Background: Chronic Anemia as a Contemporary Issue in Female Health
Description: Essential Characteristics of Chronic Anemia
The phenomenon of anemia is relatively simple. By definition, anemia is the condition during which a reduction in the number of red cells, or oxygen-carrying pigment hemoglobin (Hgb) in the patient’s blood can be observed (Soliman, 2014). It should be noted that anemia is not viewed as a separate diagnosis and, instead, is regarded as a symptom of a deeper underlying health issue (Soliman, 2014). As a rule, the disease manifests itself, although it is not restricted to, in the following symptoms: fatigue, increase in heartbeat, dizziness, and shortness of breath (Soliman, 2014).
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Prevalence: Statistical Data on Chronic Anemia
According to the CDC data, around 146,000 members of the U. S. population had chronic anemia in 2013 (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2013). Therefore, the problem affects a significant part of the population. Women are typically viewed as the risk group for anemia development, especially pregnant ones. Furthermore, the female patients that belong to the Hispanic or African-American background, as well as elderly women, are affected by the problem significantly (Le, 2016).
Significance: Impact of Chronic Anemia on Women’s Health
Addressing the issue of anemia in women is crucial since the identified members of the population are especially vulnerable to anemia. Therefore, the significance of the analysis is rather high. Designing the tool that will help manage the problem of anemia in women efficiently will allow for a rapid improvement in the quality of care and a subsequent drop in mortality rates.
Addressing the Instances of Chronic Anemia
Information Management: Health Promotion as Essential Practice
At present, a significant emphasis is placed on the enhancement of knowledge acquisition among the target population members. Notably, healthcare organizations encourage women to seek relevant information and educate themselves on the problem, thus, developing independence in managing their health. Furthermore, the importance of community support is stressed. Health organizations work with communities so that women with anemia should receive enough support and develop the required coping skills (Barakat, Daniel, Smith, Robinson, & Patterson, 2014).
Early Identification of the Problem: Screening as the Primary Tool
At this point, it should be noted that there is no specific test that allows determining the presence of anemia (Tripathi, Soni, Sharma, & Verma, 2015). Nevertheless, healthcare experts actively encourage patients to take the tests that allow determining the changes in the number of red cells in the bloodstream (Tripathi et al., 2015). Thus, the problem can be identified at the earliest stages of its development.
Diagnostic Tests and Laboratories: How Chronic Anemia Is Identified
RBC Indices Measurement
To detect the changes in the production of red blood cells (RBCs), one will have to consider the use of the so-called full blood count (FBC) test. FBC includes the following measurements: mean corpuscular volume (MCV), which defines the average size of RBCs; mean corpuscular hemoglobin (MCH), which helps determine the volume of oxygen-carrying hemoglobin in an RBC; its concentration (MCHC) in a cell; and the red cell distribution width (RDW) test, which helps determine the change in the cells’ size variation (Tripathi et al., 2015).
Peripheral Blood Smear Examination
A blood smear test involves spreading a drop of the patient’s blood across a glass slide. As soon as a specific stain is introduced to it, the smear is scrutinized under a microscope. Notably, the number and percentage of RBCs are calculated (Singhal et al., 2016).
Bone Marrow Examination
In case the rest of the tests fail to determine the presence of the disease, the bone marrow examination (BME) can be used. Although the identified approach is not typically viewed as a common means of diagnosing anemia, it is, nevertheless, incorporated into the set of diagnostic tools. As a result, uncommon instances of chronic anemia can be detected (Singhal et al., 2016).
Common Treatment and Management Modalities: Description
Addressing Reversible Causes
It should be noted that, in most cases of chronic anemia, managing the disorder implies addressing the disease that has caused it in the first place (Kaitha, Bashir, & Ali, 2015). However, the identified approach implies that a comprehensive assessment of the patient’s health status should be carried out. Thus, the foundation for the further treatment plan can be created.
