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Anemia in Women - Worldwide Prevalence

In 12 countries of the world, 50% or more women of reproductive age have anemia.

Iron deficiency anemia is among the world's most common deficiencies. Anemia is a condition that is commonly seen in women, children, and the elderly. This disorder is marked by low-level hemoglobin (red blood cells) in the blood. It often presents itself in the fomr of dizziness, fatigue, shortness of breath, and confusion. The person may become pale in the later stages of the disorder.

Iron deficiency is the most common cause of anemia found in reproductive-age women around the world. The high prevalence of this disorder in women is found mostly in developing countries. Women of reproductive age suffer from this condition due to several underlying factors. These are induced by fibroids in menstruation, nematodes feeding caused by intestinal parasites, chronic blood loss due to gynecologic agitations, acute bleeds from gastrointestinal tract lesions, and acute blood loss from surgery. In at least 12 countries around the world, it is estimated that more than 50% of their populations have anemia.

Anemia-Susceptible Countries

When detected as the cause of anemia, iron deficiency is already in an advanced state and may have already caused further disorders in the blood. This fact may also reduce rational and physical qualities in those affected with the disorder. In developing countries, anemia may have its roots from inadequate health practices. It may also originate from deep-seated social and cultural practices. Economic factors also influence anemia such as poor diet, alcoholism, frequently paid blood donations, and lead toxicity from poor residential environments.

Yemen has the highest percentage of women suffering from anemia in the world, at a staggering 70%. Yemen is currently experiencing a brutal civil war, which results in a decreased access to healthcare. The African countries of Gabon, the Gambia, and Ivory Coast all battle high anemia rates that see between 53 to 59% of their populations afflicted.

The prevalence of iron deficiency anemia in Pakistan stands at 52%, proving that it remains a relevant problem in the country. In Pakistan, it is predicted that all pregnant and nursing women are affected by anemia. Fortified wheat flour has been suggested as a possible way to combat iron deficiency in Pakistan, which can lead to maternal mortality.

The prevalence of iron deficiency anemia in the United States stands at around 13%, which is lower than the world's average of 33%.

Impact and Prevention Of Anemia

The future generations depend on the health of women and educating them on the adverse effects of anemia is of utmost importance.The health of pregnant women could be affected by this unseen disorder. Postpartum anemia also affects women who have just given birth. Anemia is a health condition that brings iron deficiency to the pregnant woman and therefore also affects the unborn child. The mental development of the child is at stake as well. Studies have shown that an anemic child is at risk in relation to his abilities, achievements, and emotional outcomes.

Anemia could be prevented by a healthy diet of iron-rich foods such as meat, eggs, fish, and green leafy vegetables. In short, malnutrition is the major cause of this condition. Iron absorption is a problem when an individual has coffee and tea addiction. A decrease in these two beverages intake and an increase in Vitamin C could improve iron absorption.

Anemia in Women

Rank´╗┐CountryPrevalence of Amenia (%, Women 15-49)
1Yemen70
2Gabon59
3The Gambia58
4Cote d'Ivoire53
5Pakistan52
6Republic of the Congo52
7India51
8Mali51
9Mozambique51
10Guinea51
11Senegal50
12Nigeria50
13Togo49
14Sierra Leone48
15Angola48
16Chad48
17Benin47
18Cambodia47
19Ghana46
20Myanmar46

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