A person with anemia has thin blood. This happens when blood is lost or destroyed faster than the person’s body can replace it. The blood can be lost in the following ways:
- Blood loss from large wounds.
- Bleeding ulcers.
- Monthly bleeding of women (menstrual period), this happens when they don’t eat the food their body needs.
A diet lacking meat, dark green leafy vegetables and other foods rich in iron can cause anemia or make it worse.
In children, anemia can come from not eating foods rich in iron. It can also come from breast feeding or bottle feeding after six months without giving other foods too. Other common causes of anemia includes:
- Chronic infections such as diarrhea
- Sickle cell disease
- Children and women who like to eat dirt are usually anemic
- Insides of the eyelids becomes pale
- The gums also becomes pale
- The person will develop white fingernails
- Weakness and fatigue
- If the anemia is severe, the face and feet of the person may be swollen
- The heartbeat becomes rapid
- The person may have shortness of breath
TREATMENT AND PREVENTION OF ANEMIA
- Eat foods rich in iron like meat, fish and chicken; they are rich in iron. The iron content of Liver is very high. Dark green vegetables, beans, peas and lentils also have some iron, eat raw vegetables and fruits with meals. Make sure that you avoid drinking coffee and tea with food.
- If the anemia is moderate or severe, the person should take iron (ferrous sulfate pills). This is especially important for pregnant women who are anemic. For nearly all cases of anemia, ferrous sulfate tablets are much better than liver extract or vitamin B12. As a general rule, iron should be given by mouth not injected because iron injections can be dangerous and are no better than pills.
- If the anemia is caused by dysentery (diarrhea with blood), hookworms, malaria or another disease, this should also be treated.
- If the anemia is severe or does not get better, seek medical help. This is especially important for a pregnant woman.
Many women are anemic. Anemic women run a greater risk of miscarriage and of dangerous bleeding in childbirth. It is very important that women eat as much of the foods high in iron as possible; especially during pregnancy. Allowing two to three years between pregnancies lets the woman regain strength and produce new blood.