• Brief

    • Often, a parent or caregiver may say, “you look pale”.

      Anaemia occurs when your blood does not have enough protein or red blood cells that carry oxygen around the body. Common causes include bleeding, inability to make red blood cells or consuming a diet that does not have enough of the nutrients needed by your body to make red blood cells.

      Anaemia can be life-threatening, do not ignore the symptoms.

    • What are the symptoms?

    • You may not notice the symptoms of anaemia in the beginning. However, they may get worse as your condition gets worse. They are:

      • Feeling faint or getting tired easily.
      • Blood vessels visible in the palms and the eyes may not appear as red as usual but pale.
      • You may run out of breath when walking or doing a task.
      • You may have a headache or feel pain in your chest and bones.
      • Your hands and feet may feel cold to touch.
    • What are the causes?

    • In general, anaemia occurs when your blood doesn't contain enough red blood cells. The most common cause of anaemia is having low levels of iron in your body. This is called iron-deficiency anaemia. Your body needs a certain amount of iron to make hemoglobin, the substance that moves oxygen throughout your body. This can happens when:

      • Your body is unable to make enough red blood cells, due to a lack of iron in your diet, inherited conditions, or chronic diseases (e.g. lupus, kidney disease).
      • Bleeding causes you to lose red blood cells, for instance during heavy monthly periods, if you have fibroids or ulcers, or if you use blood thinners.
      • Your body destroys red blood cells, for instance due to a viral or bacterial infection or the use of certain medicines (e.g. antibiotics, antimalarials).
    • What are the things that put you at risk?

    • If you have one or more of the following, your chances of getting anaemia are higher. Including:

      • If you mainly eat foods that do not contain enough protein and iron, such as meat, fish, eggs, beans, milk and green vegetables (e.g. spinach).
      • If your menstrual blood flow soaks through regular pads in less than 2 hours and does not stop or you pass a blood clot as large as a one-naira coin (very heavy flow).
      • Pregnant or breastfeeding women and growing children who do not get enough iron and nutrients from food, because they have higher needs.
      • If you are are unable to take in iron or other important nutrients from food.
      • If you have sickle cell disease, an inherited disease that causes abnormal shaped red blood cells.
      • If you suffer from long-term diseases such as kidney disease, liver disease, cancer or long-term infections.
    • When to visit a doctor?

    • Mild anaemia does not usually present symptoms. As soon as symptoms appear, see your healthcare provider. Prompt action will prevent complications like heart disease, premature birth and death.

    • How to prevent?

    • Some kinds of anaemia, such as those that are inherited, cannot be prevented. However, you can prevent anaemia caused by iron and vitamin deficiency by eating well. This includes eating a diet with foods that provide iron and vitamins, such as meat, lentils, and leafy green vegetables. Fruits (e.g. oranges), berries and vegetables (e.g. peppers, tomatoes) that are rich in vitamin C improve iron absorption in your body.

      Make sure that you drink enough water.

    • How to manage and treat?

    • Self-care tips:

        • Eat foods rich in iron and vitamins such as spinach, meat, milk and eggs.
        • Eat oranges, pawpaw, guava, lemons and other fruits that contain vitamin C which helps your body take in iron.
        • Pregnant or breastfeeding women and children may require more nutrients than they can get from food, so vitamin or iron supplements may help.
        • If you are a sickle cell patient you can prevent a crisis by keeping warm in cold environments and by drinking enough water.

      Treatment options:

          • Medicines, tablets or injections, may be prescribed to treat your anaemia.
          • Your doctor may also recommend an injection that stimulates the production of red blood cells.
          • If your anaemia is severe, your healthcare provider can inject blood or red blood cells from a donor into you to treat anaemia.

    • Kulawa cares

    • Anaemia may affect your development and growth. Anaemia can also cause you to be anxious. Anaemia places your body under a great deal of stress and your brain may not be getting enough oxygen. You may develop an anxiety disorder because of mental and physical stress. Eating a varied diet and ensuring you get enough nutrients. If you experience any of the symptoms of anaemia, do not ignore them.