Anemia

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Overview of Anemia

Anemia occurs when the red blood cells fall below the normal range or requirement of the body. Red blood cells contain the vital, oxygen bearing protein known as hemoglobin. Decrease in red blood cells lead to decrease in hemoglobin which cause decrease in oxygen carrying capacity of the blood. This situation lead to decrease in oxygen supply to the tissues and organs of the body and adversely affect their functions. There are many types of anemia, about more than 400, which have been divided into three main groups. They include

  1. Anemia caused by reduction or faulty production of red blood cells
  2. Anemia caused when red blood cells are destroyed
  3. Anemia caused by excessive loss of blood

Causes and Risk Factors of Anemia

Some of the commonly occurring types of anemia include vitamin deficiency anemia, iron deficiency anemia, aplastic anemia, hemolytic anemia, sickle cell anemia, malarial anemia, thalassemia and anemia associated with bone marrow disease. There are certain risk factors associated with anemia and people suffering from there factors have an increased chance of developing certain type of anemia. The risk factors of anemia include pregnancy that lack proper supplements, menstruation, malnutrition, intestinal disorders (Celiac disease, Crohn’s disease), family history, age above 65 years. Malabsorption of food also lead to iron deficiency. Sickle cell anemia is a genetic disorder in which the red blood cells are deformed and the ability to carry oxygen in such RBCs is reduced. There is another form of anemia, known as the chronic disease anemia. Diseases such as HIV, cancer, kidney disorders and rheumatoid arthritis can develop anemia over time.

Signs and Symptoms of Anemia

The common symptoms of anemia include extreme weakness, fatigue, chest pain, headache, shortness of breath, paleness of skin, irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia), cold feet and hands and dizziness. Sickle cell anemia is characterized by severe chronic pain crises that is ongoing in adults but episodic in children. It lead to multiple organ damage and affects lungs, liver, spleen, joints and kidneys.