Wednesday, July 26, 2006

What is Anaemia ??

Anaemia… wat is it?

Anaemia is defined as haemoglobin concentration in blood below the lower limit of the normal range for the age and sex of the individual. In adults, the lower extreme of the normal haemoglobin is taken as 13 g% for males and 11.5% for females. New born infants have higher haemoglobin levels and therefore, 15% is taken as the lowr limit at birth, whereas at 3 months , the lower limit is taken as 9.5%. Although haemoglobin value is employed as the only parameter for determining whether or not anaemia is present, the red cell counts, haematocrit(PCV) and absolute values (MCV, MCH and MCHC) provide alternate means of assessing anaemia.

What are the symptoms of anaemia?
· Tiredness
· Easy fatiguability
· Generalized muscular weakness
· Lethargy
· Headache
· In older patients- there maybe symptoms of cardiac failure, angina pectoris, intermittent claudication, confusion and visual disturbances.

What actually happens in an anaemic person?

Subnormal level of haemoglobin causes lowered oxygen- carrying capacity of the blood. This in turn, initiates compensatory physiologic adaptations such as:
· Increased release of oxygen from haemoglobin;
· Increased blood flow to the tissues;
· Maintainance of the blood volume; and
· Redistribution of blood flow to maintain the cerebral blood supply.
Eventually, however, tissue hypoxia (lack of oxygen) develops causing impaired functions of the affected tissues. The degree of functional impairment of individual tissues is variable depending upon their oxygen requirements. Tissues with high oxygen requirement such as the heart, CNS and the skeletal muscle during exercise, bear the brunt of clinical effects of anaemia


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