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HEALTH CONDITIONS
Anemia
Overview
Symptoms
Risk Factors
Commonly Prescribed Drugs
Treatment and Management
Home Remedies
Doctors to Consult
Overview

Common name: Kulang sa dugo, anemik (Fil.); nakurangan ti dara (Ilocano)

Anemia occurs when the blood does not have enough red blood cells or when there is not enough hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is a protein that carries oxygen.

Women and people with chronic diseases are at increased risk of developing this condition. Severe anemia can cause low oxygen levels in vital organs such as the heart and can lead to arrhythmia.

Symptoms
  • Extreme fatigue, weakness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Confusion or loss of concentration
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Pale skin, including decreased pinkness of the lips, gums, lining of the eyelids, nail beds and palms
  • Palpitations
Risk Factors
  • Heavy menstruation.
  • Certain diseases (e.g., AIDS, gastrointestinal bleeding, liver diseases and chronic inflammatory diseases).
  • Drugs or medications (e.g., alcohol, antibiotics like penicillin, high blood pressure drugs like methyldopa, etc.).
  • Impaired production of RBC.
  • Lack of iron necessary for production of hemoglobin.
  • Vitamin B12 or B9 deficiency.
Commonly Prescribed Drugs

Vitamins and iron supplements. Depending on the type and severity of anemia, these supplements are taken as a treatment and/or as prevention against anemia.

  • Iron (ferrous sulfate, ferrous fumarate or ferrous gluconate) is an essential mineral for oxygen transport.
    • Side-effects: Gastric irritation, stained teeth, and black/dark stools.
    • Precaution: Avoid iron in cases of peptic ulcer disease, liver, and kidney disease.
    • Drug Interaction: Iron salts affect the absorption of most drugs including antacids, ascorbic acid, chloramphenicol, cimetidine, quinolones and tetracyclines.

 

  • Vitamin B9 (folic acid) is important in red blood cell (RBC) formation and for developing fetus during pregnancy.
    • Contraindication: Folic acid should not be given with oral contraceptives, dihydrofolate reductase inhibitors and hydantoins.
  • Vitamin B12 (cyanocobalamin) reverses the production of abnormally large red blood cells.
    • Precaution: It should be used with caution in Leber's disease.
    • Drug Interaction: Do not take with colchicine and alcohol.
  • Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) used for preventing and treating pyridoxine deficiency) and the anemia that may ensue.
    • Drug Interaction: Phenytoin, phenobarbital, levodopa.

 

Treatment and Management

A well-balanced diet that includes iron and vitamin B-complex is essential to developing and maintaining a satisfactory blood count. Anemia not responsive to iron and/or vitamin B therapy should be ruled out.

Home Remedies
  • Spirulina, or blue-green algae, has been traditionally used to treat anemia. One teaspoon is usually given daily.
  • Alfalfa (Medicago sativa), dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) root or leaf, have long been used to fortify and cleanse the blood. For mild cases of anemia, they may help normalize levels of hemoglobin.
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