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Characterised by low blood levels of haemoglobin, anaemia can be caused by several factors: a deficient number of red blood cells, an abnormally low level of haemoglobin in the individual cells, or both of these conditions simultaneously.
Regardless of the cause, all types of anaemia cause similar signs and symptoms because of the blood?s reduced capacity to carry oxygen. These symptoms include pallor of the Skin, weakness, dizziness, easy fatigability, and drowsiness.
There are many different forms of anaemia:
- Iron deficiency anaemia is the most common form of anaemia, most prevalent in women. Normal body iron> supplies become low if dietary iron intake is low, if dietary iron is not absorbed, or if iron is not reabsorbed from existing red blood cells.
- Sickle cell anaemia is an inherited condition in which red blood cells contain abnormal haemoglobin, which causes the cells to be deformed or sickle-shaped. This deformation prevents the smooth flow of blood through the Circulatory System, causing blood vessels to clog.
- In Folic Acid anaemia, blood levels of folacin are abnormally low. As with vitamin B-12, folacin functions at the nuclear level in the formation of red blood cells within the bone marrow.
- Vitamin B-12 deficiency anaemia, usually occurring after age forty, results from a shortage of vitamin B-12 in the blood.
- Haemolytic anaemia occurs when reproduction of new red blood cells is surpassed by the rate at which red blood cells are destroyed.
Folic Acid (5)
Vitamin A (1)
Vitamin C (2)
Vitamin E (3)
1. Mejia LA, Chew F. Haematological effect of supplementing anaemic children with Vitamin A alone and in combination with iron. Am J Clin Nutr 1988;48:595-600.
2. Ajayi OA, Nnaji UR. Effect of ascorbic acid supplementation on haematological response and ascorbic acid status of young female adults. Ann Nutr Metab 1990;34:32-36.
3. Ono K: Effects of large dose Vitamin E supplementation on anaemia in hemodialysis patients, Nephron, 40(4), 1985, p 440-445.
4. Lawless JW, et al: Iron supplementation improves growth in anaemic Kenyan primary school children, Journal of Nutrition, May 1994, p 124(5), 645-654.
5. Dickinson CJ: Does Folic Acid harm people with vitamin B12 deficiency?, QJM: 88:5:357-64 (1995)