Sunday, 28 April 2013

Imagine a world


  • Where getting answers to your health queries does not start from google.com
  • Where your data sources for every day health information is not limited to your friends and family members
  • Where you have access to real-world “hard data” and not “generic information”
There is a lot of health information available but no real and reliable, accessible and actionable health data. In today’s scenario if one had a medical query (for e.g. what is the cure for tendonitis), one would start with a google search and come across multiple websites offering basic to specific information which is disorganized, unstructured, difficult to manage and even difficult to validate. The end result of the query currently depends on the perseverance, patience and competency of the user to navigate the information generated by the query. The resulting conclusions drawn by the user is inconsistent and in most cases leaves users with more questions than answers. In all cases, users are left to the mercy of their current health service providers.
There are a number of case studies that friends and family close to us have experienced in the recent past and if we had a fully loaded myMEDistry to access, their and our health journeys would have been a bit more smoother and less nerve-wrecking.
Here is a recent experience we went through with a close family member:
A close family member who is now 33, had been perfectly healthy, married and mother of 2 wonderful, healthy children. 2 years ago she suffered cardiac arrest with symptoms of nausea and blackouts 3 times in 24 hours. Luckily for her, she had one of the episodes while under observation in the ER and the doctors noticed her heart rate dropping to 30 and so they immediately implanted a pacemaker. She has been prescribed to have this pacemaker for life now. Up until now, nobody knows the reason why her heart skipped beating at that time and why she needs a pacemaker for life. To make matters more complicated, doctors apparently don’t often see these symptoms or episodes in people of her age, gender and demographic and so do not have much idea on what to expect here onwards. Now, our quest on the world wide web has been a test in patience. There are a number of forums and support groups for people with pacemakers and other heart ailments, but it has been extremely time consuming and still impossible to find cases of patients who have had a pacemaker from such an young age and to find out what the long term side effects of having pacemaker in the body has been. The reason for this is there is lot of ‘generic’ information describing types of pacemakers, their pros and cons and ‘generic’ efficacy and reactions. For example, during the first 6 months after having the pacemaker, the doctors were monitoring how much the pacemaker was being used, the usage was ranging from 20% to 40% and we didn't know what was expected and if the range was normal or not. Different doctors opined differently and different doctors gave different care instructions. There were few ways to find other people like her whom she could connect with, but there was no structured data that could be used to put 2 and 2 together in these cases. Imagine if
  • We could go to a site and find others who had a pacemaker implanted at a relatively young age and
  • We could contact them to interact directly and
  • We could find real data on their symptoms and side effects monitored over a period of time
  • We could find real data on what the most common operating usage percentage is for pacemakers overtime
What we found in our quest is that after the initial readings, all the information on the web is too generic and hard/impossible for non-medical people like us to infer anything useful from it. There were lot of forums and blogs which described what people were going through, but it was not always complete information or structured enough for us to piece their journeys together. These were great ways to read and feel connected and feel assured that we were not alone. But the information was not something we could use effectively. Given that we were surrounded by medical professionals in our family, we were able to weed through all that we found on the web and decided finally to just give up.
From such personal experiences was born the idea of myMEDistry, the goal of which is to help people around the globe capture their medical journeys in a structured manner to help others easily find them and more importantly use them. We believe such sharing of real world experiences makes it possible to collaborate in a global level and make breakthroughs in newer treatments possible. myMEDistry doesn’t intend to be a source of medical advice or treatment, it is a place for people to share and find others’ medical experiences that they can learn from and be better prepared in asking the right questions and be better equipped in making their healthcare decisions.
Come, join myMEDistry today and help us make a difference in global healthcare experiences.

Monday, 8 April 2013

Diabetes Statistics - Alarming !!

346 million people worldwide have diabetes. Diabetes affects more than 20 million Americans. Over 40 million Americans have pre-diabetes (early type 2 diabetes). More than 80% of people with diabetes live in low- and middle-income countries. WHO projects that diabetes deaths will double between 2005 and 2030.
Obesity and sedentary lifestyle seem to the major factor in alarmingly increased rate of diabetes diagnosis today. Obesity seems to be a modern day problem - statistics for it did not even exist 50 years ago.


If this trend continues until 2030, America will reach the following figures. By 2014, it will be 33 million. And by 2030, it will be 70 million. If the same trend continues in India, this country will have 184 million diabetics in 2030 whereas WHO estimated it as 79 million. The true facts about diabetes are staggering indeed!

