Six in 10 women in India faces the risk of anemia

Anemia is a condition that develops when there is iron deficiency in blood


A recent study, conducted by Metropolis Healthcare, found that six in 10 women from 36 cities of India have low haemoglobin levels, indicating anemia.

Anemia is a condition that develops when there is iron deficiency or lack of healthy red blood cells or haemoglobin in the blood. The incidence of anemia was reported highest in the age group of 20 to 50. The study was conducted for 17,00,000 girls and women across India, including 11,41,600 girls and women from Mumbai alone, over a period of two years. The most common signs to watch out for anemia are lethargy, unexplained fatigue, pale skin and pale eyes.

During the study, it was observed that more often than not, anemia symptoms are misunderstood to be resulting from of stress and overwork. “While routine blood tests like complete blood cell (CBC) count can give us an overall picture on the status of Hb and red blood cell components, it is important to undergo thorough diagnosis to find out the exact cause of anemia. Other causes of anemia may include internal bleeding and our body’s inability to absorb iron,” said Dr Mayur Nigalye, head of department, hematology, Metropolis Healthcare Ltd.

Metropolis categorised the condition into causes and the resulting disorders. Anemia caused by blood loss leads to gastrointestinal conditions such as ulcers, hemorrhoids, gastritis (inflammation of the stomach), and cancer. Anemia caused by decreased or faulty red blood cell production results in vitamin deficiency, bone marrow and stem cell problems, and anemia caused by destruction of red blood cells leads to inherited conditions such as sickle cell anemia and thalassemia.

While 73 per cent of women in the 80+ age group were found to be anemic, close to 40 per cent girls under the age of ten are suffering from anemia as per the study. An alarming 65 per cent women in the age group of 20 to 40 have shown very high levels of iron deficiency. Overall, in a sample of 17 lakh women and girls, over ten lakh showed symptoms of iron deficiency.

While iron deficiency induced anemia and pregnancy are two of the largest causes of mild and moderate anemia, some cases of severe anemia may have serious underlying causes, which may affect a person’s quality of life. These include beta thalassemia, macrocytic anemia and other chronic diseases with permanent consequences. “The most common reason for anemia is a deficiency of iron which can be taken care of with supplements and good nutrition. But in India, women continue to live with anemia. Menstruating girls and women are more deficient due to the monthly blood loss and in kids. Anemia is characterized by a behaviour called pica where the child builds a tendency to eat dirt, clay and other unusual substances. This is not a harmful behaviour and disappears once anemia is cured,” said Dr Nigalye.


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