Anemia (Pandu Roga)
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Introduction - What is Anemia

 

What is Anemia

Anemia or pandu roga is one of the most important and common dietary deficiency diseases prevalent in the world today. It is the condition where blood of the person gets impoverished. The main reason for the deterioration of the quality of blood is due to the deficiency of iron and vitamins in the diet of the person.

Many people have anemia without even knowing it. Anemia is usually diagnosed when the symptoms become acute. Hence it is necessary to consume a well-balanced diet that provides all the nutrients, especially iron, if anemia is to be kept at bay. Anemia is actually quite a simple disorder to treat if a few precautions are taken.

Definition of Anemia (Pandu Roga)

 

What is Anemia

Anemia is the condition caused by the lack of dietary iron in the body, which reduces the count of the erythrocytes, i.e. red blood corpuscles, in the blood. An anemic person has poor quality of blood, which leads to circulatory problems in various organs in due course of time.

Hemoglobin is an important constituent of the human blood. It is hemoglobin which mixes with the inhaled oxygen and forms the complex oxy-hemoglobin, which gives the blood its characteristic red color. Hemoglobin is made up of two parts – heme, an iron complex, and globin, a protein. Thus, iron is needed to make up the heme of hemoglobin. This iron is supplemented by the diet that we consume.

People who take less iron sources in the diet will have a poor hemoglobin quality. This is also the reason why the count of red blood corpuscles in the blood goes down.

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Causes and Types of Anemia (Pandu Roga)

The major cause of anemia is the deficiency of iron in the diet which causes various problems with the quality of the blood, the most important being the reduction in the number of red blood corpuscles. Though this is the main cause of anemia being caused, there are some other factors that give rise to specific types of anemia in the person. The following table illustrates the different types of anemia human beings and their causative factors:-

 

Type of Anemia

Causative Agent

1.

Iron Deficiency Anemia

This is caused due to a gross deficiency of iron in the body. Iron is essential for the building of hemoglobin and the red blood corpuscles of the blood. A low count of iron can be due to one or more of the following:-

  • Less intake of iron in the diet
  • Ulcers
  • Colon conditions such as colon polyps or colon cancer
  • Heavy periods

2.

Megaloblastic Anemia

Megaloblastic anemia is caused due to the deficiency of water-soluble vitamins in the blood of the person, especially vitamins B12 and folic acid. This is a dietary deficiency.

The amount of B12 in the blood can be lowered due to Crohn’s disease, an autoimmune disease which is responsible for reducing the count to red blood corpuscles in the blood.

3.

Anemia due to Underlying Diseases

Some diseases can lower the count of the red blood corpuscles in the blood. Diseases such as kidney disorders and hormonal imbalances can lose their erythrocytes. Kidney patients lose large amounts of red blood corpuscles during dialysis.

4.

Aplastic Anemia

This is a metabolic disorder in the body when the blood is unable to make an adequate amount of red blood corpuscles. This can occur due to a large number of factors such as:-

  • Drugs used for rheumatoid arthritis
  • Diseases where the immune system attacks the body, like lupus
  • Radiation and chemotherapy treatments for cancer
  • Bone marrow diseases
  • Some toxic chemicals

5.

Genetic Anemia

Genetic anemia is a deficiency of red blood corpuscles in the blood caused due to inherited factors.

From the Ayurvedic point of view, anemia is a pitta dosha disorder. Pitta dosha is responsible for the proper digestion and assimilation of the consumed foods in the body. Vitiation in the pitta dosha, especially the paachaka pitta can reduce the digestive capacity of the food. This can cause deficiency of the necessary nutrients, thus creating anemic conditions in the body.

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Symptoms of Anemia (Pandu Roga)

Anemia is an internal bodily condition that may often show no external symptoms at all. However, when the deficiency of the red blood corpuscles is acute then the following symptoms may be observed:-

The complexion of the person gets a pale appearance. This is due to depletion of the blood in the body.

The person finds it difficult to breathe; there may be palpitation and rapid heart beats. Gasping and wheezing is common, especially after doing some strenuous work.

Fatigue is very common. In severe cases, the act of simple standing or walking can cause shortness of breath.

The person feels cold often. The hands and feet are felt as cold.

Nails are poorly developed. They will become brittle and get frayed at the ends.

The general constitution of the body weakens. Headaches are frequent.

Though the above are the common symptoms of anemia, it must be borne in mind that any of the above symptoms are not a sure-shot diagnosis for anemia. Hence when any of the following symptoms occur, do not assume that it is anemia and pump your body with iron supplements. Too much iron is toxic to the body. The best bet is to seek medical advice about any of the above symptoms and then make the treatment program.

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Complications due to Anemia (Pandu Roga)

Prolonged anemia can result in death. However, in most cases, anemia is easily detected by the doctors and medication is provided to control its progress in the body. The sequence of complications that occurs in the human body due to the onset of anemia is as follows:-

Initially, the person suffering from anemia will feel weak. Gradually, his or her propensity to perform physical labor will decrease and fatigue will come very easily.

