CASE STUDY Anemia Anita is a 60-year-old woman who prides herself on taking charge of her health. Her daily physical activities include walking her dog, playing tennis, or participating in a tai chi class at the senior center. she follows the Dietary Guidelines, choosing a variety of whole grains; eating at least five servings per day of fruits and vegetables: and keeping her saturated fat and sodium intakes to a minimum. She eats lean sources of protein. choosing poultry. fish. Or vegetable sources of protein instead of red meat. she maintains a healthy body weight, has never had high blood pressure or high blood sugar, and does not take medications or supplements. Last week, she went to a blood drive her church with the intent of donating blood, but she was turned away because her hematocrit a measure of the percentage of red blood cells in the blood) was slightly below the requirements for donation. Anita was surprised because she has never had a problem donating blood before. The nurse told Anita that her low hematocrit level was indicative of anemia, which has many possible causes. As Anita thought about it, she realized that she had been feeling more tired than usual. Questions: 1. Iron deficiency is the most common form of anemia. What role does iron play in the health of red blood cells? From the description, is it possible that Anita has low iron stores? what dietary changes could Anita make to improve her iron status? 2. Folate deficiency may lead to anemia. What role does folate play in the health of red blood cells? From the description, is it likely that Anita is deficient in folate? 3. Low vitamin B-12 may result in anemia. What role does vitamin B-12 play in the health of red blood cells? Suggest an explanation for why Anita may have low vitamin B-12 status even with adequate dietary intake of vitamin B-12. What dietary changes could Anita make to improve her vitamin B-12 status? 4. What should Anita do now that she knows she is anemic? Will changes to her food choices suffice to resolve the problem? Anemia


Anemia, a condition which causes a reduction in red blood cell count in the body is common. The hemoglobin in red blood cells is responsible for carrying oxygen from the cells to the rest of the body. Red blood cell health is influenced by iron and folate, which are essential nutrients. Anemia caused by iron deficiency, the most prevalent form, is due to inadequate diet intake and/or impaired iron absorption (Davison, et al. 2016). Anemia can be caused by a lack of iron. Iron is an essential component of the production of hemoglobin. From Anita’s description, it is possible that she has low iron stores, as she has never had a problem donating blood before. Red meat, poultry and fish could all be beneficial to her. Her iron intake could be increased by eating more vitamin-rich foods like bell peppers or citrus fruits. Anemia may be also caused by Folate insufficiency. Folate is necessary for the production of red blood cells, and its deficiency can interfere with the body’s ability to produce red blood cells (Vasudevan et al., 2018). From Anita’s description, it is unlikely that she is deficient in folate, as she eats a variety of fruits and vegetables and follows the Dietary Guidelines. Her folate intake could be increased by eating more folate-fortified cereals, legumes, leafy greens, such as spinach, or kale. (McCann, 2022). Cont…

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