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Deficiency in the amount or quantity of red blood corpuscles or of haemoglobin (a pigment in the blood that carries oxygen in the red blood cells) in the blood, resulting in lack of energy and vitality.
Persons most commonly affected: All age groups and both sexes but more common in females than in males.
Organ or part of body involved: Blood, bone marrow
Symptoms and indications: The symptoms of anaemia depend to a certain extent on the cause but more especially whether the onset is sudden or gradual. If it is sudden, as in the case of serious haemorrhage, the patient becomes weak and dizzy, may be unable to stand and may lose consciousness. Blood pressure drops, the breathing is fast and laboured, and there is a rapid pulse. In all cases of anaemia, the skin is pale and there is an absence of or poor colour inside the inner lower eyelid, if it is gently pulled down. The nails may be concave and brittle, the voice may be husky, and the tongue may be inflamed with accompanying difficulty in swallowing. The person often feels tired and generally weak.
Causes and risk factors: Anaemia is caused by a fall in the number of red blood cells and haemoglobin in the blood, so that the oxygen-carrying capacity is reduced. Causes are varied and depend on the type of anaemia including bleeding caused by injury or illness, menstruation (in particular abnormally heavy periods), childbirth, haemophilia, gastrointestinal bleeding, haemorrhoids, iron deficiency in diet. Also some infections, toxins (especially those produced in certain kidney diseases), drugs (anticancer and immunosuppressives, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and aspirin), and chemicals of the benzene type, are also causes of anaemia.
Prevention: To enhance iron absorption, foods and drinks that inhibit its absorption should not be eaten or drunk at the same time as iron-rich foods. Vegetarians are advised to cook acidic foods, such as tomato-based chilly, soup, and sauces, in cast-iron cookware, since the acid causes some of the iron from the pan to leach out into the food. The acid also improves iron absorption.
Eat foods that contain iron. Good choices include iron-fortified grains and cereals, red meat, egg yolks, leafy green and yellow vegetables, yellow fruits, potato skins, tomatoes, molasses, and raisins. If you are a vegetarian, you'll need to make an extra effort to ensure that you get sufficient iron. That's because iron found in meat, poultry, and fish is more easily absorbed than iron found in plant-based and iron-fortified foods. Also, certain food combinations can inhibit or promote absorption of iron. For example, drinking coffee or tea (including iced tea) with a meal can significantly lower the amount of iron absorbed. Also do not eat spinach, rhubarb, tomatoes, or chocolates. These foods are high in oxalic acid, a substance that inhibits your body's ability to absorb iron. Sodas, dairy products are other iron-blockers. On the other hand, vitamin C helps the body absorb iron.
Avoid smoking as it raises the risk of developing anaemia by interfering with the absorption of vitamin C, which the body needs to absorb folic acid. Avoid excessive use of alcohol.
Tips: * The decoction of powdered liquorice root (Mulethi) given with honey.
* Powdered Chebulic myrobalan (Harad) is given with a little honey and clarified butter (ghee).