Anemia: Symptoms, Treatment and Early Detection by CognitiveCare's MIHIC
Updated: Mar 31
Anemia is a condition in which the number and size of red blood cells or the hemoglobin (Hb) concentration falls below an established cut-off value, consequently reducing the ability of the blood to transport oxygen around the body. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), anemia in pregnancy is defined as Hb concentration of less than 11grams per deciliter (g/dl). Anemia during pregnancy is a major cause of morbidity and mortality of pregnant women in developing countries and has both maternal and fetal consequences.
Anemia in pregnant women has severe consequences on health, social, and economic development, resulting in an increased risk of low physical activity, maternal morbidity, and mortality, especially in those with severe anemia. Annually, nearly 510,000 maternal deaths occur worldwide, associated with childbirth or early postpartum complications. Approximately 20% of maternal death is caused by anemia; the majority of this taking place in developing countries. Severe anemia (<7 g/L) during pregnancy has been associated with major maternal and fetal complications. It increases the risk of preterm delivery, low birth weight, intrauterine fetal death, neonatal death, maternal mortality, and consequently miscarriage.
According to global data, 56% of pregnant women from Low- and Middle-Income Countries suffer from anemia with the highest percentage (57%) in Sub-Saharan Africa, followed by Southeast Asia (48%) and the lowest presence (24.1%) in South America.
Risk Factors for Anemia During Pregnancy
Since pregnant women need more iron and folic acid than usual, all pregnant women are at risk for having anemia. The risk increases if the mother is 20 years old or less, is pregnant with more than one child, or is having two pregnancies within a close time span. Previous history of anemia and deficiency of iron also places pregnant women at higher risk for anemia.
Symptoms of Anemia During pregnancy
Dizziness and feeling tired or weak are the most common symptoms of anemia during pregnancy. Pregnant women with anemia may also have trouble concentrating and may experience shortness of breath. Skin, lips and nails can become pale in color.
Treatment for Anemia During Pregnancy
With early detection, anemia (in all its different forms) can be treated or managed with nutritional and vitamin supplements. There are three common types of anemia: iron-deficiency anemia, folate-deficiency anemia and vitamin B12 deficiency anemia. Iron and folate-deficiency anemia are routinely treated with iron supplements and folic acid supplements. In case of vitamin B12 deficiency, vitamin B12 supplements are recommended. In addition, doctors may also recommend a nutritional diet rich in iron and folic acid including food such as eggs, meat and dairy products.
Importance of Early Detection of Anemia
In many cases, symptoms of anemia may not lead to an immediate diagnosis of anemia. Many symptoms of anemia overlap with symptoms commonly experienced in pregnancy. If left undiagnosed and untreated, anemia can increase the risk of preterm delivery or low birth weight, the need for a blood transfusion during delivery, and postpartum depression. Undiagnosed or untreated anemia may also put the baby at risk of developing anemia, developmental delay or serious birth defects such as neural tube defects.
CognitiveCare has developed Maternal, Infant Health Insights and Cognitive Intelligence (MIHIC™), the world’s first AI platform that predicts maternal and infant health risks. The MIHIC Anemia Risk Score uses not only medical and clinical data but also socio-economic, lifestyle and demographic information to detect the risk of anemia during early pregnancy. The factors responsible for the higher risk of anemia can be intervened early to reduce and/or prevent the risk of anemia during pregnancy.
MIHIC is not just limited to predict the risk score of anemia during pregnancy. By putting Artificial Intelligence at the intersection of medicine, biology and demographics, our algorithms can scan trillions of data points to detect and quantify the propensity of 48 possible health risks before and during pregnancy. The risks detected are called MIHIC Scores and they provide a longitudinal view to enable management, mitigation, reversal, or prevention of these risks.
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