What is Anemia?
Anemia is a condition in which concentration of red blood cells or hemoglobin (the oxygen carrying pigment) is below normal.
Anemia is defined as haemoglobin concentration in blood below the lower limit of the normal range for the age and sex of the individual.
In adults, the lower extreme of the normal haemoglobin is taken a 13.0 g/dl for males and 11.5 g/dl for females.
This reduction of blood cells may be caused by blood loss, increased destruction or decreased production.
Causes of anemia
Mainly there are three causes of anaemia
- due to increase blood loss
- due to impaired red cell formation
- due to increased red cell destruction
Types of anemia
Iron deficiency anemia
This is the most common form of anemia. Iron is very essential for the bone marrow in the production of Hemoglobin. Common cause of iron deficiency anemia is depletion of iron stores due to
- Prolonged or heavy menses
- Chronic blood loss due to an ulcer
- Deficiency of iron in diet
- Colorectal cancer
- Erosive gastritis
- Loss of blood due to hemorrhoids
- GIT bleeding after using certain medication (such as aspirin, NSAIDs)
- Bleeding due to kidney and bladder tumors
- Celiac disease (in which there is damage in the lining of the small intestine, causes malabsorption of iron ultimately leads to iron deficiency anemia)
In pernicious anaemia, there is impaired absorption of vitamin B12, which leads to deficiency of vitamin B12, which stops the production of normal red blood cells in the bone marrow.
To maintain a sufficient number of healthy red bleed cells, in addition to iron, both folate and vitamin B12 are necessary. A deficiency in either or both of these vitamins may result in megaloblastic anemia.
It develops due to premature and excessive destruction of the red blood cells in the blood stream.
Sickle cell anemia
It is an inherited genetic disorder caused due to premature death of abnormal sickle shaped red blood cells resulting in chronic shortage of red blood cells.
Symptoms of anemia
Symptoms mainly include
- Shortness of breath
- Rapid breathing
- Rapid heart rate
- Lack of vital energy
- Chest pain
- Pale appearance
- Low blood pressure
- Coldness of the skin surface
- Heart murmurs
- Splenomegaly may also be present with anemia
Signs of anemia
- Pallor – pallor is the most common and characteristic sign which may be seen in the conjunctivae and skin.
- Central nervous system – there may be symptoms like faintness, giddiness, headache, tinnitus, drowsiness, numbness and tingling sensations of the hands and feet.
- Cardiovascular system – include tachycardia, collapsing pulse, cardiomegaly, Dyspnoea on exertion and congestive heart failure in some elderly patients.
- Ocular manifestations – retinal haemorrhage may occur if there is associated with bleeding diathesis.
- Reproductive system – menstrual disturbances like amenorrhea, and menorrhagia and loss of libido may occur.
- Renal system – mild protienuria and impaired functioning of kidney may occur in severe type of anaemia.
- Gastrointestinal system – anorexia, flatulence, nausea, constipation and weight loss may occur.
Investigation in case of anemia
- History– evaluation of history include age and sex, drug ingestion, occupation, diet, bleeding, family history, gastro-intestinal symptoms, reproductive health or menstrual disturbances, urinary complains such as renal insufficiency, nervous disorders, bleeding tendency etc.A complete history is usually sufficient to point towards the possible cause. It is easy to treat a disease if its underlying cause can be ascertained.
- Physical examination – This mainly includes
Skin– colors of skin, petechiae and echymosis. In the condition of pernicious anemia skin may have lemon yellow appearance, petechiae in anemia suggests aplastic anemia or leukemia.
Conjunctiva – show pallor due to anemia
Nails – nails brittle denotes chronic iron deficiency anemia
Mouth – petechiae in palate, cheeks, or tongue in aplastic anaemia, and leukemia, hypertrophy of gums – in leukemia, acute glossitis, or smooth tongue in megaloblastic anaemia and sometimes in iron deficiency anaemia, ulceration of throat in acute aplastic anaemia or in acute leukemia.
Cardio vascular system – hypertension in anemia due to renal insufficiency
Abdomen – splenomegaly – common in leukemia, megaloblastic anemia, hemolytic anemia,
abdominal lump – in carcinoma of stomach, chronic lymphatic leukemia.
Bone examination – bone tenderness may present due to anemia secondary to marrow infiltration
Lymph nodes – superficial nodes may be palpable in leukemia
Breasts – for evidence of carcinoma
Pelvic examination – useful in females with menorrhagea
Rectal examination – to diagnose hemorrhoids and rectal bleeding
- Laboratory Investigations
- Hemoglobin estimation
- Peripheral blood film estimation
- Red cell indices
- Leucocyte and platelet count
- Erythrocytic sedimentation rate
- Reticulocyte count
- Bone marrow examination
Homeopathy Anemia Treatment
Homeopathy is one of the most popular holistic systems of medicine. The selection of remedy is based upon the theory of individualization and symptoms similarity by using holistic approach.
This is the only way through which a state of complete health can be regained by removing all the sign and symptoms from which the patient is suffering.
The aim of homeopathy is not only to treat anemia but to address its underlying cause and individual susceptibility.
As far as therapeutic medication is concerned, several remedies are available to treat that can be selected on the basis of cause, sensations and modalities of the complaints.
