Space Travel Causes Anemia

Jakarta, CNN Indonesia

A study revealed that space travel has an effect on human health, including a deficiency in the number of red blood cells or anemia.

Lately, traveling to outer space as a tourism mission is being loved by a number of parties. This is because several space companies such as Virgin Galatic and Blue Origin provide travel packages to space.

But researchers say long trips to space can put you at risk of anemia.

Astronauts are known to have “space anemia” but until now it was considered only a temporary illness. A NASA study called the disease only lasted 15 days.

The lack of red blood cells, or hemolysis, results from the movement of fluids as the astronaut’s body changes to zero gravity.

Guy Trudel of the University of Ottawa, who led the study, said anemia was a major effect of space travel.

He and his team came to this conclusion after researchers conducted an analysis of 14 astronauts.

“As long as you’re in space, you destroy more blood cells, than you make,” Trudel was quoted as saying. Reuters.

Normally, the body destroys and replaces nearly 2 million red blood cells per second. The research team found the astronaut’s body destroyed 3 million red blood cells per second during the mission.

The astronauts produce extra red blood cells to compensate for the destroyed. But, Trudel asks, how long can the body continue to produce 50 percent more red blood cells?

For information, NASA estimates a round trip mission to Mars will take about two years.

“If you’re on a trip to Mars and you can’t keep up with the need to produce all those extra red blood cells, “you could be in serious trouble,” Trudel said.

Trudel further explained that having fewer red blood cells in space is not a problem when your body is weightless.

But after landing on Earth, anemia can affect the energy, endurance, and strength of an astronaut’s body.

A year after returning to Earth, the astronaut’s red blood cells have not fully returned to the way they were before the mission.

Trudel also studied the effects of immobility in patients who were bedridden for weeks or months.

The new findings suggest that what happens in space may also happen to patients lying down for weeks to months.

Sulekha Anand, a human physiology researcher at San Jose State University who was not involved in the study, agrees with Trudel’s research.

“These findings have implications for understanding the physiological consequences of spaceflight and anemia in patients on the ground,” he said CNN.

(can/rhr)


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