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Anaemia in Apparently Healthy Adult Nigerians

E Olayemi
NKD Halim


Background: There is a direct relationship between health and social position, especially between anaemia, level of education and social development. I t has been reported that apparently healthy, fully ambulatory individuals could have low haematocrit. In the recent past, there have been attempts at correlating the presence of anaemia with clinical features. Our aim was to determine the prevalence of anaemia in apparently healthy adults, who did not have symptoms or signs of anaemia.

Methods: One hundred and seventy apparently healthy HbAA medical students of University of Benin aged 21-35 years were screened for anaemia using an ABBOT analyser DYN 1200.

Results: Mean PCV for males was 0.374± 0.032 and for females was 0.326± 0.036.The prevalence of anaemia in the study population was 51.8%; 19.5% in males and 81.8% in females. Among female students 69.4% had hypochromic red cells while all the male students had normochromic red cell; 75.0% of female students had mircrocytic red cells compared with 12.5% of male students. No student had severe anaemia. The higher prevalence of anaemia and hypochromic microcytic red cells in females may be partly due to their higher requirement for iron to replenish stores depleted during the menstrual cycle, though poor nutrition also plays a role.

Conclusions: We conclude that clinical examination alone may not be sufficient to exclude the presence of anaemia in adults as a large proportion of them with mild and moderate anaemia may be asymptomatic. Also, anaemia is becoming increasingly prevalent in Nigeria and this is most likely due to the worsening economy.

Key words: Anaemia, Healthy, Adult, Nigerians, Economy.

Journal of College of Medicine Vol.10(1) 2005: 31-33