India - The Diabetes Capital of India


India, the world’s second most populous country, now has more people with type 2 diabetes (more than 50 million) than any other nation. Diabetes in India has long passed the stage of an epidemic and numbers have given the country the dubious distinction of DIABETES CAPITAL of the world. To put it simply, it has crossed the stage of a problem associated with individuals to become an astronomically growing large public health problem. Until recently, diabetes — was viewed as a disease of overfed, sedentary people of European ancestry. But it is now exploding around the world owing to the spread of Western habits. Hints of trouble ahead came from observations of diabetes epidemics in emigrant Indian communities that achieved affluence long before Indians in India . Those communities include ones in Fiji, Mauritius, Singapore, South Africa, Surinam, Tanzania and Britain. For instance, in the 1830s, Indians were brought to Mauritius for physically demanding work on sugar plantations. By the 1980s, the decline in world sugar prices had led the Mauritian government to promote industrialization and the export of manufactured goods, which in turn led to increasing affluence and decreasing physical activity for the local population. As a result, between 1982 and 1986 deaths due to diabetes tripled, and by 1987 reached 13% in the Mauritius Indian community. In 2010, the average age-adjusted prevalence of diabetes in India was 8%, higher than that in most European countries1. By contrast, surveys in 1938 and 1959, in large Indian cities that are today diabetes strongholds, yielded prevalences of just 1% or less. Only in the 1980s did those numbers start to rise, first slowly and now explosively.
The reasons are those behind the diabetes epidemic worldwide. One set of factors is urbanization, a rise in living standards and the spread of calorie-rich, fatty, fast foods cheaply available in cities to rich and poor alike. Another is the increased sedentariness that has resulted from the replacement of manual labour by service jobs, and from the advent of video games, television and computers that keep people seated lethargically watching screens for hours every day. Although the specific role of TV has not been quantified in India, a study in Australia11 found that each hour per day spent watching TV is associated with an 18% increase in cardiovascular mortality (much of it associated with diabetes), even after controlling for other risk factors such as waist circumference, smoking, alcohol intake and diet. But those factors notoriously increase with TV watching time, so the true figure must be even larger than the 18% estimate. Prevalence is only 0.7% for non-obese, physically active, rural Indians. It reaches 11% for obese, sedentary, urban Indians; and it peaks at 20% in the Ernakulam district of Kerala, one of India’s most urbanized states. Among lifestyle factors predicting the incidence of diabetes in India, some are familiar from the West, whereas others turn expectations upside down.
As in the West, diabetes in India is associated with obesity, high blood pressure and sedentariness. But prevalence of the disease is higher among affluent, educated, urban Indians than among poor, uneducated, rural people: exactly the opposite of trends in the West, although similar to the situation in other developing countries. For instance, Indians with diabetes are more likely to have undergone higher education, and less likely to be illiterate, than their healthy compatriots. That urban concentration of diabetes has also been reported in many other Asian countries. The likely explanation for these paradoxes is twofold. First, in the West, poor rural people are better able to afford fast foods than their Indian counterparts. Second, educated Westerners with access to fast foods and with sedentary jobs are by now often well aware that fast foods are unhealthy and that one should exercise, whereas that advice has not yet made wide inroads among educated Indians Nearly 25% of Indian city dwellers (the sub-population most at risk) haven’t even heard of diabetes.
So, next time you go out for a quick bite, remember these facts and see if you can also stop at the gym on your way back !

