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Blood is made up of many parts, including red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets (PLATE-lets), and plasma (the fluid portion of blood).

Red blood cells are disc-shaped and look like doughnuts without holes in the center. They carry oxygen and remove carbon dioxide (a waste product) from your body. These cells are made in the bone marrow—a sponge-like tissue inside the bones.

White blood cells and platelets (PLATE-lets) also are made in the bone marrow. White blood cells help fight infection. Platelets stick together to seal small cuts or breaks on the blood vessel walls and stop bleeding. With some types of anemia, you may have low numbers of all three types of blood cells.

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  1. 1. EducationHealth TopicsAnemia
  2. 2. 1OverviewBlood is made up of many parts, including redblood cells, white blood cells, platelets (PLATE-lets), and plasma (the fluid portion of blood).
  3. 3. 2OverviewRed blood cells are disc-shaped and look likedoughnuts without holes in the center. They carryoxygen and remove carbon dioxide (a wasteproduct) from your body. These cells are made inthe bone marrow—a sponge-like tissue inside thebones.
  4. 4. 3OverviewWhite blood cells and platelets (PLATE-lets) alsoare made in the bone marrow. White blood cellshelp fight infection. Platelets stick together to sealsmall cuts or breaks on the blood vessel walls andstop bleeding. With some types of anemia, youmay have low numbers of all three types of bloodcells.
  5. 5. 4SymptomsThe most common symptom of anemia is fatigue(feeling tired or weak). If you have anemia, youmay find it hard to find the energy to do normalactivities.Other signs and symptoms of anemia include:-- Shortness of breath
  6. 6. 5Symptoms-- Dizziness-- Headache-- Coldness in the hands and feet-- Pale skin-- Chest pain
  7. 7. 6SymptomsThese signs and symptoms can occur because yourheart has to work harder to pump oxygen-richblood through your body.Mild to moderate anemia may cause very mildsymptoms or none at all.
  8. 8. 7Symptoms**Complications of Anemia**Some people who have anemia may havearrhythmias (ah-RITH-me-ahs). Arrhythmias areproblems with the rate or rhythm of the heartbeat.Over time, arrhythmias can damage your heart andpossibly lead to heart failure.Anemia also can damage other organs in yourbody because your blood cant get enough oxygento them.
  9. 9. 8Symptoms**Complications of Anemia**Anemia can weaken people who have cancer orHIV/AIDS. This can make their treatments not workas well.Anemia also can cause many other healthproblems. People who have kidney disease andanemia are more likely to have heart problems.With some types of anemia, too little fluid intakeor too much loss of fluid in the blood and body canoccur. Severe loss of fluid can be life threatening.
  10. 10. 9DiagnosisYour doctor will diagnose anemia based on yourmedical and family histories, a physical exam, andresults from tests and procedures.Because anemia doesnt always causesymptoms, your doctor may find out you have itwhile checking for another condition.
  11. 11. 10TreatmentTreatment for anemia depends on thetype, cause, and severity of the condition.Treatments may include dietary changes orsupplements, medicines, procedures, or surgery totreat blood loss.
  12. 12. 11CausesThe three main causes of anemia are:-- Blood loss-- Lack of red blood cell production-- High rates of red blood cell destruction
  13. 13. 12Causes-- For some people, the condition is caused bymore than one of these factors.**Blood Loss**
  14. 14. 13RisksAnemia is a common condition. It occurs in allage, racial, and ethnic groups. Both men andwomen can have anemia. However, women ofchildbearing age are at higher risk for the conditionbecause of blood loss from menstruation.
  15. 15. 14RisksAnemia can develop during pregnancy due to lowlevels of iron and folic acid (folate) and changes inthe blood. During the first 6 months of pregnancy,the fluid portion of a womans blood (the plasma)increases faster than the number of red bloodcells. This dilutes the blood and can lead toanemia.
  16. 16. 15RisksDuring the first year of life, some babies are at riskfor anemia because of iron deficiency. At-riskinfants include those who are born too early andinfants who are fed breast milk only or formulathat isnt fortified with iron. These infants candevelop iron deficiency by 6 months of age.
  17. 17. 16PreventionYou might be able to prevent repeat episodes ofsome types of anemia, especially those caused bylack of iron or vitamins. Dietary changes orsupplements can prevent these types of anemiafrom occurring again.
  18. 18. 17PreventionTreating anemias underlying cause may preventthe condition (or prevent repeat episodes). Forexample, if medicine is causing your anemia, yourdoctor may prescribe another type of medicine.
