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From: B. Harris)
Subject: Re: Help me about ANAEMIA
Date: 15 Mar 1999 08:38:06 GMT

In <> (Howard
Homler) writes:

>On Sun, 14 Mar 1999 22:44:47 +0100, "Joh Doe" <Chrisnk@Eunet.yu>
>>                Hi
>>    May somebody tell me what kind of sickness is ANAEMIA and how cure that
>>and from what become that.
>>    All answers please on mail: chrisnk@eunet.yu
>Anaemia, or anemia, is simply a condition of having an abnormally low
>red blood cell count.  What matters is the degree and cause of the
>condition.  H2


   I would say abnormally low blood hemoglobin is the better definition
for anemia (Gk = meaning "no blood"), since hemoblobin content is what
we're really interested in physiologically.  Somebody with big cells
may have a low count and normal PCV and Hb, and it seems wrong to class
them with the oxygen transport difficulties which are the hallmark of
most anemias.  Their blood works fine, their marathon times aren't
affected, and rather than anemia you can refer to their peculiar
problem as erythrocytopenia with macrocytosis, if you like.
Conversely, a person with normal cell count due to thalassemia or iron
deficiency may have low Hb and low PCV and have abnormal oxygen
carrying capaciity.  By any definition since Wintrobe invented the
"hematocrit," such people are, and I think, should be, classed as

   It's a slightly silly semantic debate, of course, since many
indicies (low RBC count, low PCV/Hct, low total Hb) have been used
historically for this word, and so there isn't a universally agreed up
answer.  But hematologists are now more or less agreed that we should i
this case push to make language serve as useful a purpose as we can.
The word "anemia" generally implies potential metabolic problems under
conditions of unusual demand, and it's nice if we *define* the word so
that it ALWAYS does.

                                     Steve Harris, M.D.

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