Everything you need to know about Diabetes

Diabetes mellitus, often simply referred to as diabetes, is a group of metabolic diseases in which a person has high blood sugar, either because the body does not produce enough insulin, or because cells do not respond to the insulin that is produced. This high blood sugar produces the classical symptoms of polyuria(frequent urination), polydipsia (increased thirst) and polyphagia (increased hunger). To understand diabetes, it is important to first understand the normal process by which food is broken down and used by the body for energy. Several things happen when food is digested:
  1. A sugar called glucose enters the bloodstream. Glucose is a source of fuel for the body.
  2. An organ called the pancreas makes insulin. The role of insulin is to move glucose from the bloodstream into muscle, fat, and liver cells, where it can be used as fuel.
People with diabetes have high blood sugar because their body cannot move sugar into fat, liver, and muscle cells to be stored for energy. This is because either:
  1. Their pancreas does not make enough insulin
  2. Their cells do not respond to insulin normally
  3. Both of the above
There are three major types of diabetes. The causes and risk factors are different for each type:
  1. Type 1 diabetes: results from the body's failure to produce insulin, and presently requires the person to inject insulin. (Also referred to as insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, IDDM for short, and juvenile diabetes.) Type 1 diabetes can occur at any age, but it is most often diagnosed in children, teens, or young adults. In this disease, the body makes little or no insulin. Daily injections of insulin are needed. The exact cause is unknown.
  2. Type 2 diabetes: results from insulin resistance, a condition in which cells fail to use insulin properly, sometimes combined with an absolute insulin deficiency. (Formerly referred to as non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, NIDDM for short, and adult-onset diabetes.) Type 2 diabetes makes up most of diabetes cases. It most often occurs in adulthood, but teens and young adults are now being diagnosed with it because of high obesity rates. Many people with type 2 diabetes do not know they have it.
  3. Gestational diabetesis when pregnant women, who have never had diabetes before, have a high blood glucose level during pregnancy. It may precede development of type 2 DM. Gestational diabetes is high blood sugar that develops at any time during pregnancy in a woman who does not have diabetes.
  4. Other forms of diabetes mellitus include congenital diabetes, which is due to genetic defects of insulin secretion, cystic fibrosis-related diabetes, steroid diabetes induced by high doses of glucocorticoids, and several forms of monogenic diabetes
  5. Symptoms


    1. Blurry vision
    2. Excess thirst
    3. Fatigue
    4. Frequent urination
    5. Hunger
    6. Weight loss
    Because type 2 diabetes develops slowly, some people with high blood sugar have no symptoms. Symptoms of type 1 diabetes develop over a short period of time. People may be very sick by the time they are diagnosed. A urine analysis may be used to look for high blood sugar. However, a urine test alone does not diagnose diabetes. Your health care provider may suspect that you have diabetes if your blood sugar level is higher than 180 mg/dL. 
    To confirm the diagnosis, one or more of the following tests must be done. Blood tests:
  1. Fasting blood glucose level: Diabetes is diagnosed if it is higher than 100 mg/dL twice. Levels between 100 and 126 mg/dL are called impaired fasting glucose or pre-diabetes. These levels are risk factors for type 2 diabetes. 
  2. Hemoglobin A1c test --Normal: Less than 5.7%, Pre-diabetes: 5.7% - 6.4%, Diabetes: 6.5% or higher:
  3. Oral glucose tolerance test -- diabetes is diagnosed if glucose level is higher than 180 mg/dL after 2 hours. (This test is used more often for type 2 diabetes.)
Category of a personFasting ValuePost Prandial
RangeValue 2 hours after consuming glucose
Normal70 - 100Less than 140
Early Diabetes101 - 126140 to 180
Established DiabetesMore than 126More than 180
    See all Diabetes related real world stories (diagnosis, episodes, treatments, doctors and hospitals) shared on myMEDistry

    What are common consequences of diabetes?

    Diabetes without proper treatments can cause many complications. Acute complications include hypoglycemia, diabetic ketoacidosis, or nonketotic hyperosmolar coma. Over time, diabetes can damage the heart, blood vessels, eyes, kidneys, and nerves.
    1. Diabetes increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. 50% of people with diabetes die of cardiovascular disease (primarily heart disease and stroke).
    2. Combined with reduced blood flow, neuropathy in the feet increases the chance of foot ulcers and eventual limb amputation.
    3. Diabetic retinopathy is an important cause of blindness, and occurs as a result of long-term accumulated damage to the small blood vessels in the retina. After 15 years of diabetes, approximately 2% of people become blind, and about 10% develop severe visual impairment.
    4. Diabetes is among the leading causes of kidney failure. 10-20% of people with diabetes die of kidney failure.
    5. Diabetic neuropathy is damage to the nerves as a result of diabetes, and affects up to 50% of people with diabetes. Although many different problems can occur as a result of diabetic neuropathy, common symptoms are tingling, pain, numbness, or weakness in the feet and hands.
    6. The overall risk of dying among people with diabetes is at least double the risk of their peers without diabetes.

    What is the economic impact of diabetes?

