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Blood / Hematology

Lymphoma: What you should know

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Lymphoma is a lymphatic cell cancer. Lymphocytes, which are a type of white blood cell, grow in it. These cells help the body fight disease and play an important part in the immune defenses of the body.

Since this type of cancer is present in the lymph system, it can metastasize or spread across the body to multiple tissues and organs rapidly. Lymphoma travels to the liver, bone marrow, or lungs more commonly.

People of any age may develop lymphoma, especially in children and young adults aged 15-24 years, it is among the most prevalent forms of cancer. Sometimes, it is treatable.

We look at the signs of lymphoma in this article, how to treat it, and the risk factors for the various forms.

Types

Two major forms of lymphoma are present: Hodgkin’s and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. There are lots of subtypes among these.

Non-Hodgkin lymphoma

Swollen glands that do not go away can be a sign of lymphoma.
Swollen glands that do not go away can be a sign of lymphoma.

Typically, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, the most common form, arises in the body from B and T lymphocytes (cells) throughout the lymph nodes or tissues. Tumor development does not impact every lymph node in non-Hodgkin lymphoma, frequently skipping some and growing on others.

It accounts for 95% of cases of lymphoma.

Non-Hodgkin lymphoma accounts for 4.2 percent of all cancers in the United States, according to the National Cancer Institute ( NCI), and the average chance of a person contracting it is around 2.2 percent.

Hodgkin lymphoma

Hodgkin’s lymphoma is an immune system cancer that can be identified by physicians by the involvement of Reed-Sternberg cells, which are abnormally large B lymphocytes. In individuals with Hodgkin lymphoma, the cancer generally moves from one lymph node to an adjacent one.

The NCI estimate that Hodgkin lymphoma accounts for 0.5% of all cancers and approximately 0.2% of people in the U.S. will receive a diagnosis in their lifetime.

Symptoms

The signs of lymphoma, such as the common cold, are close to those of other infectious diseases. Usually, however, they live for a more prolonged time.

No signs can be encountered by certain individuals. Others may notice a swelling of the lymph nodes. Lymph nodes are located all over the body. In the neck, groin, abdomen, or armpits, swelling also happens.

Sometimes, the swelling is painless. If the swollen glands press on organs, bones, and other components, they could become painful. Lymphoma is mistaken for back pain by some people.

During common illnesses, such as a cold, lymph nodes can swell as well. Swelling is not overcome in the case of lymphoma. Pressure is often more likely to trigger the swelling if an illness has caused it to occur.

Symptom overlap can contribute to misdiagnosis. For a consultation, someone who has persistently swollen glands should visit the doctor.

Other signs in lymphoma of all forms may include:

  • ongoing fever without infection
  • night sweats, fever, and chills
  • weight loss and reduced appetite
  • unusual itching
  • persistent fatigue or a lack of energy
  • pain in lymph nodes after drinking alcohol

Some additional symptoms of non-Hodgkin lymphoma include:

  • persistent coughing
  • shortness of breath
  • pain or swelling in the abdomen

If an enlarged lymph node pushes against the spinal nerves or spinal cord, pain , fatigue, paralysis, or diminished feeling may occur.

Lymphoma will quickly spread across the lymphatic system from the lymph nodes to other areas of the body. The immune system can not as successfully protect against infections as cancerous lymphocytes migrate into other tissues.

Treatment

Chemotherap
Chemotherapy is one of the possible treatments that doctors may use to treat lymphoma.

The path of therapy depends on a person ‘s type of lymphoma and the level it has reached.

Treatment may not be needed for indolent or slow-growing lymphoma.

To ensure that the cancer does not spread, watchful waiting might be enough.

If therapy is required, the following could be involved:

  • Biologic therapy: This is a drug treatment that stimulates the immune system to attack the cancer. The drug achieves this by introducing living microorganisms into the body.
  • Antibody therapy: A medical professional inserts synthetic antibodies into the bloodstream. These respond to the cancer’s toxins.
  • Chemotherapy: A healthcare team administers aggressive drug treatment to target and kill cancer cells.
  • Radioimmunotherapy: This delivers high powered radioactive doses directly into cancerous B cells and T-cells to destroy them.
  • Radiation therapy: A doctor may recommend this type of therapy to target and destroy small areas of cancer. Radiation therapy uses concentrated doses of radiation to kill cancerous cells.
  • Stem cell transplantation: This can help restore damaged bone marrow following high dose chemotherapy or radiation therapy.
  • Steroids: A doctor may inject steroids to treat lymphoma.
  • Surgery: A surgeon may remove the spleen or other organs after the lymphoma has spread. However, a cancer specialist, or oncologist, will more commonly request surgery to obtain a biopsy.

