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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - December 28, 1971, Lethbridge, Alberta LAWRENCE E. LAMB, M. D. Anemia lias many causes Yesterday 1 discussed per- nicious anemia as one mani- festation of vitamin B-12 de- ficiency. Today I want to say a little more about anemias. There are many ways an anemia can be caused. The obvious method is bleeding. This can be a frank Iremorrhagc, increased menstrual flow, seeping from the intestine even worms in the intestine or constant small amounts of bleeding from hem- orrhoids or fro m an unrec- ognized ulcer. If one Is losing more blood cells from bleeding than he can produce, then anemia occurs. Another way is destruction of the red blood cells within the body. This is sometimes re- lated to an overactive spleen destroying too many red blood cells. This is called "hemolylic anemia." Because the red blood cells contain the iron pigment, hemoglobin, to carry oxygen, such destruction can cause jaundice. A person who has been very inactive and suddenly becomes physically active may destroy a large number of red blood cells ini- tially. Some poisons can also de- stroy red blood cells. Ab- normalities in the red blood cells can cause them to be susceptible to sudden destruc- tion. One of these, sickle cell anemia, occurs in people of African descent and an ane- mia crisis can occur when they are exposed to high altitude, because of lack of oxygen. Anemias can also be caused by deficiencies. Pernicious ane- mia is one example. Dietary deficiencies, or deficiencies of gland function, like the thyroid gland, can cause anemia. The most popular deficiency, o f course, is iron deficiency ane- mia. These people have plenty of red blood cells, but the cells don't contain enougli iron and hence can't carry oxygen effi- ciently. A common cause of iron deficiency is excessive menstrual blood loss without enough iron in the diet. The body may be able to manufac- ture enough blood cell replace- ments, but runs out of iron for the new cells. Finally there are the ane- mias caused by failure of the body to produce the normal amounts of blood cells. This may occur if the tone marrow is damaged, by toxins, even medicines or just quits on its own. Anemia causes few symp- toms, depending on how severe it is. Fatigue and weakness is a common symptom. In ad- vanced anemias normal brain function is impaired because of lack of oxygen for the brain. In advanced anemias the heart has to work harder be- cause each unit of blood eon- tains less oxygen. This can cause a variety of heart prob- lems. If the person has cor- onary artery disease, it can even produce anginal chest pain, which can be relieved if the anemia is corrected. Since coronary artery disease is more common in older people, an anemia can be more se- rious in this age group. In peo- ple with normal hearts, ad- vanced anemia can cause heart murmurs and even heart failure. These too can be corrected by correcting the anemia. Thus what seems to be a simple arjemia can affect tire whole body and in other in- stances, like pernicious ane- mia, it is only one manifesta- tion of something wrong will) the whole body. Tueiday, Dotember 28, 1971 THE IETHBRIDGE HERA1D Andy sends a complete 20- volumc set of the World Book Encyclopedia to Omar Salin- as, age 7, of Houston, Texas, for his question: How can HE'S BIS ON COUNTO WESTERN AND WE'RE HI AND LOIS-By Oik Browne SHORT RIBS-By Frank O'Neal BUGS BUNNY HEY, ELMER, HOW COME VEK POS'S 5TANPIN' HERE SLAEIN' AT ME? j---------' -S AtNNFT IGNORE HIM! HE USUALLY SLEEPS ON THAT BEP WHEN I PONT HAVE COMPAWY.' ;