  19. 19. 18PreventionTo prevent anemia from getting worse, tell yourdoctor about all of your signs and symptoms. Talkwith your doctor about the tests you may needand follow your treatment plan.You cant preventsome types of inherited anemia, such as sickle cellanemia. If you have an inherited anemia, talk withyour doctor about treatment and ongoing care.
  20. 20. 19Living and CopingOften, you can treat and control anemia. Ifyou have signs or symptoms of anemia, seekprompt diagnosis and treatment.Treatment may increase your energy and activitylevels, improve your quality of
  21. 21. 20Living and Copinglife, and help you live longer.With proper treatment, many types of anemiaare mild and short term. However, anemia can besevere, long lasting, or evenfatal when its caused by an inherited or chronicdisease or trauma.
  22. 22. 21Living and Coping**Anemiaand Children/Teens**Infants and young children have a greaterneed for iron because of their rapid growth. Notenough iron can lead to
  23. 23. 22Living and Coping**Anemiaanemia. Premature and low-birth-weight babiesoften are watched closely foranemia.Talk with your childs doctor if yourefeeding your infant breast milk only or formula thatisnt fortified with iron,
  24. 24. 23Living and Coping**Anemiaespecially after the child is 6 months old. Yourchilds doctor may recommendiron supplements.Children who drink a lot of cows milk alsoare at risk for anemia. Cows milk is low in the ironneeded for growth.
  25. 25. 24Living and Coping**AnemiaMost of the iron your child needs comesfrom food. Talk with your childs doctor about ahealthy diet and good sourcesof iron, vitamins B12 and C, and folic acid (folate).Only give your child iron
  26. 26. 25Living and Coping**Anemiasupplements if the doctor prescribes them. Youshould carefully follow instructionson how to give your child these supplements.If your child has anemia, his or her doctormay ask whether the child has been exposed tolead. Lead poisoning in children
  27. 27. 26Living and Coping**Anemiahas been linked to iron-deficiency anemia.Teenagers also are at risk for anemia,especially iron-deficiency anemia, because of theirgrowth spurts. Routinescreenings for anemia often are started in the teenyears.
  28. 28. 27Living and Coping**AnemiaOlder children and teens who have certaintypes of severe anemia might be at higher risk forinjuries or infections. Talkwith your childs doctor about whether your childneeds to avoid high-riskactivities, such as contact sports.
  29. 29. 28Living and Coping**AnemiaGirls begin to menstruate and lose ironwith each monthly period. Some girls and womenare at higher risk for anemiadue to excessive blood loss from menstruation orother causes, low iron intake,or a history of anemia. These girls and women mayneed regular screenings and
  30. 30. 29Living and Coping**Anemiafollowup for anemia.**Anemia and Pregnant/Postchildbirth Women**Anemia can occur during pregnancy due to alack of iron and folic acid and changes in the blood.During the first 6 months
  31. 31. 30Living and Coping**Anemiaof pregnancy, the fluid portion of a womans blood(the plasma) increasesfaster than the number of red blood cells. Thisdilutes the blood and can leadto anemia.Severe anemia raises the risk of having a
  32. 32. 31Living and Coping**Anemiapremature or low-birth-weight baby. Thus,pregnant women should be screened foranemia during their first prenatal visits. They alsoneed routine followup aspart of prenatal care.-- Women often are tested for anemia after
  33. 33. 32Living and Coping**Anemiadelivery (postpartum), especially if they had:-- Anemia that continued during the last 3months (third trimester) of pregnancy-- A lot of blood loss during pregnancy,childbirth, or after childbirth
  34. 34. 33Living and Coping**Anemia-- Multiple births-- Anemia and Older AdultsChronic diseases, lack of iron, and/orgenerally poor nutrition often cause anemia inolder adults. Also, in older
  35. 35. 34Living and Coping**Anemiaadults, anemia often occurs with other medicalproblems. Thus, the signs andsymptoms of anemia might not be as clear or theymight be overlooked.Contact your doctor if you have any signsor symptoms of anemia. If youre diagnosed withanemia, your doctor may:
  36. 36. 35Living and Coping**Anemia-- Ask about your diet to find out whetheryoure getting enough vitamins. He or she mayrecommend vitamins or iron orfolic acid supplements.-- Prescribe a man-made version of
  37. 37. 36Living and Coping**Anemiaerythropoietin if your anemia is the result ofcancer, kidney disease, ortreatments for these diseases. Erythropoietin is ahormone that stimulates thebone marrow to make red blood cells.-- Recommend a blood transfusion if your
  38. 38. 37Living and Coping**Anemiaanemia is severe.
  39. 39. 38Additional ResourcesMedline PlusNational Heart Lung and Blood Institute