Agatha M. Thrash, M.D.
Anemia is of three different types. The first is a nutritional deficiency, usually either of iron or protein. Sometimes other nutrients such as niacin, copper, Vitamin C, or rarely Vitamin B-12 may be involved. Chronic blood loss can cause iron deficiency anemia. Excessive blood destruction is a second cause of anemia. Increased blood destruction comes from such disorders as hemolytic anemia which can be due to exposure to toxic chemicals, related to certain diseases of blood-forming organs, viral infections, or rarely, to hereditary causes. A third cause of anemia is depression of the bone marrow. This condition is due to toxicity or hypersensitivity, as from taking of certain drugs and other toxic substances, or from chronic kidney disease. The average person can correct certain types of anemia by simple remedies in the home. Following are some of these remedies:
- Drink plenty of water, generally two glasses before breakfast, two in the mid-morning, again in the mid-afternoon, and one to two at night.
- Eat a diet liberal in green, leafy vegetables. Whole-grain breads and cereals and beans are excellent blood builders. It is well to avoid dairy products, as they contain very little iron, and tend to bind iron present in other foods. Eat dry fruit frequently, especially peaches and apricots.
- Get adequate rest for body repair and rebuilding of blood cells. Fatigue causes poor blood. Eight hours of sleep each day is about right for most adults. Too much sleep is also improper.
- Avoid nervous tension. Remember that "Exercise neutralizes tension."
- Exercise stimulates the bone marrow to produce blood cells. Absorption of iron from the intestine is also promoted by exercise.
- Sunshine stimulates blood-making. It promotes general good health. Vitamin D assists in the making of blood, and can be obtained in adequate quantities from daily sun exposure of the skin, at least 6-inches square.
- Fresh air is essential for cleansing the blood. Good posture and deep breathing of pure air is a good way to build the blood and to nourish all the cells of the body. It is a natural protection against anemia.
- Proper clothing of the extremities keeps the circulation equalized between the trunk and extremities. Proper blood building can be accomplished only by healthy bone marrow activity. Habitual chilling of the extremities causes a tax on the body. Chilling of blood that will circulate to the bone marrow will decrease the rate at which blood cells can be made.
- Chronic blood loss, as from excessive menstruation, or a little daily loss from a bleeding point in the gastrointestinal tract, can keep the iron stores low. These conditions should be promptly corrected by proper measures.
- To stimulate the bone marrow and the circulation, use the "short cold bath." Adjust the temperature of the water in the tub between 40 and 90°. The greater the cold, the less time spent. Try a half a minute at 40-50° F, 1 minute at 60-70°, 2 minutes at 70-80°, 3 minutes at 80-85°, and 3 and a half minutes at 90°.
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Seale, Alabama 36875