Guwahati, Nov. 30: A large number of aged people have been found to be suffering from anaemia in the city, doctors at Gauhati Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) have claimed.
Many such patients are not even aware that they are suffering from anaemia, which further complicates the problem. Apart from anaemia, certain heart ailments like weakening of the muscles of the heart and dementia have also been found to be common among the patients.
“From the time our regional geriatric centre opened in August this year, we have been receiving a lot of elderly patients and a substantial number of them have been diagnosed with anaemia. Many of them are not even aware that they have this problem. Many patients keep passing small amount of blood along with their stool, but they do not realise it or they think it is constipation or piles. This loss of blood ultimately results in anaemia,” said Debabrata Goswami, head of the department of medicine of GMCH and in-charge of the regional geriatric centre.
“After further medical examination some patients have been found to be suffering from stomach ulcers that bleed and some have even been diagnosed with cancer of the stomach,” said Goswami.
According to the doctors, anaemia in the elderly is caused by several factors. Nutritional anaemia is a major problem among the elderly, which is caused when they suffer from malnutrition because of their inability to eat well or when their bodies cannot absorb sufficient amount of nutrition from food. Again, certain medicines like aspirin that are taken by people to prevent heart attacks and brain haemorrhage can also result in anaemia by causing bleeding in the stomach.
“Painkillers, taken by the elderly people to relieve old age-related physical pain, are a major cause of anaemia. Painkillers, when taken frequently, lead to gastric erosion that results in bleeding in the stomach. This blood loss causes anaemia,” said Goswami.
Doctors of the geriatric centre will also conduct a research to study the kind of ailments that afflict the elderly.
GMCH is among the eight medical colleges that have been selected by the Centre to open the regional geriatric centre.