Do you know what are the most common anemia causes, types, symptoms and nutritional supplements? Foods and alternative medicine such as homeopathy, ayurvedic, herbal and other nutritional supplements help to relieve anemia.
Types of blood cells and their roles
Blood contains three types of cells: (a) white blood cells- which fight infections; (b) platelets- which help in the coagulation of blood; and (c) red blood cells- which carry oxygen through the body from the lungs.
Bone marrow produces the red blood cells. They contain hemoglobin, an iron-based protein that helps blood cells carry oxygen. When you suffer from anemia, the body does not produce enough red blood cells or loses them faster than they can produce.
Causes and Types of Anemia
There are several types of anemia. The most common type is iron deficiency anemia, caused by a lack of iron in the body. Other types include:
Iron deficiency anemia can be caused by blood loss, for example, ulcer, heavy menstruation, or after surgery. It can also result from not eating enough iron in the diet, for pregnancy, or as a side effect of some medication. Anemia during pregnancy is the common in the pregnant women that should treat properly.
Megaloblastic or pernicious anemia- caused by a lack of folic acid and vitamin B12. It occurs when the body is not able to absorb these vitamins or as a side effect of some medication.
Anemia due to chronic disease-occurring for certain chronic diseases such as cancer, kidney failure, or Crohn’s disease interferes with the production of red blood cells.
The aplastic anemia caused when the bone marrow can not produce all three types of blood cells. Aplastic anemia is potentially fatal; it can result from an auto-immune disorder. Hemolytic anemia caused when red blood cells are destroyed faster than the bone marrow can replace them.
Sickle cell anemia- caused by a type of hemoglobin that causes the red blood cells to have a crescent or sickle shape. These sickle cells die early, which means that the body is always deficient in red blood cells. Its abnormal shape can block blood flow through the small vessels, causing pain. Sickle-cell anemia is a hereditary disease that mainly affects people of African, Mediterranean, Arab or South American origin.
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Signs and Symptoms of Anemia
Anemia occurs when the blood does not have enough red blood cells to adequately transport oxygen to organs and tissues. As the body does not get enough oxygen, it feels tired – one of the main symptoms of anemia.
At first, the symptoms of anemia may be mild and may be confused with the symptoms of other diseases. These symptoms may include:
- Difficulty breathing
- Pale skin
- Feeling cold
- Rapid heartbeat and chest pain
Nutrition and supplements
Eat more sources of iron. Concentrate on leafy green vegetables, red meats, beef liver, poultry, fish, wheat germ, oysters, fruits and iron-fortified cereals.
Iron – fumarate, glycerate or ferrous sulfate are the forms of iron that the body can absorb more easily. Always check with your doctor before taking an iron supplement. If your doctor prescribes iron supplements, take small doses, three times a day or take with meals to reduce side effects. If you miss a dose, do not take an extra dose next time. Keep iron supplements away from children. Excess iron can be fatal. The dietary sources of iron are red meat, especially veal liver, beans, beet greens, molasses, almonds and brewer’s yeast. Green leafy vegetables contain iron and folic acid.
Vitamin C (250 to 500 mg twice a day) Foods rich in vitamin C – such as citrus fruits, tomatoes, and strawberries – help the body absorb iron from food. Red meats not only provide a good amount of iron but also increase the absorption of iron from other food sources. Keep in mind that vitamin C supplements can interact with other medications, including some chemotherapy drugs, estrogen, warfarin (Coumadin) and others.
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Vitamin B12 and Folic Acid
Vitamin B12 helps in cases of anemia due to vitamin or pernicious deficiency. Dietary sources include liver, meats, eggs, tuna, and cheese. People with pernicious anemia can not absorb the proper amount of vitamin B12 and may need supplements for life.
Folic acid (400 – 1000 mcg per day) – Folic acid deficiency can cause anemia. Good food sources of folic acid are green leafy vegetables, orange juice, and cereals. The intake of folic acid supplements can hide a deficiency of vitamin B12, so you should always take vitamin B12 when taking folic acid. Folic acid may interact with the chemotherapy drugs. It can also interact with some anticonvulsants. Molasses, known as pregnancy tea (1 tbsp daily in a cup of hot water), is a good source of iron, B vitamins, and minerals. Molasses is also a very mild laxative.
Do not drink a lot of tea because it contains tannins, substances that can inhibit the absorption of iron. You can take herbal infusions without problems.
Generally, anemia is coming by lack of iron or vitamins. Making changes in your diet or taking supplements usually helps. However, you should check with your doctor to find out the real cause of the anemia. It is very important to note that excess iron is toxic and you should not take iron supplements unless you have iron deficiency anemia and your doctor has recommended it. Foods and Herbal treatments can help when used together with conventional medical treatment. Alternative treatment for anemia is also very helpful to cure anemia quickly.