Risk factors

Different risk factors can increase the risk of both types of lymphoma.

Non-Hodgkin lymphoma

Risk factors for non-Hodgkin lymphoma include:

  • Age: Most lymphomas occur in people aged 60 years and older. However, some types are more likely to develop in children and young adults.
  • Sex: Some types are more likely in women. Men have a higher risk of other types.
  • Ethnicity and location: In the U.S., African American and Asian American people have a lower risk for non-Hodgkin lymphoma than white people. Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma is more common in developed nations.
  • Chemicals and radiation: Nuclear radiation and certain agricultural chemicals have links to non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
  • Immunodeficiency: A person with a less active immune system has a higher risk. This may be due to anti-rejection medications following an organ transplant or HIV.
  • Autoimmune diseases: This type of disease occurs when the immune system attacks the body’s own cells. Examples include rheumatoid arthritis and celiac disease.
  • Infection: Certain viral and bacterial infections that transform lymphocytes, such as the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), increase the risk. This virus causes glandular fever.
  • Breast implants: These can lead to anaplastic large cell lymphoma in the breast tissue.
  • Body weight and diet: The American Cancer Society (ACS) has suggested that overweight and obesity may have some involvement in the development of lymphoma. However, more research is necessary to confirm the link.

Hodgkin lymphoma

Risk factors for Hodgkin lymphoma include:

  • Infectious mononucleosis: The Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) can cause mononucleosis. This disease increases the risk of lymphoma.
  • Age: People aged 20–30 years and those 55 years of age have a higher risk of lymphoma.
  • Sex: Hodgkin lymphoma is slightly more common in males than females.
  • Family history: If a sibling has Hodgkin lymphoma, the risk is slightly higher. If the sibling is an identical twin, this risk increases significantly.
  • HIV infection: This can weaken the immune system and increase the risk of lymphoma.

Diagnosis

imaging scans
A doctor may request imaging scans to help diagnose lymphoma.

Routine screenings for lymphoma are not available. If a person has virus symptoms that are recurrent, they can seek medical consultation.

The specialist will inquire about the individual and family medical background of the person and attempt to rule out any problems.

A physical examination, including a scan of the abdomen and chin, throat, groin, and armpits where swelling can occur, may also be done.

As this may account for most cases of swelling, the doctor can check for signs of infection in the lymph nodes.

Tests for lymphoma

Tests will confirm whether lymphoma is present.

Blood testing and biopsies: These can diagnose lymphoma and help a specialist discern between various forms of lymphoma.

A biopsy requires taking a sample of lymph tissue from a surgeon. The doctor would then give it to a laboratory for analysis. A tiny section or more of a lymph node can be removed by the surgeon. They may use a needle to take a sample of tissue in some cases.

A bone marrow biopsy would need to be done. A local anesthetic, a sedative or a general anesthetic may be needed for this.

To see how it has spread to other areas of the body, biopsies and other testing will establish the stage of the cancer.

Imaging tests: A physician can ask for imaging scans, such as:

Spinal tap: A surgeon uses a long , thin needle to scrape and examine spinal fluid under local anesthetic in this operation.

The cancer stage depends on the form, growth rate, and cellular characteristics of the cancer. The cancer persists in a small area during stage 0 or 1. It has spread to more remote organs by stage 4, and physicians find it to be more difficult to treat.

Lymphoma can also be identified by a doctor as indolent, meaning it persists in one place. Some lymphomas are severe, meaning they can spread to other parts of the body.

Outlook

About 72 percent of patients with a diagnosis with non-Hodgkin lymphoma can live for at least 5 years after treatment.

86.6% of patients who are treated for Hodgkin’s lymphoma will survive for at least 5 years.

When lymphoma grows, the odds of a positive result decline. It is necessary to seek medical treatment for any signs of cold or fever that linger for an prolonged period of time. Early diagnosis can increase the odds of good treatment for a condition.

