The Symptoms of Chronic Anaemia

Dry, thin, wrinkled skin; emaciation; shortness of breath; nervousness; baldness; dropsy; fatty degeneration of the heart, liver, kidneys and other parts; in women, amenorrhoea and leucorrhoea in many cases.

The symptoms of chronic anaemia are, with slight exceptions, included in those of acute anaemia, the chief difference being that instead of being produced so suddenly as in the acute form they occupy a long time in appearing.

The Causes of Chronic Anaemia

Under the leading causes should be noticed first, predisposition. Some persons inherit a tendency to hemorrhage, having what is termed hemorrhagic diathesis. Such persons are commonly known as "bleeders." Women are much more liable to chronic anaemia than men, principally owing to the fact that they have about one-tenth less blood in proportion to the weight of the body, and partly because they are more exposed to the causes which occasion the disease in the chronic form. Another cause of anaemia is deficient nutrition, or the use of too small a quantity of food. As the blood is made of what we eat, it is evident that if too small a quantity of nutritive material is introduced into the blood its elements will be deficient. Deficiency of light and of pure air may also be justly mentioned as common causes of anaemia. This is very clearly shown by the great frequency of the disease among milliners, factory operatives, and others who are much excluded from the sunshine and obliged to breathe impure air. Excessive or deficient physical exercise is another frequent cause of anaemia. A person who takes too much exercise may use up the elements of the blood more rapidly than they can be produced from the food which he is able to digest. On the other hand, deficient exercise occasions deficient nutrition by causing loss of appetite, impaired digestion, etc. Exposure to excessive heat or to a low temperature are both causes of anaemia. Prolonged nursing in women, sexual excesses in either sex, serious hemorrhage, external or internal, and numerous forms of disease, particularly spermatorrhoea, leucorrhoea, animal parasites, dyspepsia, and fever, are frequent causes of anaemia. Parasites are a common cause of the disease in this country, and very frequently in Egypt, where a peculiar animal parasite infests the small intestines of individuals, and thrives by sucking the blood of the patient. Chronic dyspepsia is one of the most frequent of all causes of anaemia. A person cannot be a dyspeptic for any length of time without becoming to a greater or less degree anaemic. A severe fever will produce anaemia almost as rapidly as a hemorrhage, by interfering with the nutritive processes as well as by destruction of the nutritive elements of the body through rise of temperature. Chronic anaemia is a very common af fection, especially among women and children. It should not be looked upon as a diseased condition which is attended by no danger, as it is a powerful predisposing cause of other and more fatal diseases, besides being itself capable of producing death if sufficiently long continued.