Anemia may increase the risk of brain disease

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dementiaSeniors who experience symptoms of anemia are known to have higher risk of developing dementia, according to a new research. Dementia is a brain disorder that causes the sufferers to experience brain functional and memory decline.

What is anemia?

Anemia is a decrease in number of red blood cells or less than the normal quantity of hemoglobin in the blood. When the number of red blood cells or concentrations of hemoglobin are low a person is said to have anemia. Hemoglobin is a protein (metalloprotein) inside the red blood cells that contains iron and transports oxygen.

Anemia is the most common disorder of the blood. Approximately 3.5 million Americans are affected by it. It is much more common in developing countries, especially in very poor areas where people suffer from malnutrition. In many parts of Africa severe anemia is also caused by Malaria.  It can be classified in a variety of ways, based on the morphology of reed blood cell, underlying etiologic mechanisms, and discernible clinical spectra, to mention a few. The three main classes include excessive blood loss, excessive blood cell destruction or deficient red blood cell production

What is dementia?

The word dementia comes from the Latinde meaning “apart” and mens from the genitive mentis meaning “mind”. Dementia is the progressive deterioration in cognitive function – the ability to process thought (intelligence). It is a serious loss of global cognitive ability in a previously unimpaired person, beyond what might be expected from normal aging. It may be static, the result of a unique global brain injury, or progressive, resulting in long-term decline due to damage or disease in the body.

There are three main signs of dementia, which are memory loss, moodiness, and communicative difficulties. Dementia is not a single disease, but a non-specific syndrome. Affected cognitive areas can be memory, attention,language, and problem solving. Normally, symptoms must be present for at least six months to support a diagnosis.

Anemia and dementia relation

As mentioned earlier above, researchers believe that elderly who experience signs of anemia have higher risks of suffering from dementia.

“We found an increased risk of dementia by 60 percent in elderly with anemia. Upon calculating other factors such as demographics, other diseases, and so on, the risk still remains high at 40-50 percent,” said lead researcher Dr. Kristine Yaffe, of the University of California, as reported by U.S. News (31/07).

Given the number of adults and seniors who have anemia, Yaffe suggested that people should be more vigilant about the possibility of dementia in the elderly. Even so, a study conducted on 2,500 women and men aged 70 years showed no evidence that anemia causes dementia.

Yaffe explained that more research needs to be done to determine whether anemia and dementia have a causal relationship. Logically, the red blood cells responsible for carrying oxygen throughout the body. People who are anemic have deficiency of red blood cells, so lack of oxygen flows to the brain. This could be related to the emergence of dementia.

Anemia can also be an indication of poor overall health. Cause of anemia is iron and red blood cells deficiency. Diseases such as cancer, renal, or other chronic diseases can cause anemia.

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