The effects of anemia are felt in the fingernails over long periods of time. Nails become brittle and lose the moisture underneath. Due to this they may crack painfully.

About 20% of all patients of anemia become intolerant to cold conditions. This can be seen by persistent numbness of some regions of the body in the cold climate.

The impoverished blood is unable to deliver oxygen to all parts of the body due to continuous anemic conditions. This condition is called as hypoxemia. Hypoxemia may cause permanent damage to the tissues in the body.

In people who have narrow arteries or a history of coronary heart disease, anemia can reduce the blood supply further.

In children, anemia can cause sudden behavioral and intellectual changes.

The complications of anemia are seen quite differently in different people. It is very necessary to consult with the doctor whenever any of the above complication arises, in order to ascertain whether it is an offshoot of anemia.

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Transmission of Anemia (Pandu Roga)

Anemia is a non-communicable disease. It cannot be spread from one affected person to another. Hence, anemic patients can be given all the care and support that they require from their family, friends and healthcare professionals.

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Prevention of Anemia (Pandu Roga)

Anemia can be prevented if it caused due to vitamin deficiency or iron deficiency. This can be done by including the deficient nutrients in the diet.

However, anemia caused due to inherent conditions and genetic factors cannot be prevented. Such anemic conditions must be treated with proper medical supervision.

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Diet for Preventing Anemia (Pandu Roga)

Anemia is largely classified as a dietary deficiency disease. It can be prevented quite easily by enriching the diet. The blood quality can be improved by including sources of iron, vitamin B12, folic acid and vitamin C in the diet. A list of the foodstuffs that contain these nutrients is given below:-

1. Dietary sources of iron:

  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Beans
  • Lentils
  • Dry fruits
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Beet root
  • All types of red meat, especially beef

2. Dietary sources of vitamin B12:

  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Organ meats
  • Milk products such as cheese

3. Dietary sources of folic acid:

  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Food grains

4. Dietary sources of vitamin C:

  • Fresh citrus fruits
  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Indian gooseberry, which is the richest natural source of vitamin C
  • Capsicum
  • Tomatoes

There are some foods which interfere in the assimilation of iron in the body. Some of these foods are egg yolk, soy, coffee, tea and milk. Hence it is necessary to reduce or eliminate these items from the diet when you are combating anemic conditions.

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Ayurvedic Treatment for Anemia (Pandu Roga)

Pandu roga is a very popular treatment condition for doctors of Ayurveda. There are many age-old remedies for the treatment of this condition. An exhaustive list of the herbs that have potency in curing pandu roga is given below:-

Ayurvedic Name of the Herb

Biological Name of the Herb

Common English Name of the Herb

Action on the Human Body

Afsanthim

Artemisia absinthum

Wormwood

Wormwood is a rare herb prescribed for the treatment of anemia, due to its iron-rich content.

Ajmoda

Apium graveolens

Celery

Celery is an extremely rich source of dietary iron. When taken in a solution with carrot juice, celery can be an efficacious cure for all blood ailments, including anemia.

Gokulakanta

Hygrophila spinosa

Gokulakanta

Gokulakanta is a herb that helps in purifying blood-related disorders.

Kasni

Chichorium intybus

Chicory

Chicory is used as a prime ingredient in most blood tonic preparations. It can be taken in the diet with celery and parsley.

Methi

Trigonella foenum graecum

Fenugreek

Fenugreek is an integral part of the Indian cuisine, especially North Indian cuisine. It works as an effective blood tonic. Fenugreek is also helpful in curing anemia during menstruation in girls. Fenugreek seeds are also very good when the anemia is cured, because they help to maintain the content of iron in the body.

Petha

Benincasa hipsida

Ash Gourd

Ash gourd is a natural source of iron as well as vitamin C and vitamins of the B complex. Taken regularly in the diet, ash gourd helps in improving the quality of the human blood, thus keeping anemia at bay.

Pyaaz

Allium cepa

Onion

Onions are rich sources of iron; moreover the iron in the onions can be easily assimilated into the bloodstream. Hence onions are taken by countless Ayurveda believers in their daily diet to purify the diet and to cure them of blood-related disorders.

Sowa

Anethum sowa

Dill

Dill is taken to regulate the flow during the menstrual cycle. In girls and women whose menstrual cycles are irregular, leading to anemia, dill can be taken as a very effective cure. About 60 grams of sowa taken with a teaspoonful amount of parsley juice helps in anemia during periods.

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Comments

VERY INTERESTING - WELL DETAILED.....
#1 - NalRam - 07/02/2010 - 03:02
Thnks..hope the words will help me lots..
#2 - Milo - 07/25/2011 - 00:24
Good piece if info!
#3 - PriyaR - 12/22/2011 - 23:04
good information. what is meant by wormwood. please reply
#4 - Swathi - 09/14/2012 - 01:48
Great Info!!
#5 - Krishna - 11/08/2012 - 06:01
Nice info.
Hari om
#6 - Abhijeet - 12/19/2012 - 01:26
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