Anaemia

ANAEMIA

 

Anaemia is defined as a deficiency in either the number of red blood cells or the level of haemoglobin protein. This could be due to: the body not making enough blood cells, body loses blood cells at a rate faster than that of which it makes them, or the red blood cells are destroyed faster than they can be replaced. The main function of red blood cells is to carry oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. These cells contain the protein Haemoglobin, a respiratory pigment, which binds to either oxygen or carbon dioxide. Haemoglobin is mainly composed of Iron, which gives blood its red colour when combined with oxygen.

 

There are 8 main types of anaemia. These are:

  • Iron deficiency Anaemia: This is where the lack of iron in the body prevents it from being able to make enough red blood cells. This is the most common form of anaemia. The causes of this condition include: insufficient iron intake (via diet), sudden blood loss, chronic blood loss (due to heavy menstruation), increased use of iron (in pregnancy due to the growth of the foetus and in children undergoing rapid growth spurts), internal bleeding, and inability to absorb iron (certain diseases such as Celiac disease or some surgeries such as partial removal of the stomach can interfere with the body’s ability to absorb iron).

 

  • Sickle Cell Anaemia: This is an inherited disease where the blood cells are shaped like half moons instead of being round and indented. This change in the cell’s shape causes them to “stick” and therefore be unable to pass smoothly through blood vessels. This causes a blockage in blood flow, resulting in chronic pain and infections. Sickle Cells die faster than normal red blood cells, therefore resulting in a shortage of red blood cells. This disease occurs when the person inherits two abnormal copies of the Haemoglobin gene, one from each parent.

 

  • Normocytic Anaemia: This variation occurs when an individual has perfectly healthy red blood cells, but there aren’t enough of them to meet the body’s needs. This is usually caused by long term diseases such as kidney disease, or cancer. This condition usually occurs in men and women over 85 years old.

 

  • Haemolytic Anaemia: This condition occurs when the red blood cells are destroyed due to an abnormal process in the body before their lifespan is over, and the bone marrow (where red blood cells are produced) cannot replenish the cells quickly enough. Haemolytic Anaemia can either be inherited through genetics, or acquired/developed due to infections, tumours, autoimmune diseases, side effects of medication, or other diseases such as leukaemia and lymphoma.

 

  • Fanconi Anaemia: This is an inherited disorder where the bone marrow is unable to produce any of the components of blood, including red blood cells. People with this condition often suffer fatigue (from lack of red blood cells), frequent infections (due to lack of white blood cells), and inability to clot (due to lack of platelets). Over 50% of Fanconi Anaemia sufferers also have physical abnormalities and most males and 50% of females are infertile. People with this condition also have a much higher risk of developing Acute Myeloid Leukaemia and certain cancerous tumours. This condition is quite rare.

 

  • Thalassaemia: These are inherited blood disorders which cause the body to produce fewer healthy red blood cells and insufficient haemoglobin. If one parent is a carrier, the person may go on to develop Thalassaemia Minor, while if both parents are carriers the person may develop the more severe form of the disease.

 

  • Aplastic Anaemia: This is caused by the bone marrow and hematopoietic stem cells being damaged and therefore unable to make enough new blood cells. This condition is very rare and leaves the sufferer prone to infections and uncontrolled bleeding. It can develop at any age and can come on slowly over long periods of time, or extremely suddenly. It is caused by exposure to chemicals, drugs, radiation, immune disease, and hereditary. In about 50% of Aplastic Anaemia cases, the causes are unknown.

 

  • Pernicious Anaemia: This is where the body can’t make enough healthy red blood cells due to the lack of Vitamin B12. The body can’t absorb enough B12 due to the lack of a protein called Intrinsic Factor which is produced by the stomach lining.

 

SYMPTOMS:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Racing heart or palpitations
  • Cold extremities
  • Feel very weak and tired
  • Dizzy
  • Fever
  • Confusion
  • Jaundice (some types of anaemia)
  • Sadness or depression
  • Poor concentration
  • Paleness
  • Lack of appetite
  • Insomnia/troubles sleeping
  • Headaches
  • Increased bruising and haemorrhaging

 

TREATMENTS:

  • Oral iron supplements
  • Vitamin C supplements (this vitamin helps with the absorption of iron)
  • Iron Injections
  • Vitamin B12 supplements
  • Blood transfusions
  • Antibiotics (if infection is the cause)
  • Lowering or stopping certain medications
  • Surgery (to prevent heavy bleeding if menstruation is the cause or to remove the spleen which is where the red blood cells are destroyed)
  • Intravenous Immunoglobulin (to boost immune system function)
  • Corticosteroids are used in extreme cases of Haemolytic Anaemia to prevent the immune system from destroying red blood cells
  • Bone Marrow transplants (in the case of Thalassaemia and Aplastic Anaemia)
  • Stem cell transplant (for Aplastic Anaemia)

HERBS AND FOODS USED TO TREAT ANAEMIA:

  • Iron rich foods: such as liver, apple, figs, raisins, prunes, molasses, seafood, beets, whole grains, brown rice, poultry, eggs, red meat, beans, spinach, silver beet, broccoli, nuts and seeds
  • Foods high in Vitamin C: such as tomatoes, peppers, or strawberries
  • Honey: increase haemoglobin in the blood and is rich in iron, manganese and copper
  • Dandelion and Burdock root: often used together, both of these herbs increase the body’s ability to absorb iron from food.
  • Avocado: contains large amounts of iron and also boosts folate levels
  • Nettle: contains Vitamins A, B, K, and C, as well as iron
  • Parsley: used as a juice, it has large concentrations of iron
  • Lemon/citrus: contains vitamin C which helps to absorb iron
  • Yellow Dock Root: contains high amounts of iron, calcium, and Vitamins A and C
  • Gentian: often used in Europe, this herb stimulates the digestive system to more easily absorb iron
  • Alfalfa: this herb is high in iron
  • Dong Quai: increases the production of red blood cells due to its high concentration of Cobalt
  • Chives: high in iron and Vitamin C
  • Spirulina: contains high amounts of Vitamin B12, iron, potassium, magnesium, and calcium

 

GEMSTONES USED FOR ANAEMIA:

  • Bloodstone
  • Haematite
  • Magnetite
  • Ruby
  • Citrine
  • Kunzite
  • Carnelian
  • Garnet
  • Tiger’s Eye
  • Tiger Iron
  • Tourmaline
  • Copper
  • Sapphire
  • Septarian
  • Amber
  • Azurite
  • Bastnasite
  • Cinnabar
  • Cuprite
  • Hemimorphite
  • Kunzite
  • Sodalite

 

REFERENCES:

http://study.com/academy/lesson/functions-of-red-blood-cells-white-blood-cells-platelets.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sickle-cell_disease

http://www.healthline.com/health/hemolytic-anemia#Overview1

https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/ha

https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/Encyclopedia/Content.aspx?ContentTypeID=160&ContentID=34

https://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/condition/fanconi-anemia#diagnosis

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anemia

https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/anaemia

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aplastic_anemia

http://www.health24.com/Lifestyle/Your-Blood/Anaemia-20130216-2

https://www.healthaliciousness.com/articles/food-sources-of-iron.php

http://www.herbazest.com/wellness_articles/5_herbs_to_help_you_recover_from_anemia

http://www.findhomeremedy.com/best-herbal-remedies-to-treat-anemia/

http://www.australianspirulina.com.au/spirulina/spirulina.html

www.healingcrystals.com