    Diabetes and its complications have a significant economic impact on individuals, families, health systems and countries. For example, WHO estimates that in the period 2006-2015, China will lose $558 billion in foregone national income due to heart disease, stroke and diabetes alone.

    Diagnosis and Treatment

    Early diagnosis can be accomplished through relatively inexpensive blood testing. Treatment of diabetes involves lowering blood glucose and the levels of other known risk factors that damage blood vessels. Tobacco use cessation is also important to avoid complications. All forms of diabetes have been treatable since insulin became available in 1921, and type 2 diabetes may be controlled with medications. Both type 1 and 2 are chronic conditions that usually cannot be cured. Pancreas transplants have been tried with limited success in type 1 DM; gastric bypass surgery has been successful in many with morbid obesity and type 2 DM. Gestational diabetes usually resolves after delivery. Interventions that are both cost saving and feasible in developing countries include:
    1. Moderate blood glucose control. People with type 1 diabetes require insulin; people with type 2 diabetes can be treated with oral medication, but may also require insulin;
    2. Blood pressure control;
    3. Foot care.

    How can the burden of diabetes be reduced?

    Simple lifestyle measures have been shown to be effective in preventing or delaying the onset of type 2 diabetes. To help prevent type 2 diabetes and its complications, people should:
    1. Achieve and maintain healthy body weight;
    2. Be physically active – at least 30 minutes of regular, moderate-intensity activity on most days. More activity is required for weight control;
    3. Eat a healthy diet of between three and five servings of fruit and vegetables a day and reduce sugar and saturated fats intake;
    4. Avoid tobacco use – smoking increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
    By taking steps to prevent diabetes, you also lower your risk for complications from the disease. In addition to kidney failure, vision loss and nerve damage, people with diabetes are at increased risk for heart disease and stroke. To guard against these serious conditions, the American Diabetes Association reminds patients to monitor their ABCs: A1c (a blood measurement that reflects your average blood glucose level during the past 3 months), blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Your target A1c level should be 7 percent or less, your blood pressure should be kept below 130/80 and your LDL (or "bad") cholesterol level should be less than 100.

    Little Known Facts about Diabetes

    1. People with diabetes can eat foods with sugar (also known as carbohydrates or starches), contrary to popular belief. Many people believe that diabetes means that patients must never eat any cakes, cookies, or related items. The fact is that people with diabetes can eat such foods in moderation. In addition, people with diabetes may actually develop low blood sugar levels (hypoglycemia). When that happens, then they need to consume something with sugar in it in order to treat thehypoglycemia and stay healthy
    2. Not everyone with diabetes needs insulin. Insulin is required by people with Type 1 diabetes. Some people with Type 2 diabetes, usually after having the disease for many years, will also require insulin as well. Many patients with Type 2 diabetes will do very well with a good nutritional program, exercise, and oral medications.
    3. People with diabetes have a greater risk of developing many medical complications. However, with good and continuous control of their blood glucose, patients can lead normal and active lives.
    4. Smoking is very bad for people with diabetes, and it greatly increases the risk that the patient will suffer from complications, including amputations, cancer, heart attack, stroke, and so forth. People with diabetes who smoke should work with their doctors to kick the habit.
    5. Many supermarkets and pharmacies sell sugar-free food products for people with diabetes and other individuals. They also sell glucose supplements for when people with diabetes become low in blood sugar.
    6. Some hypoglycemic adults (and children) may appear to be in a drunken state when they are, in fact, in serious need of glucose. Wearing a medical bracelet can help alert medical experts
    7. Eye changes are but one of the less well-known symptoms. Imagine waking up one day to better or worse vision out of the blue, without any fancy surgery. It may sound like a miracle, but a sudden change in how you see the world could be a sign of something much more onerous: an undiagnosed case of diabetes.
    8. Other not so commonly known symptoms of diabetes include blackened skin around the eyes and knuckles, gum disease and bad breath. But these problems don't appear suddenly. "If you wait until you have gum disease or eye disease, you may well have had an abnormal test for some time
    9. 10 important facts about Diabetes from WHO