Blood / Hematology

Types and normal ranges of kidney function tests

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Kidney function tests are basic procedures that use blood or urine to diagnose kidney abnormalities. A variety of kidney function tests are available to assess various aspects of renal health.

A kidney function test can detect sluggish waste filtering. Another test may detect protein leakage from the kidneys.

In cases where a doctor suspects a kidney disease, routine testing can help all individuals.

According to the National Kidney Foundation, 1 in 3 adults in the US is at risk for kidney disease, and many early cases show no symptoms. It’s important to detect and treat this condition early to avoid permanent damage.

In this article, you’ll learn about kidney function tests and their results.

What is it?

consulting a doctor

Kidney function tests use blood or urine to assess many elements of kidney health.

Doctors frequently request multiple tests to provide a comprehensive picture of kidney health.

The kidneys are vital to the body’s wellbeing. Their major function is to filter waste from the blood and excrete it in the urine.

Kidney disease can hinder the kidneys from filtering waste effectively, causing hazardous symptoms.

Regular testing may help detect disorders like kidney disease early on, halting its disease.

Doctors may also arrange imaging or a biopsy to learn more about the kidney.

Continue reading to learn about kidney function testing.

Urine tests

Pee tests may demand a little sample or all of a person’s urine in 24 hours.

Urinalysis

Urinalysis helps doctors uncover underlying disorders or decide which test to employ next. Urinalysis can discover unwanted particles in urine such as:

  • sugar
  • protein
  • pus
  • blood
  • bacteria

A positive test for one or more of these particles means:

The microalbuminuria or albumin-to-creatine ratio

Both tests require a little urine sample. Both aid in detecting albumin in urine.

Albumin is an important protein in the blood. Not doing your job properly if your kidneys excrete too much albumin.

30 mg/g or less urine albumin is normal. Any higher may indicate renal disease.

As a result, microalbuminuria can detect even minute levels of protein in the urine.

Even if other urine protein tests are negative, people at increased risk of renal disease may need a microalbuminuria test.

Creatine clearance

A creatine clearance test involves both blood and urine. It entails taking a 24-hour urine sample and a blood sample.

Creatine is a naturally occurring waste product in the body from muscular use.

Doctors compare creatine levels in urine to blood levels. This chart compares the amount of waste the kidneys filter out, which may indicate their general health.

Blood tests

An arm blood test requires a doctor or nurse to extract a little amount of blood from the patient. The person may need to fast or take the test early in the morning.

Serum creatine test

Serum creatine levels that are excessively high could indicate that the kidneys aren’t doing their job properly. As part of the creatine clearance test, doctors will also prescribe a serum creatine test.

Serum creatine levels exceeding 1.2 for women and 1.4 for men, according to the National Kidney Foundation, may be an early warning that the kidneys aren’t working properly. As renal disease advances, these figures may grow even higher.

This test can also be used to calculate a person’s glomerular filtration rate (GFR) to confirm a diagnosis or to order additional tests to double-check the results.

The GFR test adjusts the findings of a serum creatine test for a variety of parameters, including age, gender, and race. A GFR of 60 or higher is considered normal. A GFR of 60 or less is indicative of renal disease.

Blood urea nitrogen test

The blood urea nitrogen (BUN) test looks for urea nitrogen and other waste products in the blood.

When proteins in food break down, urea nitrogen is produced, and high amounts may indicate that the kidneys are not filtering these waste products adequately.

BUN levels typically range from 7 to 20 milligrammes per deciliter. Higher levels could indicate a kidney-related underlying condition.

However, numerous other factors, such as drugs or antibiotics, might impact BUN levels. A diet high in protein may also have an impact on levels.

To acquire a better picture of how successfully the kidney filters this waste, doctors would often compare these results to the results of a creatine test.

Imaging tests

Imaging scans may aid in the detection of any physical abnormalities to the kidneys, such as injuries or kidney stones.

Ultrasounds

To take photos, ultrasound exams use innocuous sound waves. An ultrasound may be ordered by a doctor to check for changes in the shape or position of the kidneys. An ultrasound may also be requested to screen for tumours or obstructions, such as kidney stones.

