Medical professionals opine that anemia is a pretty serious condition, especially for women. If it attacks, it will massively reduce the red corpuscles in the blood and may even claim the life. Many people are not even aware of the implications of this disease. Only at the time of blood donation or blood test, they come to know that they have developed anemic condition. The National Family Health Survey reveal that the States like Punjab top the list of anemic victims in our country. It further confirms that proper awareness on this aspect is not there even among the educated women.
States affected by anemia:-
Normally, when south is compared to northern States in India, Tamil Nadu and Kerala are better in terms of health status; however, presently, this anaemic condition has impacted these southern States in a large scale. For instance, in the year 2005-06, the percentage of affected women in Tamil Nadu due to anemia was 53.2%; in 2015-16, it increased by 1.8% to 55%. Similarly, in Kerala, it was 32.8% which increased to 34.2%.
Haematologist Dr.Revathi Raj states below the reasons as to why the anemia normally affects women:-
In general, anemia affects men, women and children and more particularly, the women due to iron deficiency. At different stages, women lose blood due to puberty, menstruation and at the time of delivery. Lack of iron content for the mothers who have to breast-feed is also another cause. If the pregnant mother is anemic, the babies will be born with the similar condition or with less weight.
The babies will continue to suffer from the same condition owing to this problem. Hence, it is necessary that pregnant mothers must ensure that they do not suffer from this condition. All family members should give proper attention to the girl children right from beginning and the awareness should essentially start from the mothers.
How does anemia occur?:
When haemoglobin counts are low or less than the required quantity in the red corpuscles, it is known as anemia. The main function of haemoglobin is to supply oxygen to various parts in the body. When the level of haemoglibin reduces, it causes anemia.
For a healthy person, the haemoglobin should be 11-15 gm in one deci litre. This quantity will differ from person to person depending on the age group, gender and whether a person is a normal person or a patient with some ailment and in the case of women, whether they are in their menstruation period or have crossed menopause etc.
Light difficulty in breathing
Lack of appetite, tastelessness
Limbs becoming chill or inflammation
Irregular heart beat
Examination & Tests:-
Complete blood count – CBC is the most fundamental test to measure the haemoglobin count. Incidentally. there are about 400 varieties of anemia. The exact type of anemia depends on the reason of its occurrence based on which treatment is possible.
Who are prone to anemia?:
Women of child-bearing age
Frequent blood donors
Babies born before scheduled delivery period
Deficiency in growth
People who abstain from non-vegetarian food
People with iron deficiency
People with vitamin deficiency
People with kidney problem
Intestinal cancer & people suffering from ulcer
* Normally, it affects babies before they are two years old or children between 10-14 years age and/or during the period of pregnancy. Due care should be taken during these stages.
* Nutrient deficiency test should be taken once in six months.
* Frequent intake of spinach, pulses with more iron content, dhal varieties, ragi, nutrient flour, meat, fish, egg etc.
* Of all the items, iron content is most essential in order to increase the quantum of red corpuscles.
* Nutrient items of food, green vegetables, fruits etc.
* Dry grapes (raisin), cashnew, almond, dates, gooseberry, carrot etc. should be consumed regularly.
* A fruit a day should be taken either as a fruit or as a juice.
* In case iron is not taken in the above forms, one should approach the concerned doctor for prescribing iron-rich tablets.
* Doctors will prescribe folic acid for the pregnant mothers for three months and certain other iron-rich medicines after that which must be taken without fail.
Finally, Dr.Revathi Raj concludes that necessary tests must be conducted to find out any other possible reason for anemia and if so, proper medicines must be taken by the patients. If the haemoglobin content is less than 6 count, blood transfusion may have to given.
Thus anemic condition, especially for the women, is not to be belittled. Proper preventive and curative action must be timely taken in order to save the precious life under all circumstances.
(This article written in Tamil by G Lakshmanan has been reproduced in English by P.S.Ramamurthy)