For individualized remedy selection and treatment, the patient should consult a qualified homeopathic doctor in person. There are following remedies which are helpful in the treatment of anemia:
- Acetic acid – pale face and marked debility, frequent spells of fainting, and vomiting. Profuse urination and sweat
- Ferrum phos – due to lack of iron; it promotes synthesis of hemoglobin. Iron is the great allopathic remedy for anemia from almost any cause. It is also a great homeopathic remedy, but it will not cure every case of anemia; careful individualization is necessary. When the patient has an appearance of full bloodedness or plethora, which is followed by paleness or earthiness of the face and puffiness of the extremities, then Ferrum will benefit. It is not the remedy for the anemia resulting from loss of fluids; that is Cinchona, or perhaps Natrum muriaticum. When Ferrum is indicated the mucous membranes are pale, more so than with Cinchona, and there is apt to be an anemia murmur in the veins of the neck. The patient is easily exhausted. Vomiting of food after eating may occur. The patient is constantly chilly and perhaps has an afternoon or evening fever simulating hectic fever.
- Calcarea phos – in children who are pale but flabby, frequent attacks of tonsillitis
- Kali carb – lack of RBC’s in blood, weakness along with menstrual disturbances at the time of puberty, milky white skin with great debility, bloated face, with swelling above eyelids.
- Lecithinum – increases the number of red blood corpuscles and amount of hemoglobin
- Natrum mur – pale face with palpitation, excellent remedy for anaemia especially after malaria.
- Calcarea ars – improves the condition by enhancing the number of red blood corpuscles and hemoglobin in the short time period.
- Pulsatilla – well known medicine for iron deficiency anaemia. Patient is mild, thirstless, aggravated by heat. Pulsatilla is the great antidote to Iron, and hence is indicated in the anemic condition produced by large or continued doses of it. The system is relaxed and worn out; the patient is chilly and suffers from gastric and menstrual derangements. Thus the symptoms resemble closely those calling for Ferrum. The cause of the anemia must be sought for, and if the case comes from allopathic hands it is safe to infer that much Iron has been given and Pulsatilla will surely be the remedy. The Pulsatilla patient feels better in the open air. Dizziness on rising, absence of thirst, and the peculiar disposition will lead to the remedy.
- Arsenic album – anemia with great prostration, weakness and restlessness, after malaria. This being a direct poison to the red blood corpuscles takes first rank in cases of pernicious anemia or in anemias due to a malarial of ;toxic influence. Dr.Blackley, of England, reported four cases of pernicious anemia cured with small doses of the remedy. It does not correspond to simple anemias so well. It indications are excessive prostration considerable oedema, violent and irregular palpitation,marked appetite for acids and brandy, extreme anxiety and rapid emaciation . There is irritable stomach and intense thirst. When the allopathic school uses Arsenic as a blood tonic, and Dr.Bartholow says, “it is one of the most valuable remedies in the treatment of chlorosis and anemia,” it does so on strictly Homoeopathic principles. Picric acid. The extreme prostration of pernicious anemia, with a heavy tired feeling all over the body, burning pains along the spine and aggravation from excitement indicate this remedy.
- Nux vomica – anaemia caused due to indigestion, especially in those people who have sedentary life habits or given to high living
- Calcarea carb – Almost any of the deeper acting constitutional remedies may be of use in anemic and debilitated conditions, and especially are the Calcareas useful. Thus we have Calcarea phosphorica as the remedy for the “green sickness,” chlorosis of young girls, with a complexion like wax, alabaster lips and ears, a bright eye, and when they smile or laugh it is a sickly one. The face sometimes has a true greenish hue or a sallow one. In such cases the menses are apt to be too early and then calcarea phosphorica is well indicated for this condition. Calcarea carbonica is indicated by the psoric, scrofulous or tubercular diathesis and the general symptoms of the drug, by disgust for meat, craving for sour and indigestible things, swelling of abdomen, vertigo and palpitation ;on going upstairs. The patient is in a state of worry.
- Phosphorous – anaemia due to renal disease
- Iridium met – anemia after long exhausting disease condition
- China – due to loss of blood or vital fluids
- Helonias – An excellent remedy in anemia and chlorosis. It suits especially anemia from prolonged haemorrhage in women enervated by indolence and luxury, or such as are worn out with hard work; they are too tired to sleep and the strained muscles burn and ache A characteristic modality is that the patient is better when the attention is engaged, hence better when the doctor comes. This anemia is associated with disturbances in the urinary and sexual organs. Tired,anemic, backachey females need Helonias, “It is one of the best blood makers that we have.”
- Silicea – anemia in infants
- Acid phos – anemia due to grief or loss of seminal fluids
- Secale – This remedy produces a progressives general anemia. It is shown by the peculiar cachexia of anemia, pale, bloodless, jaundiced color. By its effect on the blood corpuscles it produces a general anemia, threatening not only the life of a part, but vitiating the whole life of the bodily economy. It is a sort of a mechanical anemia.
- Ferrum met – pale appearance with loss of blood.
- Graphites – anemia with redness of face.
- Natrum Muriaticum – This is one of our best remedies in anemic conditions. There is paleness, and, in spite of the fact that the patient eats well, there is emaciation. There are attacks of throbbing headache and dyspnoea, especially on going up stairs, constipation and depression of spirits, and consolation aggravates. With these symptoms there is much palpitation, fluttering and intermittent action of the heart. The hypochondriasis in these cases is marked. Scanty menstruation is frequently an indicating symptom. Kali carbonicum is one of the most important remedies in anemia, weak heart, sweats backache, especially with female complaints.
There indications are brief and in no way complete. The remedy selection should be based after a detail consultation, on the basis of symptom-similarity and individualisation.
Diet also plays an important in order to deal with low hemoglobin. Diet to correct low hemoglobin anemia mainly includes green leafy vegetables, fruits, Oysters, chicken liver, enriched breakfast cereals, pumpkin seeds, baked potato etc.