What is Anaemia?

Anaemia is a condition characterised by a deficiency in the number/quality of Red Blood Cells (RBC). RBC carry oxygen around the body using haemoglobin. Typically anaemia is diagnosed when the level of RBC or level of haemoglobin in the blood is lower than normal.

What causes Anaemia?

Anaemia can be caused by a number of different factors, including:

~ Dietary deficiencies of iron/vitamin B12/folate

~ Malabsorption (or malabsorption conditions such as coeliac disease)

~ Genetics (sickle cell anaemia)

~ Autoimmune conditions

~ Blood looses from trauma, surgery, cancer, heavy menstruation

~ Drugs and medications

~ Infections such as malaria and septicaemia

~ Periods of rapid growth and development such as puberty and pregnancy.

~ Chronic diseases

What are the symptoms of Anaemia?

There are many symptoms, however these can overlap with other medical conditions and do not solely relate to anaemia. Some of the common symptoms include:

~ Pale skin

~ Fatigue

~ Weakness

~ Shortness of breath

~ Low blood pressure

~ Headaches

~ Heart palpitations or increased heart rate

~ Easily irritable

~ Loss of appetite

~ Poor concentration

When should you get a referral to a dietitian?

~ If you have been newly diagnosed with anaemia

~ If you have poor dietary intake

~ If you are vegan or vegetarian

~ If you are a young female athlete

~ If your symptoms are ongoing

What are the benefits of involving a dietitian?

~ Improved nutritional status

~ Improved biochemistry

~ Improvement in symptoms such as appetite and fatigue