CT scans

A CT scan is a procedure that employs a sequence of X-ray images to build a 3D image of the kidneys. It could aid in the detection of any structural alterations or deformations in the kidney.

A dye injection is sometimes required for the scan, which might be problematic for people who have kidney disease.

Biopsies

Doctors may recommend a kidney biopsy in some instances. This is a procedure in which a tiny needle is inserted into the kidney to remove renal tissue. The tissue will be sent to a lab for testing by the doctor.

When doctors need to diagnose a specific disease and determine how well it might react to treatment, they may perform a biopsy. A biopsy may also be used to assess the progression of renal disease.

Results

Multiple positive test findings indicate that there is a problem with the kidneys.

Each of these tests provides doctors with a more complete view of a person’s overall kidney health. The scans can also detect renal disease signs, allowing for the ordering of additional tests.

Doctors will strive to completely identify the condition and design a treatment strategy once they have determined that there is a problem with the kidneys.

Kidney failure can be caused by a variety of underlying diseases. In order to discover the best treatment for each instance, a comprehensive diagnosis is required.

Conclusion

Renal function tests are an important element in diagnosing and treating kidney problems. Even if there are no symptoms, some people may need to be tested on a regular basis.

People at increased risk for kidney problems should get frequent kidney function testing, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney DiseasesTrusted Source. Those with the following people are at a high risk:

Regular renal function testing can help detect kidney abnormalities early on, when the outlook is the best.

People can assist prevent the condition from progressing by sticking to a treatment plan. The best method to evaluate and manage any indicators of kidney damage or underlying issues is to work directly with a doctor.

Sources:

  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK507821/
  • https://www.kidney.org/atoz/content/know-your-kidney-numbers-two-simple-tests
  • https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/325397
  • https://www.kidney.org/atoz/content/kidneytests

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Alzheimer's / Dementia

Uses of vitamin B-12 level test: Normal ranges, and results

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The amount of vitamin B-12 in the blood or urine is measured in a vitamin B-12 level test to determine the body’s overall vitamin B-12 reserves.

Vitamin B-12 is required for a variety of body functions, including neuron function, DNA and red blood cell formation.

Treatment is required if a person’s vitamin B-12 levels fall outside of the usual range. Vitamin B12 deficiency can cause neurological symptoms as well as fatigue, constipation, and weight loss. B-12 levels that are too high could indicate liver disease, diabetes, or another condition.

Continue reading to learn more about B-12 testing and what the results indicate.

Purpose of a vitamin B-12 level test

worried lady

The vitamin B-12 level test determines the amount of vitamin B-12 in your body. Doctors can use the data to see if low vitamin B-12 levels are causing symptoms.

If a person exhibits any of the following symptoms, a doctor may recommend a vitamin B-12 level test:

Vitamin B-12 insufficiency

Vitamin B-12 deficiency is thought to affect up to 15% of people in the United States, according to research. The following are signs and symptoms of a deficiency:

  • fast heartbeat
  • numbness and tingling in the hands and feet
  • poor memory
  • a sore mouth or tongue
  • confusion
  • dementia
  • depression
  • difficulty maintaining balance

Vitamin B-12 deficiency in infants can cause them to underachieve. They may have mobility issues in addition to developmental delays.

Pernicious anaemia

A vitamin B-12 level test may be required for people who have signs of low iron. Pernicious anaemia is caused by a lack of vitamin B-12 absorption, resulting in poor red blood cell causes.

It usually affects the elderly or people who are deficient in intrinsic factor. Intrinsic factor is a gastric material that binds to vitamin B-12 and allows it to be absorbed by the body.

The following are signs and symptoms of pernicious anaemia:

  • pale skin
  • weakness
  • weight loss
  • constipation
  • fatigue
  • loss of appetite

High levels of folate in the blood

The level of folic acid in the blood is known as serum folate. High levels of serum folate might disguise the signs and symptoms of vitamin B-12 deficiency, exacerbating the neurological symptoms.

They can also make you more susceptible to anaemia.

Symptoms of other illnesses

Vitamin B-12 levels that are unusually high can be a symptom of liver disease, diabetes, or certain types of leukaemia. The findings of a vitamin B-12 test may be used by a doctor to help them make a diagnosis.

