What are the most common symptoms of anaemia, causes and diagnosis
Anaemia is an erythrocyte deficiency, and this may mean anything from a reduced overall number of red blood cells to a reduction in quantitative or qualitative haemoglobin per hematite, but there are several types of anaemia as a classification.
From the point of view of pure medical dictionary, anaemia is defined as a strict decrease in peripheral blood haemoglobin.
A drop could be below 10-12 grams / 100 millilitres in women or less than 10-14 grams in men, but taking into account the history of the patient and if there are collateral pathologies, if there was an internal or external bleeding lesion in the last period, and even during preclinical analysis if the patient is on menstruation.
Pernicious anaemia (Biermer), sickle cell, megaloblastic (vitamin deficiency), haemolytic (premature destruction of red blood cells), iron deficiency, leukaemia, aplastic (on all three types of cells: red cells, leukocytes, platelets).
Classification according to the average haemoglobin concentration:
– Hypochromic (red cell count is normal but haemoglobin is low, the later giving the blood its red colour, hypochromic anaemia thus means low colouration);
Classification according to average red blood cell volume or haemoglobin:
Classification according to etiological factors:
– Excessive decrease in blood volume (in acute or chronic bleeding)
– Excessive destruction of red blood cells in haemolytic diseases and hypersplenism;
– Iron deficiency in food (iron deficiency anaemia);
– Red marrow inhibition (chronic anaemia);
– Vitamin deficiency (megaloblastic anaemia);
– Thyroid pathologies;
• Iron deficiency, which will cause a poor synthesis of red blood cells in the spinal cord
• Renal pathologies, as these pathologies enter the mechanism of synthesis of the blood in the spinal cord
• Physiological anaemia during pregnancy, if maintained under some values, is not necessarily a pathology, depends on how important this anaemia is during the gestation period.
• Alcoholism will involve an anaemia through its excessive consumption.
• Deficient nutrition and especially a poor nutrition in vitamins will again lead to an anaemia type pathology. Causes of nutritional anaemia are due to iron deficiency, lack of folic acid (vitamin B9) and lack of vitamin B12.
• In celiac disease or so-called gluten intolerance, one of the noticeable symptoms is anaemia.
Symptoms of anaemia
We should not forget that people with anaemia have less oxygen in the blood, which means that their heart needs to make extra efforts to send enough oxygen to the organs and tissues. Cardiac symptoms related to anaemia are breathing difficulties and chest pains.
Also, anaemia is accompanied by changes in the colour of faeces – black stools (with a fuel oil look) or blood stools in case of digestive haemorrhage.
The specific symptom appears as a result of the deficits I have mentioned. In iron deficiency anaemia, for example, we can see the iron deficiency in the tissues: dry skin, dry and breakable hair, brittle nails (in severe forms of iron deficiency anaemia you may see broken nails, cracks in the corners of the mouth, a smooth tongue, glossy and painful, difficulty in swallowing, dry throat sensation).
In chronic anaemia, specific symptoms are related to the infectious, inflammatory or neoplastic disease that caused anaemia.
In Biermer’s anaemia (pernicious anaemia), caused by the vitamin B12 deficiency, the same symptoms appear as with other types of anaemia, but it is also frequently accompanied by some specific manifestations: neurological abnormalities (peripheral neuropathy), manifestations of atrophic gastritis such as anorexia, dyspepsia and Hunter glossitis, characterized by red tongue with bare spots.
Often, what brings the patient to a medical check is neurological symptomatology – harder to tolerate than non-specific anaemia symptoms that do not cause major problems, even at very low levels of haemoglobin.
Anaemia is mainly detected by preclinical analyses involving the collection of blood samples where the erythrocyte count, the average red blood cell volume and especially the haemoglobin are analysed, and then the marrow function or other collateral pathways (renal, thyroid, etc.) to detect the cause of this anaemia.
Red blood cell count in comparison with the number of white blood cells, haematocrit (which is the division of red blood cell volume into total blood volume) is also an important figure in the detection of anaemia.
The amount of erythrocyte count if it falls below 4.8 milligram / microliter or 4.5 millilitres / microliter (women) can induce anaemia.
For a more accurate diagnosis, an arterial puncture can also be performed to detect acid-base balance and blood oxygenation and to detect an oxygen deficiency.