Meeting the Emergent Needs
In most cases, though, the treatment process is restricted to meeting the patient’s current needs. Seeing that chronic anemia is typically predetermined by another condition and, therefore, is comorbid, it is necessary to focus on handling the factors that serve as the primary causes of the problem. For instance, in the case of renal failure, the kidney-related issues must be addressed first. Synthetic erythropoietin is used in case the problem aggravates (Kaitha et al., 2015).
Blood Transfusion: Something to Be Avoided
Although blood transfusion is often viewed as an important part of treating and managing iron deficiency anemia, in chronic anemia, the identified approach is not recommended because of the negative effects and the associated expenses (Kaitha et al., 2015).
Health Screening and Promotion Needs Across the Lifespan
Comprehensive Health Screening
As stressed above, chronic anemia is typically linked to another disease that sparks its further development. Therefore, to detect the development of anemia or the risks to which the target population may be exposed, one will have to consider using a comprehensive test. An all-embracive health screening will allow determining the presence of the factors that may trigger the development of chronic anemia.
Taking the Values and Preferences of the Patients into Account
It should be borne in mind, though, that a healthcare expert must consider the needs and preferences of the patient when defining the significance of anemia testing. The said approach toward the process of testing for anemia is getting increasingly large attention and significance in the wake of the globalization process and the enhancement of diversity rates (Kaitha et al., 2015). Indeed, as the number of patients with unique needs is growing, it is becoming crucial to pay specific attention to their background, unique characteristics, etc. (Kaitha et al., 2015).
Traditional vs. Nontraditional Screening Options
Hematology Analyzer (Hospital Setting)
A hematology analysis is typically viewed as the primary screening framework for identifying the patient’s needs. As stressed above, several tests can be conducted to determine the presence of anemia in the patient and, thus, determine the strategies that should be used for further treatment. While some of the screening options may not be as efficient as others, most of them are quite successful, yet they share a significant flaw.
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Mainly, they can only be conducted in the environment of a healthcare facility, thus, restricting the patients’ mobility. The problem is especially topical for the people that have problems accessing the said facilities physically; as a result, the quality of care may drop significantly, and the instance of chronic anemia may be overlooked. Nonetheless, the use of a hematology analyzer should be deemed as very efficient since it provides comparatively credible results and allows determining the further course of action for meeting the patient’s needs immediately. The use of a hematology analyzer is often contrasted with a recent innovative approach that suggests carrying out the test in the home setting.
At-Home Point-of-Care Test
The At-Home Point-of-Care Test (POCT) was introduced into the healthcare setting as a concept not so long ago and, therefore, is relatively raw. AH PCT needs further tests and improvements, yet it provides a doubtless advantage for the target population, i.e., a chance to save time and effort by carrying out the test in the home setting.
When considering the benefits of the tests that are taken in the hospital setting, one should mention the fact that they are comparatively cheap. The new POCT, in turn, is said to be quite inexpensive a well (McGann et al., 2014). By taking a blood sample from the patient’s finger, the AnemoCheck tool draws the blood further into the capillary tube for the further identification of the issues associated with the percentage of RBCs in the patient’s bloodstream (McGann et al., 2014).
Thus, the test can be viewed as a crucial addition to the current set of tests used in the hospital setting. It would be wrong to assume that the identified POCT will oust the traditional testing approaches completely. Yet, it is bound to become an essential addition to the inventory used by healthcare experts to manage the instances of chronic anemia (McGann et al., 2014).
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McGann, P. T., Tyburski, E., Oliveira, V. D., Santos, B., Ware, R. E., & Lam, W. A. (2014). An accurate and rapid color-based point-of-care assay for the detection of severe anemia in low resource settings. Blood, 124(21), 688.
Singhal, S., Verma, N., Rathi, M., Singh, N., Singh, P., Sharma, S. P., & Tayal, U. (2016). Can peripheral blood smear examination be totally replaced by automated hematology analyser – with special reference to anemia? International Journal of Research in Medical Sciences, 4(10), 4563-4566. Web.
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