Risk factors

Vitamin B-12 deficiency is more common in some people than in others, especially those with low stomach acid or other digestive problems. Stomach acid helps the body absorb vitamin B-12 more effectively by separating it from meals.

Low vitamin B-12 levels are more common in the following groups of people than in others:

  • people with conditions that reduce vitamin B-12 absorption, including celiac disease and Crohn’s disease
  • people who have had gastric bypass surgery
  • those who are breast-feeding
  • people who are taking medicines such as chloramphenicol, proton pump inhibitors, or H2 blockers
  • older adults
  • children
  • vegans and vegetarians
  • people with diabetes

How does the B-12 vitamin level test work?

Vitamin B-12 status is normally determined by a blood test, but home urine tests are now available. Vitamin B-12 levels can be checked as part of a routine blood test by a doctor.

Although fasting is not required before a B-12 test, it may be necessary if the doctor is utilising the test to check at other blood components.

It is important that patients inform their doctors about any medications or supplements they are taking, as some may have an impact on the outcome.

Acknowledging the results

The following are possible results:

  • Low. Vitamin B-12 levels below 200 pg/mL are considered low. This indicates that you may have a vitamin B-12 deficiency, pernicious anaemia, or an overactive thyroid. Neurological symptoms are common in people who have low vitamin B-12 levels.
  • High. Anything over 900 pg/mL is considered excessively high vitamin B-12 status. This result could indicate problems with the liver or kidneys, diabetes, or certain types of leukaemia.

Because the ranges of results differ from one laboratory to the next, it’s important to talk to a doctor about the results and what they signify.

To rule out vitamin B-12 deficiency, the doctor may measure levels of methylmalonic acid (MMA) and other chemicals. These lab results aid in the early detection of vitamin B-12 deficiency.

Vitamin B-12 deficiency treatment

Vitamin B-12 injections are frequently required by people who have low amounts of the vitamin. These shots are more successful at boosting vitamin B-12 levels than supplements, especially when people have medical issues that make supplements difficult to absorb.

High doses of vitamin B-12 supplements may help some people improve their B-12 status. Supplements are sold in the form of capsules or liquids in pharmacies, supermarkets, health food stores. It may also be beneficial to consume extra vitamin B-12-rich foods.

Treatment for high vitamin B-12 levels

There is no upper limit on vitamin B-12 consumption because high amounts do not cause problems. Having naturally high levels of vitamin B-12 in the body, on the other hand, could be cause for alarm, since it could indicate a serious underlying condition. Doctors will focus on treating the underlying medical condition rather than the vitamin B-12 levels.

Vitamin B-12  foods.

Eggs are rich in vitamin B-12.
Vitamin B-12 is abundant in eggs.

Although low vitamin B-12 levels are frequently caused by absorption problems and other medical conditions, some people may be deficient because they do not acquire enough vitamin B-12 through their food. This is especially true for vegans and vegetarians who have been vegetarian for a long time.

Vitamin B-12-rich foods include:

  • fortified plant-based dairy alternatives
  • fortified breakfast cereals
  • fortified nutritional yeast
  • fish and seafood
  • meat
  • eggs
  • dairy products

Vitamin supplements can help vegans and strict vegetarians make up for dietary deficiencies. Older persons should seek to achieve their vitamin B-12 needs through fortified meals and vitamin supplements, as supplements are simpler for their bodies to absorb than naturally occurring vitamin B-12.

Vitamin B-12 dietary recommendations

Vitamin B-12 is required in 2.4 micrograms (mcg) per day for adults and adolescents over the age of 14. During pregnancy, this rises to 2.6 mcg, and breast-feeding raises it to 2.8 mcg.

Conclusion

Vitamin B-12 is an essential nutrient that is necessary for good health. The status of a person’s vitamin B-12 is determined by a vitamin B-12 level test. This test may be recommended by a doctor to people who have symptoms of a deficiency or who are at risk of having low vitamin B-12 levels in their bodies.

Vitamin B-12 deficiency can be avoided by eating a well-balanced diet that includes many sources of the vitamin on a daily basis, or by taking supplements. If they have trouble absorbing vitamin B-12 from food, oral supplements or injections can help them avoid symptoms and consequences.

