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Article: Anaemia | Anaemia Supplements | Sickle Cell Anaemia Treatment

Anaemia 

Author:
Dr. Veena Deo

Anaemia is characterized by a deficiency of red blood cells (RBCs), hemoglobin, or total blood volume, leading to decreased oxygen supply to tissues. It affects approximately 30% of the global population, with iron deficiency being the most common cause, affecting around 600 million people.

Pathophysiology

Red cells in the bone marrow must acquire sufficient hemoglobin before being released into the bloodstream. If they fail to do so, they undergo more divisions and have a lower mean corpuscular volume (MCV) upon release due to insufficient hemoglobin components. Acute blood loss leads to more profound symptoms compared to gradually developing anaemia.

Common Types of Anaemia
  1. Iron Deficiency Anaemia
  2. Vitamin B12 Deficiency Anaemia
  3. Folic Acid Deficiency Anaemia

Causes of Anaemia

  • Thalassaemia: Inherited disorders with reduced hemoglobin.
  • Leukemia: Cancer affecting blood and bone marrow.
  • Surgery, Pregnancy, Injury, or Accidents
  • Decreased Marrow Production: Vitamin B12 deficiency, renal failure, hypoplasia.
  • Peripheral Causes: Blood loss, hemolysis, hypersplenism.

Non-Specific Symptoms

  • Tiredness
  • Breathlessness
  • Ankle swelling
  • Lightheadedness

Specific Symptoms

Iron Deficiency Anaemia

This is the most common type of anaemia. In men and postmenopausal women, gastrointestinal blood loss is a common cause, often due to peptic ulceration, gastric malignancy, inflammatory bowel disease, or chronic aspirin/NSAID use. In women of childbearing age, causes include menorrhagia, pregnancy, and breastfeeding.

Malabsorption

Gastric acid is needed to release iron from food and maintain it in a soluble state for absorption in the upper small intestine. Malabsorption can be affected by conditions like celiac disease.

Diagnostic History

  • Past Medical History: Diseases related to anaemia, such as rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Drug History: Ingestion of drugs causing blood loss or hemolysis (e.g., aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs).
  • Family History and Ethnic Background: Suspicion of hemolytic anaemias like hemoglobinopathies and hereditary spherocytosis.

Investigations

Plasma Ferritin: Best single test to confirm iron deficiency. Low levels indicate iron deficiency, hypothyroidism, or Vitamin C deficiency. Elevated levels can occur in liver disease or acute phase responses.

Management

  • Transfusion: Not necessary in cases of angina or heart failure.
  • Oral Iron Supplements: Appropriate for treatment.

Herbs to Treat Anaemia

  • Yellow Dock: Increases iron levels.
  • Dandelion: Leaves are rich in iron.
  • Gentian: Useful for anaemia.
  • Spirulina: Rich in iron, proteins, vitamins, and minerals.

Other Useful Herbs

  • Stinging Nettle
  • Alfalfa
  • Ginger
  • Ginseng
  • Blackberries
  • Amla
  • Vitis vinifera (Grape)

Liquid chlorophyll is a nutritional supplement used in Western medicine.

Natural Home Remedies

  • Green Leafy Vegetables: Spinach, fenugreek, coriander.
  • Pomegranate Juice: One glass daily.
  • Vitamin C: Enhances iron absorption; include foods rich in Vitamin C.
  • Apple and Beetroot Juice: Mix in equal parts, add honey, and take twice daily.
  • Spinach Soup: Daily consumption.
  • Dates: Source of fiber and antioxidants.
  • Iron Pots: Cooking food in iron pots increases iron intake.
  • Ripe Banana with Honey: Advisable.
  • Figs: Eat 3 to 4 daily.

Avoid

  • Coffee, tea, and beer
  • Junk food

Conclusion

Though the quantities of ingredients for some natural home remedies are mentioned, always consult an Ayurvedic physician for precise dosages and professional guidance.