Personal Health Records on myMEDistry - Anywhere, Anytime

"He who has health, has hope and he who has hope, has everything”. 
Wellness is a very important facet of our life. When it concerns something as important as the health of your family, friends and even yourself, it is always better to be prepared. No one never knows when, how or where a health issue may arise. Not just during emergencies, but for whenever you may need medical assistance, there is some basic information that is essential – medical records, X-rays, prescriptions, allergies, immunization record, insurance information and emergency contact information. Usually these are scattered among doctors’ offices, hospitals, labs, your home… sometimes not even traceable or usable. A personal health record or PHR is a health record where health data is curated by an individual user themselves. This stands in contrast with the more widely used electronic medical record which is held by institutions such as a hospital and contains data entered by clinicians or billing data in order to support insurance claims. The intention of a PHR is to provide a complete and accurate summary of an individual's medical history which is accessible online and more often maintained and used by the individual itself.
Simple, secure access to all your health records can make all the difference At myMEDistry, we understand the importance of managing your family’s and your own health details. You've probably seen your chart at your doctor's office. In fact, you may have charts at several doctors' offices. If you've been in the hospital, you have a chart there, too. To keep track of all this information, it's a good idea to keep your own records.
What kind of information would you put in a personal health record?
You could start with:
  • Your name, birth date, blood type and emergency contact
  • Date of last physical
  • Dates and results of tests and screenings
  • Major illnesses and surgeries, with dates
  • A list of your medicines, dosages and how long you've taken them
  • Allergies
  • Any chronic diseases
  • Any history of illnesses in your family
What you have on myMEDistry is an easy to use, secure mechanism to save all of your health journey. We also provide an easy to use one click mechanism to let you share as much or as little as you want to your medical team. Personal Health Records (Personal Dashboard), on myMEDistry consist of your basic profile, medical conditions diagnosed, medical episodes experienced, treatments used (ongoing and those completed as well) and medical records of any and all investigations that you underwent. The simplicity of our solution is that we let you share as much or as little as you can. While we enforce you to enter some basic required information without fail, we also understand that more often than not, one may just be learning more and more about their health as each day passes and so you may not have all the data to enter. So, you can use myMEDistry to share your medical journey as and when it happens and just as much as you know.
So, how exactly you can go about using these features. Simple: Just share your medical journey as it unfolds.
You can start adding medical condition diagnosis history and treatment, you can add the details as you learn them day to day. You can add the various investigation reports, treatments being prescribed along with any side effects experienced. You can add the details of the medical condition (if any was diagnosed) along with the various details leading upto the diagnosis. As you continue to do this, you have built yourself an extremely valuable database of your medical journey that is easily accessible to you whenever you need it and can be shared with your healthcare providers anywhere, anytime.
It will also prove to be a very valuable asset to your medical team to fully understand your health journey and guide you appropriately. This helps you become more aware of your health and be more actively involved in the medical decision making process than being just a passive recipient. Remember, you are ultimately responsible for making decisions about your health. Maintaining your personal health records regularly on myMEDistry can help you accomplish that.

Anemia, Common But Not well known

Recently, there have been multiple accounts of Anemia on myMEDistry. One is Auto-immune Hemolytic Anemia and other medical story is an account of Stomach Ulcer causing anemic conditions with very low hemoglobin levels. Perhaps, due to lack of awareness, neither of them paid attention to the symptoms and eventually went to the Emergency Room when the hemoglobin down to dangerously low levels causing heart attack like symptoms which could have been fatal. These medical conditions shared by our users got the myMEDistry team interested to research further since the awareness about anemia among general public is relatively low. Anemia is a very common condition which in most cases can be easily treated, but still due to lack of awareness most people neglect it until it becomes fatal. In this post, we present to you some basics about anemia - types, how to detect and how to treat anemia.

What is Anemia ?

Anemia is a decrease in number of red blood cells (RBCs) or less than the normal quantity of hemoglobin in the blood. However, it can include decreased oxygen-binding ability of each hemoglobin molecule due to deformity or lack in numerical development as in some other types of hemoglobin deficiency. Anemia is the most common blood condition in the U.S. It affects about 3.5 million Americans. Because most people don't think of anemia as a serious disease, many patients go undiagnosed for years. The fact is that there are over 400 types of anemia, some of which are extremely serious, and many of which require long-term medical care.

