What is anaemia?

The condition of getting a lower-than-normal number of red blood cells or quantity of hemoglobin. It can make one feel tired, cold, dizzy, irritable and in need of breath, among other symptoms.

A diet which doesn’t contain enough iron, vitamin Bc or vitamin B12 may be a common explanation for anaemia. another conditions which will cause anaemia include pregnancy, heavy periods, blood disorders or cancer inherited disorders and infectious diseases.

How widespread is anaemia in our country?

In phase I clinical trial of the National Family Health Survey (NHFS), result factsheets are released for 22 states and UTs. Anaemia testing during the survey was done among children aged 6 to 59 months and among women and men aged 15 to 49 years aged . during a majority of these states and UTs, quite half the youngsters and women were found to be anaemic.

In 15 of those 22 states and UTs, quite half the
children are anaemic. Similarly, quite 50 per cent
women are anaemic in 14 of those states and UTs.

The proportion of anaemic children and ladies is
comparatively lower in Lakshadweep, Kerala,
Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram and Nagaland, and better  in Ladakh, Gujarat, J&K, and West Bengal , among others. Anaemia among men was but 30 per cent during a majority of those states and UTs.

The proportion of anaemic children and ladies is
comparatively lower in Lakshadweep, Kerala,
Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram and Nagaland, and better in Ladakh, Gujarat, J&K, and West Bengal , among others.

Anaemia among men was but 30 per cent during a
majority of those states and UTs.

What was the methodology used?

NFHS used the capillary blood of the respondents for estimation of anaemia. for youngsters , a haemoglobin of less than 11 grams per decilitre (g/dl) indicated anaemia.

For non-pregnant and pregnant women, it had been but 12 g/dl and 11g/dl respectively, and for men, it had been less than 13 g/dl. Among children, prevalence was adjusted for altitude and among adults, it had been adjusted for altitude
and smoking status.

Why is anaemia so high within the country?

consistent with Dr Sunil Raina, head of community
medicine at Dr Rajendra Prasad Government
Medical College in Himachal Pradesh, iron deficiency and vitamin B12-deficiency anaemia
are the 2 common sorts of anaemia in India.

Among women, iron deficiency prevalence is
higher than men thanks to menstrual iron losses
and the high iron demands of a growing foetus
during pregnancies.

Raina said that lack of millets within the diet thanks to overdependence on rice and wheat, insufficient consumption of green and leafy vegetables, and dominance of packaged and processed foods which are low in nutrition might be the explanations behind the high prevalence of anaemia in India. “Our food habits have changed and variation in cereals and natural food items has reduced,” he said.

However, he added, anaemia levels in India have
consistently remained high within the post independence period and not dropped significantly during this era ,even following the revolution when diet patterns changed. “Therefore, a deeper research is required .

There might be genetic or environmental factors, but such a study has never been conducted. Also, the current haemoglobin norms are supported western populations. In India, the traditional standards might be different. There are women whose haemoglobin drops to six or eight sometimes but they continue to be healthy and well,” he said.

What about the cold desert region of the
western Himalaya?

within the union territory of Ladakh, a whopping 92.5 per cent children, 92.8 per cent women and around 76 per cent men are anaemic within the given age groups, as per the survey. within the adjoining Lahaul and Spiti district, which lies in Himachal Pradesh, 91 per cent children and 82 per cent women are anaemic, the survey said.

Both these areas are a part of the Himalayan cold desert. In J&K and in remainder of Himachal, the prevalence of anaemia is relatively lower.

Health officials theorise that the high prevalence of anaemia within the cold desert region might be thanks to short supply of fresh vegetables
and fruits during the long winter annually . Crops here are generally only grown in summer and through winter, residents fail to urge a regular supply of green vegetables and fresh produce from outside, as connectivity becomes restricted thanks to harsh weather and snowbound roads. However, there might be other factors also and the causes of anaemia here are yet to be scientifically ascertained.

Indian women and youngsters are overwhelmingly anaemic, according to the National Family Health Survey 2019-20 released earlier this month, and therefore the condition is that the most prevalent within the Himalayan cold desert.

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