Sources:

  • https://academic.oup.com/qjmed/article/106/6/505/1538806
  • https://labtestsonline.org/tests/methylmalonic-acid
  • https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/322286
  • https://academic.oup.com/nutritionreviews/article-abstract/71/2/110/1940320
  • https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminB12-HealthProfessional/
  • https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/b-12-deficiency/

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Blood / Hematology

Iron deficiency anemia and aging: What to know

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Due to a lack of iron, iron deficiency anemia is a condition in which the body does not produce enough healthy red blood cells. Nutritional deficits, blood loss, the use of certain drugs, and impaired absorption are all possible causes in older people.

Iron is used by the body to make red blood cells (RBCs), which transport oxygen throughout the body. A person may not be able to manufacture enough healthy RBCs to meet the body’s needs if they do not have enough iron. As a result, iron deficiency anemia can be caused as a result, causing symptoms such as weariness, weakness, and shortness of breath.

A person’s food is usually the source of iron. Iron deficiency anemia is caused by a nutritional deficiency or the body’s inability to utilise iron properly. Due to various contributory factors that might influence how the body receives or uses dietary iron, this condition is frequent among older persons.

The prevalence of iron deficiency anemia in older people is discussed in this article, as is how to treat and manage the condition.

When to consult a doctor

Anyone over the age of 50 who is having symptoms that could indicate iron deficiency anemia, such as fatigue and shortness of breath, should seek medical advice.

Individuals who have underlying disorders that can limit iron absorption should talk to their doctor about how to lower their risk of iron insufficiency.

condition.

Causes

older adult

Iron deficiency anemia is rather frequent among the elderly. According to 2018 research, 12–47 percent of older persons will acquire some kind of anemia, depending on the community.

According to other studies, anemia is most common in older people, affecting roughly 17% of the population over the age of 65. Iron deficiency anemia, in particular, is thought to account for around one-third of anemia cases in older persons, according to research.

Despite the fact that some cases of iron deficiency anemia are mild, anemia in older persons can lead to a variety of negative consequences, including extended hospital admissions and even death. As a result, even minor cases of anemia will be diagnosed and treated by doctors.

Iron deficiency anemia can be caused by a variety of underlying reasons, with more than one contributing to a person’s diagnosis. These can include the following:

Dietary intake

If the body does not get enough iron to replenish healthy RBCs, low dietary iron intake may cause symptoms. Anemia may be more common in people who follow certain diets, such as vegans, or who do not consciously consume enough iron-rich foods.

Other vitamin deficiencies

Even with a high-iron diet, a person who is deficient in other vitamins is at risk of developing iron deficiency anemia. B vitamin deficiencies, such as vitamin B12 or vitamin B9, also known as folic acid or folate, are also common and can affect iron absorption.

Malabsorption

Even a high iron intake may not be enough to balance iron levels if the body cannot use iron efficiently, such as owing to a gastrointestinal condition. As a result of health problems that affect iron absorption, iron deficiency anemia can cause as a side effect.

Erythropoietin deficiency

The hormone erythropoietin (EPO) is produced by the kidneys. EPO aids in the formation and repair of red blood cells. Iron deficiency anemia can be caused by conditions that alter EPO levels. Kidney diseases and hormone-related disorders are examples of these problems.

Bleeding

Anemia can develop if a person loses enough healthy RBCs as a result of bleeding. As the skin ages and thins, external bleeding is more frequent, making cuts and scratches more likely. It’s also possible that these wounds and scrapes will take longer to heal.

Internal bleeding, such as ulcers or stomach or intestine problems, can lower the quantity of healthy RBCs in the body and cause iron deficiency anemia. Internal bleeding can cause as a result of trauma or injury, resulting in blood loss.

Internal bleeding is a risk with some drugs or combinations of medications, especially when used for a long time. People in medical care who require regular testing may be subjected to a high number of blood draws, which could exacerbate the problem.

In many people, bleeding may be a contributing reason to RBC depletion and anemia. According to a 2018 study, the most common cause of iron deficiency anemia in elderly people is bleeding from drugs and underlying diseases.

Medications

The RBC count can be affected by a variety of drugs. Medications that impact the kidneys or hormones can cause the formation of RBCs by causing chemical imbalances.