Anemic Ranges of Hemoglobin and Hematocrit Values

Age/Sex (yrs)
Hemoglobin (g/dL)
Hematocrit (%)
Children (0.5-4)
< 11.0
< 33
Children (5-12)
< 11.5
<35
Children (12-15)
< 12.0
< 36
Adult Men                      
<13.0
< 39
Non-pregnant Women
< 12.0
< 36
Pregnant Women
<11.0
< 33
WHO. Worldwide Prevalence of Anaemia 1993-2005.5

*These are only guidelines and some physicians feel the thresholds should be higher for adults.
Severity of Anemia
Severity
Hb Range (g/dL)
Symptoms
Medical Attention
Mild
9.5-13.0
Often no signs or symptoms
Commonly remains untreated
Moderate
8.0-9.5
May present with symptoms
Requires management to prevent complications from developing
Severe
&lt; 8.0
Symptoms usually present
May be life threatening and requires prompt management
Elesevier Oncology. Guide to Oncology Drugs and Regimens 2006.


Symptoms of anemia may include the following:


  • Fatigue 
  • Decreased energy and weakness 
  • Shortness of breath 
  • Lightheadedness 
  • Palpitations (feeling of the heart racing or beating irregularly) 
  • Looking pale

Symptoms of severe anemia may include:


  • Chest pain
  • Angina, or heart attack 
  • Dizziness 
  • Fainting or passing out 
  • Rapid heart rate

Some of the signs that may indicate anemia in an individual may include:


  • Change in stool color, including black and tarry stools (sticky and foul smelling), maroon-colored, or visibly bloody stools if the anemia is due to blood loss through the gastrointestinal tract.
  • Rapid heart rate 
  • Low blood pressure 
  • Rapid breathing 
  • Pale or cold skin 
  • Yellow skin called jaundice if anemia is due to red blood cell breakdown 
  • Heart murmur 
  • Enlargement of the spleen with certain causes of anemia

There are more than 400 types of anemia, which are divided into three groups:

  • Anemia caused by blood loss 
  • Anemia caused by decreased or faulty red blood cell production 
  • Anemia caused by destruction of red blood cells

Anemia Caused by Blood Loss

Red blood cells can be lost through bleeding, which can occur slowly over a long period of time, and can often go undetected. This kind of chronic bleeding commonly results from the following: - Gastrointestinal conditions such as ulcers, hemorrhoids, gastritis (inflammation of the stomach), and cancer - Use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) such as aspirin or Motrin - This is the type of Anemia experienced in this medstory shared on myMEDistry. - Menstruation and childbirth in women, especially if menstrual bleeding is excessive and if there are multiple pregnancies

Anemia Caused by Decreased or Faulty Red Blood Cell Production

The body may produce too few blood cells or the blood cells may not function correctly. In either case, anemia can result. Red blood cells may be faulty or decreased due to abnormal red blood cells or the a lack of minerals and vitamins needed for red blood cells to work properly. Conditions associated with these causes of anemia include the following: - Sickle cell anemia - Iron deficiency anemia - Vitamin deficiency - Bone marrow and stem cell problems - Other health conditions

Anemia Caused by Destruction of Red Blood Cells

When red blood cells are fragile and cannot withstand the routine stress of the circulatory system, they may rupture prematurely, causing hemolytic anemia. Hemolytic anemia can be present at birth or develop later. Sometimes there is no known cause (spontaneous). Known causes of hemolytic anemia may include: - Inherited conditions, such as sickle cell anemia and thalassemia - Stressors such as infections, drugs, snake or spider venom, or certain foods - Toxins from advanced liver or kidney disease - Inappropriate attack by the immune system (called hemolytic disease of the newborn when it occurs in the fetus of a pregnant woman) - Vascular grafts, prosthetic heart valves, tumors, severe burns, chemical exposure, severe hypertension, and clotting disorders - In rare cases, an enlarged spleen can trap red blood cells and destroy them before their circulating time is up Hemolytic anemia is a condition in which there are not enough red blood cells in the blood, due to the premature destruction of red blood cells. Hemolytic anemia occurs when the bone marrow is unable to increase production to make up for the premature destruction of red blood cells. If the bone marrow is able to keep up with the early destruction, anemia does not occur (this is sometimes called compensated hemolysis). There are many types of hemolytic anemia, which are classified by the reason for the premature destruction of red blood cells. The defect may be in the red blood cell itself (intrinsic factors), or outside the red blood cell (extrinsic factors). About 18% of patients of AIHA may be drug-induced. Interestingly, the Auto-immune Hemolytic Anemia condition shared on myMEDistry is suspected to have been triggered by a reaction between Ciprofloxacin which he was taking for fever and Disprin which he was taking for migraines. Although literature shows that some types of Hemolytic anemia can be caused by drug reactions, there is no specific drug reactions mentioned anywhere. Incidence Rate: approx 1 in 80,000 or 0.00% or 3,400 people in USA Autoimmune Hemolytic Anemia is listed as a "rare disease" by the Office of Rare Diseases (ORD)

