What is Anaemia?
There are several different types of anaemia and each one has a different cause. The most common type of anaemia is iron deficiency anaemia, which this section focuses on.
Iron is used by the body to make haemoglobin, which helps store and carry oxygen in red blood cells. Anaemia is when the blood contains less haemoglobin than it should.
Haemoglobin transports oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. If there is a lack of iron in the blood, the organs and tissues will not get as much oxygen as they usually do.
Anaemia can be caused by having smaller than usual red blood cells, which contain haemoglobin, or having increased volume of plasma in your blood.
How common is Anaemia?
Iron deficiency anaemia affects up to 1 in 20 men and 1 in 20 post-menopausal women. Anaemia is more common in women who are menstruating.
What are the symptoms of Anaemia?
The most common symptoms of anaemia include tiredness, lethargy, shortness of breath and palpitations. Less common symptoms of anaemia include headache, tinnitus, an altered sense of taste, pica and feeling itchy. You may also have a pale complexion, an abnormally smooth tongue, painful ulcers, dry flaking nails and spoon shaped nails.
How is Anaemia treated?
Anaemia is usually treated with iron supplements, but severe cases may require a blood transfusion.
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