the work of the gastrointestinal tract. Chronic gastritis, gastroduodenitis, enteritis usually lead to anemia.
Increased blood destruction (hemolysis) also leads to anemia. At the end of their life (about 120 days), red blood cells are destroyed in the spleen. In the presence of hemolysis, the destruction of blood cells occurs prematurely, which leads to a decrease in the life span of red blood cells. Anemia develops when the bone marrow does not have time to synthesize enough red blood cells to replace the destroyed ones.
How to check?
A clinical blood test with a leukocyte formula will show the number of all blood cells. It will be seen whether you have anemia, whether there is an inflammatory process in the body, blood loss, whether there is a suspicion of allergy or helminthic invasion.
Reticulocytes are erythrocyte precursor cells. Their number shows how correctly the process of hematopoiesis in the bone marrow is going.
Bilirubin is common and direct – bile pigment, the end product of the breakdown of hemoglobin.
Iron, vitamin B 12, vitamin B 9 are substances necessary for the synthesis of hemoglobin.
Transferrin is a protein that transfers iron from the intestine to places where blood is synthesized and stored (bone marrow, liver, spleen). Its increase or decrease indicates different causes of anemia.
Ferritin is an indicator that reflects the storage of iron in cells and tissues.
The latent iron-binding capacity of serum is the ability of transferrin to bind iron. Indicates iron deficiency.
If your stomach hurts often …
With age and with chronic gastrointestinal diseases, problems with the absorption of vitamin B12 often begin. This can lead to B12-deficiency anemia. It can be accompanied by a decrease in thinking ability, depression, tingling of the fingers or their periodic numbness.
The laboratory test “Determination of antibodies to Castle’s factor – intrinsic factor (AVF)” will help to identify the cause. Intrinsic Castle Factor is a protein produced by stomach cells. It is he who ensures the absorption of cyanocobalamin in the intestine. With autoimmune gastritis, the body’s own immunity synthesizes antibodies that destroy the internal Castle factor. Most often this happens with atrophic gastritis.
Timely tests and a subsequent visit to a therapist or gastroenterologist will help to get rid of anemia at no extra cost and take control of its causes.