Anemia, also spelled as Anaemia is a condition when there is a deficiency of hemoglobin or Red Blood Cells (RBC) in blood in human body. It lowers the ability of body to carry oxygen.
Symptoms – The most common symptoms of Anemia are –
- Short breath or inability to exercise
- Excessive thirst
- Brittle nails
- Pale complexion
While in more severe cases, the symptoms might get aggravated and include the following –
- Extreme Fatigue
- Chest pain
- Loss of immunity and frequent occurrence of infections
- Loss of appetite
- Restless legs syndrome
- Soreness or inflammation of tongue
Mainly, Anemia is of three types –
- Anemia due to blood loss – The loss of RBC’s that is caused by bleeding occurs slowly over a period of time. The reasons of blood loss may include trauma, excessive bleeding during menstruation and child-birth, gastro-intestinal bleeding caused by gastritis, haemorrhoids, piles, ulcers and cancer of the bowel.
- Anemia due to decreased Red Blood Cell Production – Either the body may be producing RBCs in insufficient numbers or the RBCs produced may not be working properly. This type of Anemia can bring with itself other diseases such as bone marrow and stem cell problems, sickle cell anemia, thalassemia and many other health problems. . This happens because of deficiency of minerals and vitamins in body that are needed for healthy production and efficient working of RBCs.
- Anemia caused due to deficiency of Iron – The deficiency of Iron leading to Anemia could occur because of shortfall of minerals in the body. Bone marrow, an essential body fluid found inside long bones needs Iron for production of Haemoglobin whose job is to supply oxygen to all the parts of human body. Body fails to produce haemoglobin sufficiently if there is deficiency of Iron. The reasons behind such deficiency could be an iron-poor diet, depletion of iron stores in women during pregnancy or lactation, frequent blood donation, surgeries or ailments related to stomach, menstruation, endurance training, excessive intake or certain drugs or caffeinated drinks.
Anemia is a serious ailment which cannot be diagnosed without medical assistance. If you or any of your family members or friends are having more than one of the symptoms mentioned above for quite some time now, then going for a medical supervision is advisable. After knowing about your medical history, your doctor would do a physical examination and prescribe a few blood tests as well. These include:
- Complete Blood Count
- Serum Ferritin level and Blood Iron level
- Levels of Folic Acid and Vitamin B-12
- Specialized blood tests in case the cause of your Anemia is rare
- Bone marrow examination in severe and rare cases
In such cases, where patient has been diagnosed for presence of Anemia, doctor shall prescribe iron supplements which contain iron in the form of ferrous.
Simple Home Remedies
While medical supervision is something you should not miss, here a few ‘Do It Yourself’ tips and home remedies to combat anemia quickly and effectively. Some of these are dietary tips while others are a few minor modifications you need to make in your daily habits.
- Beetroot – Apple juice – We’ve been hearing since childhood that ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away’ but now its time to prove it right. Mix 1 cup of beetroot juice with an equal quantity of apple juice and 2 tablespoons of honey and have it regularly for some days. Beetroot is already a power house of iron and combining it with honey and apple juice doubles up its power to fight anemia.
- Black sesame – Sesame, especially the black ones are a good source of iron. Soak them for a couple of hours and form a paste. Also add a few tablespoons of honey. Either you can have this paste as it is or strain it and mix with milk.
- Figs – Soak 3-4 figs overnight and consume them daily early in the morning.
- Pomegranate – This super fruit is a rich source or iron, calcium, protein, fiber, fat, carbs and sugars. You can have a glass of pomegranate juice daily with your breakfast. Even better is to eat a pomegranate every morning on an empty stomach.
- Tomatoes and other Vitamin c rich foods – Consumption of only iron rich foods won’t suffice. Your body should be able to absorb that iron too. For that you need sufficient Vitamin –C which you can get from foods such as tomatoes, kiwis, berries, broccoli, bell peppers, papaya and citrus fruits.
- Dates – Dates are a rich source of iron, calcium, magnesium and copper. Soak 2 dates in milk overnight. Eat them in the morning on an empty stomach and its even better if you drink the milk too. It will keep you energized all through the day and soon combat the iron deficiency in your body.
- Iron rich soup recipe – There are quite a lot of vegetables and fruits that have high content of iron and folic acid. Here is a soup recipe combining a few of them. Take a bottle gourd, a beetroot and one cup of spinach. Boil these vegetables in a vessel until they become soft. Blend them and strain out the soup. Have this soup daily once or twice to battle anemia.
- Eat steamed food – Steaming is the best technique of cooking food as it keeps all the nutritional value of the food intact. So go for steamed food instead of fried food.
- Use iron vessels for cooking – People who are anemic should make use of iron vessels for cooking their food as it enhances the iron content of food.
- Massage and cold water bath – Get a whole body massage with coconut/mustard/olive oil. Also taking a cold water bath twice a day is a simple yet a very effective way of getting rid of iron deficiency in your body.