Anemia Treatment

  • Self-Care at Home: Very little can be done to self-treat anemia and medical treatment is generally needed. It is important to continue to take any medication that is prescribed for other chronic (long-lasting) medical problems. If the reason for anemia is known, then measures to keep it under control are very important. For example, if anemia is caused by a stomach ulcer, then medications such as aspirin or ibuprofen should be avoided, unless otherwise directed by a doctor.
  • Medical Treatment: Medical treatment of anemia varies widely and depends on the cause and the severity of anemia. If anemia is mild and associated with no symptoms or minimal symptoms, a thorough investigation by a doctor will be done in the outpatient setting (doctor's office). If any cause is found, then appropriate treatment will be started. For example, if anemia is mild and is found to be related to low iron levels, then iron supplements may be given while further investigation to determine the cause of the iron deficiency is carried out. On the other hand, if anemia is related to sudden blood loss from an injury or a rapidly bleeding stomach ulcer, then hospitalization and transfusion of red blood cells may be required to relieve the symptoms and replace the lost blood. Further measures to control the bleeding may occur at the same time to stop further blood loss. Until stabilized, the doctor may check blood counts routinely, and if the levels get to a low enough level, he or she may order a red blood cell transfusion to help with the symptoms of anemia. Medications and treatments that correct the common underlying causes of anemia include the following: - Iron may be taken during pregnancy and when iron levels are low. It is important to determine the cause of iron deficiency and treat it properly. - Vitamin supplements may replace folate and vitamin B12 in people with poor eating habits. In people with pernicious anemia who are unable to absorb sufficient amounts of vitamin B12, monthly injections of vitamin B12 are commonly used to replete the vitamin B 12 levels and correct the anemia. - epoetin alfa (Procrit or Epogen) injection can be used to increase red blood cell production in people with kidney problems. The production of erythropoietin is reduced in people with advanced kidney disease, as described earlier. - Stopping a medication that may be the cause of anemia may also reverse anemia after consultation with a physician. - If alcohol is the cause of anemia, then in addition to taking vitamins and maintaining adequate nutrition, alcohol consumption needs to be stopped.
  • Anemia Prevention: Some common forms of anemia are most easily prevented by eating a healthy diet and limiting alcohol use. All types of anemia are best avoided by seeing a doctor regularly and when symptoms arise. In the elderly, routine blood work ordered by the doctor, even if there are no symptoms, may detect anemia and prompt the doctor to look for the underlying causes.

Anemia Prognosis

How well someone with anemia will recover depends on the cause of the anemia and how severe it is. For example, if a stomach ulcer is causing anemia because of bleeding then the anemia can be cured if the ulcer is treated and the bleeding stops. If anemia is caused by kidney failure, however, then it most likely will require long-term treatment. In general, young people recover from anemia more quickly than older people do. Younger people also tolerate anemia better than elderly people because elderly people tend to have more chronic medical problems. Anemia makes almost any medical problem worse.

Share Something Today

We welcome you to myMEDistry ! We are truly excited envisioning all the possibilities and the positive difference we can make in the global healthcare experiences. The power of myMEDistry will be truly realized when people start sharing which will help us collaborate at a global level and make breakthrough research backed by real-world data possible.

While a number of sites publish and talk about privacy policy, we want to explain to you why it is absolutely safe to share you healthcare experiences on myMEDistry.
There may be an element of doubt and hesitation before sharing a personal health journey on the web which we totally understand, but we want to remind you that we are not looking for any personal identifying information at all other than gender, location and age. What we are asking you to share, are aspects of your health journey that will help others in a similar situation. Also, the patterns we can extract from volumes of such "real" data can significantly help in research and potentially play a key role in the advancement of medicine and treatment options.

We let you share as much as your entire medical journey starting from diagnosis until now or can just share the current treatments used or just the side effects you are experiencing. For additional peer to peer support, you can participate in our condition specific forums and discussion groups.

Thank you for your continued support and we look forward to your active sharing on myMEDistry.