Hypochromic anemia

Hypochromic anemia: Description, Causes and Risk Factors:Anemia characterized by a decrease in the ratio of the weight of hemoglobin to the volume of the erythrocyte, i.e., the mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration is less than normal; the individual cells contain less hemoglobin than they do under optimal conditions and stain more faintly. hypochromic anemia Hypochromic anemia is a generic term for any type of anemia in which the red blood cells (erythrocytes) are paler than normal. A normal red blood cell (RBC) will have an area of pallor in the center of it; in hypochromic cells, this area of central pallor is increased. This decrease in redness is due to a disproportionate reduction of red cell hemoglobin in proportion to the volume of the cell. In many cases, the red blood cells will also be small (microcytic), leading to substantial overlap with the category of microcytic anemia. The most common causes of this kind of anemia are iron deficiency and thalassemia.Hypochromic anemia was historically known as chlorosis or green sickness for the distinct skin tinge sometimes present in patients, in addition to more general symptoms such as a lack of energy, shortness of breath, dyspepsia, headaches, a capricious or scanty appetite and amenorrhea.Hypochromic anemia may be caused by vitamin B6 deficiency from a low iron intake, diminished iron absorption, or excessive iron loss. It can also be caused by infections (e.g. hookworms) or other diseases, therapeutic drugs, and lead poisoning. One acquired form of anemia is also known as Faber's syndrome. It may also occur from severe stomach or intestinal bleeding caused by ulcers or bleeding because of piles/constipation or medications.Symptoms:Symptoms may include:
  • Feeling of weakness: Most patients with hypochromic anemia suffer from weakness. They have little or no energy and feel tired for no reason. They feel they can't get enough rest or sleep. These patients also look tired. Their skin will look extremely pale, and their nails will become brittle and very white. Some will get jaundice, a yellowing of the skin.
  • Rapid Heart Beat: A rapid heart beat and shortness of breath are frequently seen in people with hypochromic anemia. A heart rate that is more than 100 beats per minute is considered fast. Severe anemia will often cause heart palpitations.
  • Signs of Depression: Some hypochromic anemia patients become clinically depressed. They may have headaches and find concentration and memory to be problems.
  • Pica: An unusual symptom sometimes seen is pica. This is eating non-food items, such as paper, wax, dirt or hair. The person may crunch on ice constantly. Doctors say there seems to be a connection between pica and iron deficiency. Consuming non-food items affects the body's ability to absorb iron.
  • Other Symptoms: Some of the other symptoms of hypochromic anemia include constipation, dizziness, sore mouth, cold hands and feet and, for females, cessation of periods. Because there are numerous symptoms and many are ordinary complaints, a considerable number of people with hypochromic anemia don't see a doctor until they are quite ill.
Diagnosis:Hypochromic anemia is the commonest type of anemia encountered in family practice. Although iron deficiency is by far the most common cause, it cannot be readily distinguished from hypochromic anemia due to other causes without knowing the state of the tissue iron stores. To establish the reason for the hypochromic state, the following tests are suggested: Serum ferritin, bone marrow assessment of iron stores, plus serum iron and iron binding capacity (IBC).The presence of hypochromia in the red cells, either morphologically or through the measurement of mean corpuscular hemoglobin (MCH), indicates defective hemoglobin formation. Frequently the abnormality is associated with a decrease in the mean corpuscular volume (MCV) of the red cells. As a results, the cells are not only hypochromic but also macrocytic. To understand the pathogenesis of the defect in hypochromic anemia, a firm understanding of the hemoglobin synthetic pathways and the role of iron metabolism in regulating hemoglobin production is required.Treatment:Although hypochromic anemia due to iron deficiency is universally treated with iron medications, there is not as much unanimity with respect to the particular type of iron compound to be used. Ferrous gluconate prepared in the absence of oxygen has been used in treatment of 13 patients suffering from hypochromic anemia. The use of ferrous gluconate compared with other iron preparation results in satisfactory reticulocyte responses, a high percentage utilization of iron, and such daily increase in hemoglobin that a normal level occurs in a reasonably short time. Four patients, who showed toxic reaction to other iron compounds, were able to take ferrous gluconate without any undue distress. In the patients who received ferrous gluconate intramuscularly up to the present no systemic and only rare and mild local reactions occurred. However, in view of the efficacy of the oral administration of ferrous gluconate and its lack of toxicity there is seldom any reason for its parenteral administration.NOTE: The above information is for processing purpose. The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition.DISCLAIMER: This information should not substitute for seeking responsible, professional medical care. 


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