Belize - Belize News - Channel5Belize.com - Great Belize Productions - Belize Breaking News
Home » Health » Healthy Living looks at living with anemia
Jun 17, 2010

Healthy Living looks at living with anemia

It is a condition that is commonly known in Belize as “poor-a-blood” and affects a significant number of persons even though the symptoms are not specific. The condition—known scientifically as Anemia —develops when the body lacks healthy red blood cells. It is, however, preventable with a well balanced and healthy diet. In this week’s episode of Healthy Living, doctors discuss indicators for the illness among children.

Dr. Daniel Godinez, Internist

“The term anemia is a Greek term and literally means Haema means blood and a means no so literally no blood or not enough blood. I think the Creole term is quite correct when they say “poor-a-blood.”

Marleni Cuellar reporting

Poor blood” or Anemia is a blood disorder that affects an estimated quarter of the world’s population.  While it is a fairly common condition, the causes leading to anemia are very different. As internist, Dr Daniel Godinez explains, in order to understand anemia we must first look at how and where blood is produced in the body.

Dr. Daniel Godinez

“Normally we produce blood in our bone marrow and once the blood is produced there it is redistributed to blood stream stay there for a while then later on it is destroyed by the liver and the spleen.  If parts of the process is abnormal then anemia can occur especially if your bone marrow does not produce enough red blood cells if your liver or your spleen destroy them too fast or if you’re losing blood somewhere then anemia will follow.”

Anemia, then, occurs when the blood is lacking healthy red blood cells.

Dr. Daniel Godinez

daniel godinez

“The red blood cells are the most abundant cells in your blood and the main purpose is to transport oxygen from your lungs to the rest of your body to keep enough oxygenation in the tissues. When you have a low hemoglobin count or a low red blo0d cell level the amount of oxygen decreases and so that pain has less than optical function in his or her tissues.”

The major causes for the lack of red blood cells include: bodily malfunctions which cause – blood loss, excessive destruction of Red blood cells, inadequate or faulty red blood cells; deficiencies of iron, Vitamin B12 or folic acid; infections; and some kinds of cancer. One severe form of anemia that is common in Belize is based on genetics.

Dr. Daniel Godinez

“Sickle cell anemia is an inherited disease in which the red blood cells have an abnormal shape and tends to be destroyed very easily leading to a chronic permanent anemia that lasts the lifetime of the individual. Unfortunately in sickle cell anemia the shape of the red blood cells become abnormal and it takes the shape of a sickle that’s why the name of the disease. Unfortunately, cells like that tend to block the blood vessels in several areas and that causes a lot of pain. So, sicklers, patients with sickle cell anemia have a lot pain especially in the bones. Also since the disease start from early in life many patients have problem with growth and of course they are anemic. In Belize because of the composition of the population it is estimated that about five percent of our population have some either sickle cell anemia or the trait to pass on the disease to other generations.”

Diagnosis for either form of anemia can be done through simple blood tests. Once the cause is identified, it can be treated accordingly; deficiencies can be supplemented and blood loss remedied but in the case of sickle cell patients, the treatment is only to ease symptoms.

Dr. Daniel Godinez

“There is no specific treatment for sickle cell anemia. So a person who is a sickler lives with this anemia all his/her life. What we do in those cases is we replace folic acid in these patients cause they tend to lose a lot of that and when they have what we call sickle crisis we give them pain relief and hydration.”

Identifying the condition early is crucial to hinder any long term damages that anemia can cause. The symptoms are a vague but still noticeable.

Dr. Daniel Godinez

“In children if it starts from early failure to thrive, problems with growth, mental problem, especially concentration, generalized well being physical well being and emotional well being. Tendency to certain infections which can happen in certain types of anemia and especially in sickle cell anemia it is important to know that that is the problem. The signs and symptoms of anemia will normally be very non-specific they are very vague. Probably the most common would be that the person feels tired, unenergetic. Also we find patients who are intolerant to cold and clinically the only thing that can give you a clue is if the person gets pale.”

Dr. Godinez advises that a healthy nutritionally balanced diet is the best way to prevent anemia. Iron supplements for women in the child bearing years will also be good idea for prevention.


Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

Advertise Here

Leave a Reply

CAPTCHA Image
*