Anaemia is a common blood disorder in which your body does not produce enough red blood cells. Anaemia widely affects children, women, and men at any stage of life. Globally, there are over 1.6 billion people are affected by anaemia. Women and patients with chronic diseases are at a higher risk of developing anaemia.
What is anaemia?
Anaemia is a condition of lack of red blood cells that carries oxygen to all body tissues and low red blood cell count shows a low level of oxygen in your blood than normal levels. It can be mild to severe.
The severity of anaemia depends on the level of haemoglobin. Haemoglobin is a protein present in red blood cells that transport oxygen from the lungs to the other parts of the body. Haemoglobin formation requires iron, so most of the people who have anaemia have a shortage of iron.
There are various types of anaemia with their cause and treatments. Anaemia can be mild to severe as per the level of haemoglobin, but you can prevent this condition by improving your diet.
What are the causes of anaemia?
Many conditions lead to anaemia, including simple diet deficiency to major underlying causes. Common causes of anaemia are as follows –
- Poor nutrition
- Pregnancy-related anaemia
- Active bleeding like piles, ulcers
- Chronic diseases such as cancer, kidney diseases
- Genetic problem
- Drug-induced anaemia
What are the types of anaemia?
1: Iron-deficiency anaemia – It is one of the common forms of anaemia that often affects women than men and is more common during pregnancy. In this anaemia, your body does not have enough iron to carry oxygen through your blood to all parts of your body. Symptoms of iron-deficiency anaemia can be-
- Fatigue and tiredness,
- Increased heartbeats,
- Pale skin,
- Strange food cravings such as mud, pencil,
- Hair fall,
- Tongue swelling
2: Aplastic anaemia – In this anaemia, your body cannot produce enough red blood cells because of damaged bone marrow.
3: Hemolytic anaemia – This anaemia occurs when your body itself damages your red blood cells.
4: Pernicious anaemia – Because of the deficiency of vitamin B12, pernicious anaemia occurs.
5: Normocytic anaemia– This anaemia occurs when there are fewer numbers of red blood cells.
6: Sickle-cell anaemia- This is a genetic disorder that affects your red blood cells.
What are the symptoms of anaemia?
If you have mild anaemia, you may not have many symptoms. The sign and symptoms depend on the cause and level of haemoglobin in the body. Signs and symptoms of anaemia might include:
- Fatigue and weakness
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Increased or irregular heartbeats
- Pale skin, nails, and mucous membrane
- Craving for indigestible items
What will be the treatments for anaemia?
Anaemia treatment depends on its underlying cause. There are many treatment options based on the type and severity of anaemia.
- In iron or vitamin B12 deficiency anaemia, you need to eat healthy foods and sometimes need nutritional supplements.
- In some other cases, if anaemia is severe and caused because of some pathology, then the doctors may prescribe some medications and injections to treat anaemia like Erythropoietin injections, hormonal medicines, or some antibiotics.
- Other forms of anaemia may require intense treatment, like surgery-to stop blood loss or blood transfusion.
What should be your diet if you are anaemic?
If you are experiencing any symptoms of anaemia, a physician should be your first visit, but there are things which you can do on your own, mainly improvement in your diet. The best diet plan for anaemia includes food rich in iron and other vitamins. Here we enlisted some essential foods which can help you deal with anaemia –
1: Green leafy vegetables: Green, dark vegetables are the best source of iron. They may include –
- Collard greens
- Swiss chard
Some of them, Swiss chard or collard greens, are also rich in folate and can be useful in folate deficiency anaemia. You can have vitamin C-rich foods such as oranges while eating these green vegetables as vitamin C may increase the absorption of iron.
Many nuts and seeds are nutritiously dense foods that contain a tremendous amount of iron. You can eat them raw or roasted as they have the same amount of iron. You can eat them as a snack or sprinkle them on a salad. Nuts and seeds may include –
- Pumpkin seeds
- Sunflower seeds
- Hemp seeds
3: Lean meat and poultry foods
Lean meat and chicken breast contain a high amount of iron, almost 22% of your recommended dose. To enhance iron absorption, pair it with vitamin C-rich vegetables such as spinach, tomatoes, and red peppers.
Seafood such as oysters is one of the best ways to supplement your diet if you are anaemic. Most of the fish contain iron, especially shellfishes such as oysters, clams, and crabs. Other types of fishes –
- Fresh or canned tuna
- Fresh or canned salmon
Beans are the most inexpensive and best source of iron for vegetarians. Some iron-rich beans are as follows –
- Kidney beans
- Black beans
Anaemia can be a mild to severe form of blood disorder but can be preventable. You can avoid developing anaemia by consuming nutritious food. But remember, single food will not cure anaemia; it may require an overall healthy diet like green leafy vegetables, seeds, nuts, seafood, meat, and vitamin C-rich foods.
Read more about: Top 10 Food Sources Rich in Vitamin K