SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF ANEMIA

Anemia is the blood disorder, characterized by the reduction in:

1. Red blood cell (RBC) count

2. Hemoglobin content

3. Packed cell volume (PVC).

Generally, reduction in RBC count, hemoglobin content and PCV occurs because of:

1. Decreased production of RBC

2. Increased destruction of RBC

3. Excess loss of blood from the body.

All these incidents are caused either by inherited disorders or environmental influences such as nutritional

problem, infection and exposure to drugs or toxins.

CLASSIFICATION OF ANEMIA

Anemia is classified by two methods:

1. Morphological classification

2. Etiological classification.

MORPHOLOGICAL CLASSIFICATION

Morphological classification depends upon the size and color of RBC. Size of RBC is determined by mean corpuscular volume (MCV). Color is determined by mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration (MCHC). By this method, the anemia is classified into four types :

1. Normocytic Normochromic Anemia

Size (MCV) and color (MCHC) of RBCs are normal. But the number of RBC is less.

2. Macrocytic Normochromic Anemia

RBCs are larger in size with normal color. RBC count is less.

3. Macrocytic Hypochromic Anemia

RBCs are larger in size. MCHC is less, so the cells are pale (less colored).

4. Microcytic Hypochromic Anemia

RBCs are smaller in size with less color.

ETIOLOGICAL CLASSIFICATION

On the basis of etiology (study of cause or origin),

anemia is divided into five types :

1. Hemorrhagic anemia

2. Hemolytic anemia

3. Nutrition deficiency anemia

4. Aplastic anemia

5. Anemia of chronic diseases.

 

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF ANEMIA

SKIN AND MUCOUS MEMBRANE

Color of the skin and mucous membrane becomes pale. Paleness is more constant and prominent in buccal and pharyngeal mucous membrane, conjunctivae, lips, ear lobes, palm and nail bed. Skin looses the elasticity and becomes thin and dry. Thinning, loss and early grayness of hair occur. The nails become brittle and easily breakable.

CARDIOVASCULAR SYSTEM

There is an increase in heart rate (tachycardia) and cardiac output. Heart is dilated and cardiac murmurs are produced. The velocity of blood flow is increased.

RESPIRATION

There is an increase in rate and force of respiration. Sometimes, it leads to breathlessness and dyspnea

(difficulty in breathing). Oxygenhemoglobin dissociation curve is shifted to right.

DIGESTION

Anorexia, nausea, vomiting, abdominal discomfort and constipation are common. In pernicious anemia, there is atrophy of papillae in tongue. In aplastic anemia, necrotic lesions appear in mouth and pharynx.

METABOLISM

Basal metabolic rate increases in severe anemia.

KIDNEY

Renal function is disturbed. Albuminuria is common.

REPRODUCTIVE SYSTEM

In females, the menstrual cycle is disturbed. There may be menorrhagia, oligomenorrhea or amenorrhea.

NEUROMUSCULAR SYSTEM

Common neuromuscular symptoms are increased sensitivity to cold, headache, lack of concentration, restless ness, irritability, drowsiness, dizziness or vertigo (especially while standing) and fainting. Muscles become weak and the patient feels lack of energy and fatigued quite often and quite easily.

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