Medications that disrupt digestion might make it difficult for the body to metabolize iron and other important vitamins like B vitamins. Chemotherapy medications, for example, can harm the bone marrow, which is crucial for producing healthy RBCs. Some drug combinations may have unknown side effects that affect how the body creates or uses RBCs.

It is recommended that people review the probable side effects of a drug and speak with a doctor about the probability of a drug creating signs of iron deficiency anemia.

H. pylori infection

Some infections might cause the body’s ability to utilise iron. According to a 2019 study, Helicobacter pylori infections are widespread in the elderly, affecting up to 50% of people over the age of 60. Anemia is one of the complications of H. pylori infections.

Chronic diseases

Chronic illnesses can cause a variety of problems in the body, including problems with RBCs and other systems involved in the production or usage of RBCs. Here are a few examples:

  • cancers
  • ulcers
  • liver disease
  • kidney disease
  • conditions in the intestines or stomach

When rendering a diagnosis, doctors will take into account any underlying disorders.

Inflammatory disorders

Chronic inflammation in the body can be caused by a variety of factors. Inflammation can interfere with basic activities like RBC production, depending on the nature and location of the inflammation. Anyone with a chronic inflammatory condition or another issue that causes long-term inflammation should talk to their doctor about their risk.

Symptoms

Anemia symptoms differ from person to person, but here are a few frequent ones:

  • shortness of breath
  • headaches
  • fatigue
  • weakness
  • rapid heartbeat
  • chest pain

Light-skinned people may notice that their complexion becomes paler or slightly yellow.

Diagnosis

Blood tests will be used to determine anemia.

A complete blood count (CBC) test can assist determine the different types of blood cells and other blood components, such as hemoglobin, an oxygen-carrying protein. A low hemoglobin count can imply anemia and a low RBC count.

A packed cell volume (PCV) test may also be used to determine hematocrit levels. The percentage of RBCs in the blood is measured by the hematocrit level. A PCV test can reveal whether a person has too few RBCs, indicating anemia.

Doctors may employ follow-up testing in addition to blood tests to look for other important anemia-related issues. A C-reactive protein test to search for inflammatory indicators or a reticulocyte count to assess bone marrow production may be performed. They may also look for the following things:

  • abnormalities in the gastrointestinal tract
  • blood in the urine or stool
  • H. pylori infection
  • sufficient levels of B vitamins
  • kidney function

Treatment

Depending on the underlying cause and degree of anemia, doctors may offer several treatment options. Because various causes may be contributing to the condition, treatment will differ from case to case.

To raise the person’s iron levels, a doctor may prescribe supplemental iron in the form of medications, dietary iron, or intravenous iron.

If anemia is caused by an underlying condition, the doctor will seek condition for it. This may help them uncover other underlying causes of anemia or resolve the anemia.

If a doctor feels a prescription or a combination of medications is causing anemia, they may suggest alternate treatments if they are available. Alternatively, they may offer alternative methods of managing anemia until the person is able to stop using the medicine.

Management and suggestions

A person with iron deficiency anemia must ensure that their diet contains enough iron and other essential minerals.

The following are some suggestions for doing so:

  • consuming more iron-rich meals such as dark leafy greens, meat, and beans
  • Iron absorption can be improved by eating foods high in vitamin C, B9, and B12
  • avoiding foods that may interfere with iron absorption, such as dairy and meals high in phytic acid
  • taking iron supplements with food can help to alleviate the burning sensation in the stomach

Conclusion

Iron deficiency anemia is frequent in elderly people, and it can be caused by a variety of reasons. Blood loss, nutritional deficiencies, medicines, underlying diseases, and malabsorption are all possible causes of iron deficiency anemia in this age range.

Individuals who are having iron deficiency anemia symptoms should consult a doctor for a diagnosis. The doctor should be able to advise you on how to boost your dietary iron intake or address any underlying issues that are preventing you from absorbing iron.

Sources:

  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6745992/
  • https://link.springer.com/article/10.1186/s12879-019-3849-y
  • https://www.hematology.org/education/patients/anemia/iron-deficiency
  • https://irondisorders.org/iron-deficiency-anemia/
  • https://irondisorders.org/elderly/
  • https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/iron-deficiency-anemia-in-elderly
  • https://gut.bmj.com/content/70/11/2030.info
  • https://ashpublications.org/blood/article/131/5/505/104393

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