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What is Anaemia?

Anaemia is a deficiency in the body's level of iron caused by a reduction in the amount if the red blood cells. There are a number of different types of anaemia the most common cause being the lack of iron, but lack of foliate and B12 can also be the cause.

Symptoms of Anaemia

The most common symptoms to look out for are

  • tiredness
  • lack of energy- lethargy
  • shortness of breath -dyspepsia palpitations-irregular heartbeat

Some less common symptoms of anaemia caused by iron deficiency may include

  • headache
  • tinnitus,
  • an altered sense of taste
  • a sore tongue
  • feeling itchy
  • difficulty swallowing (dysphagia)

There may also be changes in the physical appearance, for example, some people may notice

  • Pale skin
  • Smoothness off the tongue
  • ulcers
  • weak nails

What are the causes of anaemia

Anaemia caused by iron deficiency is more common in woman you are still having periods, this usually occurs in a woman who suffer with menorrhagia (heavy periods).

Other causes for anaemia

  • prolonged use of NSAIDs, for example aspirin and ibuprofen gastrointestinal bleeding- more common in a woman who has been through the menopause Stomach ulcers
  • Angiodysplasia- abnormalities in the gastrointestinal tract in rare cases it can be connected cancer, usually of the stomach or colon, this is in rare cases.

How Anaemia is diagnosed

If you suspect you have an iron deficiency, and are suffering with anaemia your doctor will be able to diagnose this from a blood test. Blood test will determine the type of deficiency it is whether it is folate, iron or B12. In addition to this doctor may also want to give you a physical examination to try to determine the cause for your anaemia.

Your doctor will ask questions your

  • diet
  • medicines
  • menstrual pattern
  • family history
  • other medical conditions

Sometimes your GP may want to do a Physical examination, the doctor will check your stomach and look for signs of heart problems. In woman the GP may want to do an examination of the pelvic when your periods are the suspected cause.

Treatment for anaemia

The treatment required for anaemia caused by a deficiency in iron is a supplement prescribed by the doctor. This iron supplement usually has little side affects and is to be taken orally. The doctor may also suggest certain treatments to help with the underlying cause of anaemia.