Anaemia is a condition that many people live with. It is usually caused by low levels of iron in one’s bloodstream, which in turn affects the production of red blood cells which are responsible for the transfer of oxygen. While this can often be managed with over the counter medication, there is another type of anaemia that comes about as a result of the effects of chronic disease. Living with chronic anaemia can be difficult but there are many ways to do it.
What is chronic anaemia and what causes it?
Anaemia is a condition that is characterised by one’s blood not having enough healthy red blood cells or by having too many dysfunctional red blood cells. The result of this is that affected individuals may suffer from reduced oxygen levels. The reduced oxygen levels lead to a variety of symptoms including light headedness, a fast heartbeat, dizziness and fatigue, among other symptoms.
Chronic anaemia is a result of reduced levels of red blood cells due to the effects of an autoimmune disease. More often than not, anaemia that is caused by chronic illnesses is mild. The chronic disease attacks the body’s organs, immune system or joints, affecting the production of red blood cells. Some of the common autoimmune illnesses that cause chronic anaemia include cancer, kidney disease, rheumatoid arthritis and heart failure. There are several other diseases that can also cause chronic anaemia. These diseases cause changes in the blood system that make red blood cells less effective.
Can it be treated?
Chronic anaemia can be treated along with the disease that caused it or it can be treated as a separate condition. Depending on the effects of it, there are different kinds of treatments that can be administered for chronic anaemia. It can be treated through oxygen treatments, the introduction of fluids (oral and intravenous), and if need be, pain killers. Chronic anaemia is best treated when it is caught early. It can also provide doctors with the information they need to catch and treat chronic illnesses, and that could help to ensure that the anaemia itself is treated before it causes any lasting damage.
If the anaemia becomes severe, blood transfusions can be used as a treatment option. Transfusions are usually used as a last resort because they come with the risks of iron overload and other immune side effects that can worsen the condition. The best way to manage chronic anaemia remains to get treatment for the disease that has caused the anaemia.