Anemia is a disease that has been into existence for the last 100 years. It is a medical disorder wherein antibodies are formed in the red blood cells of a person which causes the cells to burst and get destroyed. This leads to a reduction in the number of oxygen carrying red blood cells and reduces the life cycle of the red blood cell to only a few days. The rare medical condition affects between 1 and 3 people per 100,000 in a year. If you have been wondering what is anemia, here is everything you need to know about it.
Patients suffering from lupus erythematosus develop this condition. There are a number of risk factors which include reduced mobility, active malignancy, recent surgery or trauma, thrombophilic condition, previous DVT, age above 70 years, pulmonary failure, heart failure, obesity, rheumatologic disorder, myocardial infarction and ongoing hormone therapy.
The medical condition could be primary or secondary. Primary anemia accounts for about 50% of the cases. Secondary anemia can result due to lymphoproliferative disorder, autoimmune disorders and solid malignancies.
Based on the temperature range in which the auto antibodies are active, anemia can be classified as warm, cold and mixed. Most cases are due to warm antibodies.
Majority patients suffer from muscle weakness, fatigue, headache, dizziness, paleness, and palpitations and shortness of breath. About 50% patients also suffer with signs of frequent infections. When the red blood cells in your body reduce, there are increased chances of getting infected. Less than 30% of the patients suffer from abdominal pain, jaundice, abnormal urinary color, edema, congestive heart, fever, cardiac arrhythmias and splenomegaly.
Those patients with acute and rapidly progressive hemolysis may complain of lumbar back pain. Patients with a cold anemia may show symptoms related to the agglutination of red cells. Additionally, abdominal pain is noticed when consuming cold food, which is due to ischemia related to agglutination of the red cells in stomach.
If you notice a sudden drop of red blood count, you need to get yourself tested for the disease. A diagnosis requires laboratory tests which will demonstrate the evidence of presence of autoimmune component and hemolysis. In case of hemolysis, it can be diagnosed by finding conclusive evidence of the red cell breakdown and a raise in red cell production. There are a number of tests and medical evidence required to reach a confirm diagnosis.
For autoimmune component, it is tested by direct antiglobulin test or the Coombs test. It can have false positive and false negative results. Positive DAT could be seen in patients with a liver disease and HIV infection.
Depending on the stage of anemia and the type of anemia, its treatment can be arranged. In order to ensure that the patient receives the best treatment, it is important to get the blood tested at the earliest possible. If you face any of the above mentioned symptoms, you need to get yourself tested at the earliest.