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Thursday, August 17, 2006

Most people misunderstand the word Anemia. They come to our clinic, have their blood pressure taken in order for them "to know if they have anemia". The thing is that one will not be able to diagnose the presence or absence of anemia by taking the blood pressure. The sphygmomanometer will only tell the presence of hypertension (high blood pressure), normotension, or hypotension (low blood pressure).

There are two parts of the blood: the liquid part which is the plasma and the solid part is the cells. The cells are of 3 types: the White Blood Cells (WBC) are the ones responsible for fighting infection, the platelets are responsible for blood clotting, and the Red Blood Cells (RBC) carry Oxygen and carbon dioxide.

The RBCs contain hemoglobin, an iron-rich protein which gives the red color to the RBC and enables the RBC to carry oxygen and carbon dioxide. The blood pumped by the heart contains oxygenated blood. The oxygen is delivered to the different tissues of the body in exchange for the carbon dioxide. In a person with anemia, the RBC and hemoglobin count of the blood is less than normal. This is maybe due either to increase destruction or decrease formation so that there are not enough RBCs to carry oxygen to the tissues and this will lead to different signs and symptoms. The most prominent symptom is easy fatiguability. There may also be headache, weakness, dizziness, shortness of breath, chest pain, pale skin, and numbness of the extremities. Heart rate also may increase as a compensatory mechanism of the heart to increase oxygen delivery.

Anemia per se is not a disease. It is a condition present in many diseases like iron deficiency anemia, sickle cell anemia, aplastic anemia, vitamin deficiency anemia, and hemolytic anemia.
posted by Amelyn R. Rafael,MD @ 9:39 AM  
  • At 2:35 PM, Blogger - K - said…

    Sup Doc?!hehe hello there! nice to see another filipino blogger. Keep bloggin' :)

  • At 4:12 PM, Blogger Amelyn R. Rafael,MD said…

    Yes, -k-, actually i'm a practicing physician, an academician and the Head of the Physiology Department in the College of Medicine, a tutor to my 2 brilliant kids, a wife and a mother, and a blogger all rolled into one. That's why the title "Super Dok"!

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Name: Amelyn R. Rafael,MD
Home: San Fabian, Pangasinan, Philippines
About Me: Family Physician, and Associate Professor (Clinical Anatomy and Medical Physiology)
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