Why it is important to investigate the cause of anemia when feeling weakness!
Due to body’s capability to adjust mild changes, initially low haemoglobin levels are overlooked. Most of the people feeling weakness & consult physician when routine work is disturbed due to symptoms of anaemia. It has been estimated that most of the anaemias are due nutritional deficiency which can be corrected by improving diet, adding food supplements and simple medication. To avoid complications, and recurrence it is necessary to recognize, investigate and treat anaemia on priority. Sites in bone where blood is formed are called as bone marrow. A defect in bone marrow causes anaemia which can be of serious nature.
Causes of anaemia
Anaemia can be placed into 3 major categories:
- Decreased red cell production
- Decreased red cell life span
- Increased red cell loss
Decreased red cell production
Decreased red cell formation can be due to nutrient deficiency like multivitamins, or minerals like iron. Red cell formation can also be decreased in case if blood forming cells in bone marrow are decreased condition called as bone marrow failure. Infiltration of bone marrow by blood cancer cells, migration of cancer cells from other organs, and scarring of bone marrow are few examples of serious causes of anaemia where production of red blood cells is decreased.
Decreased red cell life span
Decreased red cell life span is called as hemolysis and type of anaemia is called as haemolytic anaemia. A defect causing shortened red cell life span can be by birth as in thalassaemia, sickle cell disease, hereditary spherocytosis or glucose 6 phosphatase deficiency or it can be acquired after birth like autoimmune haemolytic anaemia.
Increased red cell loss
A blood loss anaemia can be due to acute blood loss as in trauma and injury or it can be due to chronic blood loss as in case of heavy menses, ulcers in stomach, or a cancer in intestinal tract.
How to proceed for investigations of anaemia
In case if you are feeling weakness, lethargy, easy fatigability or progressive pallor you are a candidate for investigations to exclude anaemia. Your doctor will advise certain base line investigations. Key investigation in this regard is Blood Complete Picture (Blood CP). Depending upon the findings of blood CP your doctor will decide further investigations. If blood CP is suggestive of a nutrient deficiency your doctor may advise you blood iron profile, vitamin B12 and folate levels. In case if blood CP is suggestive of an anaemia due to shortened red cell survival serum bilirubin, immunological tests, haemoglobin studies and genetic studies are suggested. In case if blood CP is suggestive of bone marrow failure a bone marrow examination is suggested. It is strongly recommended to consult haematologist for further investigations and treatment.
– Copyrights (c) Haematologist Dr. Nadir Ali