A haggard look, grayish skin, and dull and tired looking eyes are the main symptoms of anaemia. Other symptoms include poor memory, weakness, dizziness, tiredness, lack of energy, shortness of breath on exertion, headaches and impairment of general health and vitality.
A quick and reliable way to test whether a child is anaemic is to look at the inside of his lips, the tissue lining his eyes, i.e. conjunctiva, the palms and his finger nails. If all of these are pale, he may very well be anaemic. The only sure way to diagnose anaemia, however, is to test the sample of blood in the laboratory. This will establish the degree of anaemia.
Diet is of utmost importance in the treatment of anaemia. Almost every nutrient is needed for the production of red blood cells, hemoglobin and the enzymes required for their synthesis. Refined food like white bread, polished rice, sugar, and desserts rob the body of the much-needed iron. Iron should always be taken in its natural organic form. The common foods rich in natural organic iron are wheat and wheat grain cereals, brown rice and rice polishings, green leafy vegetables, cabbage, carrot, celery, beets, tomatoes, spinach, fruits like apples, berries, cherries, grapes, raisings, figs, dates, peas and peaches. The diet should also be adequate in proteins of high biological value such as those found in milk, cheese and egg.
Vitamin B12 is must for preventing anaemia. This vitamin is usually found in animal protein and especially in organic meats like kidney and liver. A heavy meat diet is often associated with a high hemoglobin and high red cell count, but it has its disadvantages. One cause of anaemia is intestinal putrefaction, which is primarily brought on by a high meat diet. There are, however, other equally good alternative sources of vitamin B12 such as dairy products, like milk, eggs and cheese, peanuts. Soyabean also contains some amount of vitamin B12.
For prevention of anaemia, it is essential to take the entire B complex range which includes B12, present in the natural foods mentioned above. Eating lacto ovo products, which are complete proteins, and which also contain vitamin B12, is a good insurance against the disease.
Mention must be made of beets which are extremely important in treating anaemia. Beet juice contains potassium, phosphorus, calcium, sulphur, iodine, iron, copper, carbohydrates, fat, protein, vitamins B1, B2, niacin, B6, C and vitamin P. With its high iron content, beet juice regenerates and reactivates the red blood cells, supplies the body with fresh oxygen and helps in performing the normal function of the organs.
A cold water bath is among the most valuable secondary curative measures in anaemia and the child-patient should been couraged to take this bath twice daily. Cold friction for 5 to 10 minutes once a week is also useful. Full sun baths are especially beneficial as sunlight stimulates the production of red cells. Deep breathing exercises are also valuable in the treatment of anaemia.
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