Anemia is a malady of the blood that has varied etiology. Treatment of different types of anemia depends on identification of the etiology. Because different forms of anemia share common symptoms including feeling of weakness, cold, dizziness, and irritability (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2011), further laboratory test are necessary to establish the type of anemia in order to select the appropriate treatment. This essay is a case study of a patient, Ms. A, who develops symptoms of anemia after imposing herself to certain circumstances. It will relate the symptoms to the physiological process of the disease in order to explain the rationale behind the patient’s experiences.
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In this case study, we note that her symptoms aggravate with her engagement in golfing. Participation in golfing means that there is an increased demand for oxygen. To meet the increased demand for oxygen, her body attempts to increase breathing rate to increase the amount of oxygen getting to blood; consequently, she experiences shortness of breath. In addition, she has low levels of energy coupled with diminished enthusiasm because; despite the physiological attempts to adjust to oxygen demands, she is still unable to achieve adequate energy levels. This indicates that, probably, the problem lies in the oxygen carrying red blood cells (RBCs). Tenably, the RBCs are not sufficient to carry enough oxygen to muscles. It seems that Ms. A is anemic. As aforementioned, anemia is a blood state, which is characterized by insufficient red blood cells for conveying enough oxygen to body tissues (Mayo Clinic, 2011). However, a clinician cannot substantiate the form of anemia by relating to the patient circumstances only.
The fact that her menses seem to aggravate the symptoms of anemia, ratifies that menorrhagia; that is, excessive bleeding, aggravates the underlying anemia. Ms. A has been experiencing menorrhagia and dysmenorrheal problems since her puberty. Physiological attempts of her body to achieve homeostatic balance accounts for the changes in her vital signs. Excessive bleeding during menses triggers the body to draw water from extra tissues to maintain a normal blood volume, which leads to dilution of the blood and the subsequent decrease in the hematocrit (Lichtin, 2008). Decrease in the blood volume underscores the changes in her vital signs data, because; a decrease in her blood volume means that her heart output is low and blood exerts less force on the walls of arteries.
Low hematocrit compromises the blood capacity to convey oxygen to the body tissues and that is why Ms. A portrays increased heart rate and respiratory rate. This change is due to her body’s physiological adjustment to maintain the amount of oxygen conveyed to body tissues. However, this is not achieved, and she feels weak hence lacks enthusiasm. In addition, her condition is worsened by altitude change because in high altitude, the rate of oxygen diffusion is low due to reduced air pressure. The body adjusts to this change by increasing the number of RBCs to keep up the oxygen supply to body tissues. Her responses to altitude change indicate a possible impairment in the manufacture of RBCs.
Nevertheless, complete blood count (CBC) best helps to determine the form of anemia. According to the CBC analysis, Ms. A’s hemoglobin count is below the normal level (12.1 to 15.1 g/dl), which means that the capacity of each RBC to convey oxygen is reduced. The reticulocytes count is normal (0.5-1.5%), which rules out aplastic anemia. Her hematocrit also is below normal (34-47%). RBC smear helps clinicians narrow down on the form of anemia because it depicts characteristics of the blood type that is specific to one type of anemia. The fact that her RBC smear revealed microcytic and hypochromic cells, indicate, as aforementioned, an underlying impairment to the manufacture of hemoglobin associated with iron deficiency anemia (American Association for Clinical Chemistry, 2011). Her consistent menorrhagia depletes iron reservoir in the liver, which implies insufficient iron for manufacture of hemoglobin. Her use of aspirin, an anti-inflammatory agent, indicates that she suffers some degree of inflammatory disease, which is known to impair the use of iron in hemoglobin manufacture (The National Hematology Disease Information Service, 2008). Thus, Ms. A suffers iron deficiency anemia.
American Academy of Nurse Practitioners. (2010). Health promotion/risk reduction and disease prevention. Journal of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners 22 , 57-59.
American Association for Clinical Chemistry. (2011). Complete Blood Count. Web.
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