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The Relationship between Anaemia and Malnutrition

The causes of under nutrition are many. The socioeconomic causes like big families, low income, faulty nutritional habits, ignorance and illiteracy play a role. The personal causes like the improper food intake either because the food is forbidden by the doctor or the person is patient and he refuses to eat because he has anorexia nervosa or a chronic disease, improper digestion due to GIT problems, improper absorption due to mal-absorption syndrome, improper metabolism and excessive loss of food such in cases of diarrhoea, vomiting or parasitic infection. There are also food related causes such as insufficient food intake or the high prices of foods.
All these problems cause under nutrition which leads to serious diseases. One of the most serious complications is anaemia; let’s find everything you need to know about it.

1. Nutritional anaemia:
It is considered among the most common diseases in the whole world especially in rural areas.
• Nutrients that are essential for red cell formation:
A. Vitamins: Vitamin B12 and folic acid. Vitamin C is also important for iron absorption and folic acid metabolism.
B. Minerals: iron.
C. Protein: it is essential for the normal formation of red cells and haemoglobin.
• Iron deficiency anaemia:
1) underlying factors for iron deficiency:
a) inadequate intake of dietary iron.
b) Low bioavailability of iron in cases of plant origin iron, excess oxalate and phosphate, vitamin C deficiency and hypo-acidity of the stomach.
c) Increased requirement of iron as in pregnancy and lactation. The lost iron in a normal pregnancy, delivery and lactation for 6 months may be totally 1900 mg.
d) chronic blood loss such as parasitic diseases like malaria and bleeding disorders.

2) Clinical signs and symptoms of iron deficiency anaemia:
a) general weakness and easy fatigability.
b) Dyspnoea on exertion and headache.
c) Pallor and spoon shaped nails.
d) Blood picture: hypochromic microcytic anaemia which is characterized by low haemoglobin and diminished red blood cells count.

3) Prevention and control of iron deficiency anaemia:
a) community development.
b) Prevention and control of parasitic infections.
c) Improving bioavailability of iron diet through consumption of foods rich in vitamin C.
d) Enrichment of food deficient in iron with iron preparation like bread and biscuits for children.
e) Supplementation of the vulnerable groups as children, pre-terms and pregnant women with iron preparation.
f) Control of blood loss.
g) Periodic screening tests for early detection and management of anaemia.

2. B12 and folic acid deficiency anaemia:
B12 and folic acid deficiency lead to macrocytic anaemia where the development of red blood cells in the bone marrow stops at a certain phase.
• The main causes of deficiency of vitamin B12 and folic acid:
A. Pernicious anaemia where there is stop secretion of intrinsic factor which is necessary for absorption of vitamin B12.
B. A parasitic infection with a worm called “Diphyllobothrium latum”. This parasite absorbs large amount of vitamin B12 producing secondary macrocytic anaemia.
• Prevention and control:
A. Adequate nourishment with animal food.
B. Prevention and control of parasitic infections.
C. Parental vitamin B12 is useful in control of pernicious anaemia.

This is the complete guide to understand the relationship between anaemia and malnutrition; understand it well to protect yourself, your kids and your family.

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