Anemia is a condition that occurs when there are not enough red blood cells in the body. The body can be making insufficient RBCs due to numerous causes, but iron deficiency is by far the commonest, especially in women. One reason it’s seen mostly in the female population is menstruation: loss of blood every month leads to anemia.
If you are suffering from a low blood count, its best to get a professional opinion as to why that’s happening. While the commonest reason is iron deficiency, there are other causes as well that could be affecting the blood levels, thus, its best to get diagnosed by a top internal medicine specialist in Lahore.
What are the symptoms of anemia?
Anemia affects the levels of hemoglobin in the blood, that is the main protein in the RBC. The job of hemoglobin is to carry oxygen, and any cause that leads to decreased production of hemoglobin will lead to decreased oxygenation of the organs. Consequently, there is fatigue, shortness of breath and lethargy.
Some patients with anemia also suffer from irregular heartbeat, pain in the chest, joints and belly, and headache. Pallor is quite common in people who are anemic, as are cold hands and feet because of insufficiency of blood supply.
Diagnosis of anemia is made with the help of blood studies. Additionally, an internal medicine specialist can use your history to make the diagnosis. Blood studies can include a CBC (complete blood count), serum iron level, serum ferritin level, vitamin B 12, folate. More blood tests can be advised on the discretion of your healthcare provider to diagnose a specific type of anemia, for instance hemolytic anemia.
The exact treatment for anemia depends on the type of anemia there is and should be tailored by the best internal medicine specialist in Islamabad. However, for iron deficiency anemia i.e. the commonest type of anemia, supplementation with iron is the mainstay of treatment. In young women, the cause of iron deficiency is menstruation, while for men and postmenopausal women disorders of the GI tract must be ruled out as the source of chronic blood loss.
Iron can be supplemented in tablet/oral form, or it can be injected directly into the blood as well. What works best for you should be decided by your healthcare provider. Some people have trouble tolerating the oral form of iron, and resort to injectable form, while others find the tablet form perfectly fine.
The duration of iron supplementation and the dosage regimen should be prescribed according to the serum iron and ferritin levels, as well as the deficit. Apart from medication, a good iron rich diet should be consumed, especially for women, to maintain their iron levels.
The side effect profile of oral iron tablets prevents patient compliance. Many people complain of stomach ache, nausea and diarrhea as side effects, and stop taking the medication. However, they should reach out to their internal medicine specialist who can change their supplement form to eliminate the side effects. Be sure to ask your doctor about any drug interactions as well, since iron absorption is hampered by certain medicines and supplements.
For other types of anemia, such as that cause by vitamin B12 or folate deficiency, supplementation is done accordingly.