What is anemia?
Anemia (also known as iron deficiency or pernicious) is a condition where a person does not have enough red blood cells to transport oxygen around the body. Blood consists of both a liquid called plasma and cells. Floating within the plasma are three types of blood cells:
• White Blood Cells: These cells help keep you healthy by fighting off foreign bodies and infections.
• Platelets: These cells help to clot your blood after a cut or wound.
• Red Blood Cells. The red blood cells carry oxygen from your lungs by way of the bloodstream to the brain, other organs, and tissues. The body needs a supply of oxygenated blood to function. Oxygenated blood helps give the body its energy. Red blood cells contain hemoglobin—a red, iron-rich protein that gives blood its red color. Hemoglobin enables red blood cells to carry oxygen from the lungs to all parts of the body and to carry carbon dioxide away from other parts of the body to the lungs so that it can be exhaled. Most blood cells are formed regularly in the bone marrow (a red, spongy material found within the cavities of many of large bones). To produce hemoglobin and red blood cells, the body needs iron, protein and vitamins from the foods which are ingested.
What are the symptoms of anemia?
Anemia has a plethora common symptoms such as overall weakness, shortness of breath, dizziness, headaches, ringing in the ears, cramping legs, and difficulty sleeping. Complications from anemia can range from loss of productivity due to weakness and fatigue to coma and even death. Some neurological changes caused by anemia are irreversible. Pregnant women need three or four times as much iron as usual. A folic acid deficiency during pregnancy can result in infants being born with neural-tube defects, such as spina bifida.
What are the risk factors for developing anemia?
You are more prone to developing anemia if you have any of the following:
• excessive menstrual bleeding
• internal bleeding
• decreased red cell production by the bone marrow
• low immunity
• mineral deficiency
• poor diet or assimilation of food
Rector-Page, Linda G. Healthy Healing: An Alternative Healing Reference. United States: Healthy Healing Publications, 1994. Print.
Wigmore, Ann. Be Your Own Doctor; Let Living Food Be Your Medicine. New York: Hemisphere, 1975