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Anemia due to lack of haemoglobin or RBCs in blood may be an acute (rapid-onset) or chronic (slow onset) condition.
In drastic blood loss after an injury or major surgery there may be an acute anemia precipitation.
In chronic cases there may be commonly iron deficiency anemia that usually displays few signs or symptoms.
Anyone can develop anaemia. Most often it affects women of childbearing age, pregnant women, men and women over 75, growing children and teenagers and new born babies. (1-5)
The most common features or symptoms of iron deficiency anemia include (1, 3, 4):
In patients with anemia due to Vitamin B 12 or folate deficiency there may be common symptoms of anemia along with few other tell-tale signs. These include (2):
If anemia is caused due to excessive destruction of RBCs like in haemolytic anemias the symptoms may include the common features and some other symptoms as well. These include (4, 5) –
Jaundice occurs because the rapid breakdown of abnormal red blood cells leads to a build-up of a fluid normally present in the body called bilirubin.
The build-up of bilirubin often leads to the formation of small crystals or gall stones in the gall bladder. This may lead to abdominal pain and nausea.
The spleen is a fist sized organ located in the abdomen (upper left corner). It helps filter harmful bacteria and viruses from the blood.
The dead RBCs tend to accumulate in the spleen causing it to enlarge in size.
These are episodes of excessive pain. It is triggered when the abnormal blood cells block the small blood vessels that supply the body’s tissues. This causes the cells in the affected tissue to be damaged, resulting in swelling that further irritates the nerves leading to pain.
Young children may develop painful swelling in their hands or feet. Common areas of pain include ribs, spine, pelvis, breast bone, abdomen and long bones of the legs and arms. This may be a throbbing, sharp and shooting or throbbing pain.
Symptoms can be severe and episodes can last from a few minutes to several weeks with an average duration of around 5-7 days. A sickle cell crisis is brought about by change in temperatures, dehydration or sudden stress like infections etc.