Anemia: Everything You Need To Know About It

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Anemia is one of the most common blood-related disorders in the general population globally. Among the common symptoms of anemia or chest pain pale skin and headaches.

Digging deep into the stats helps find that approximately 1.62 billion people around the globe and over 3 million Americans are suffering from anemia.

What is Anemia?

Anemia is a disorder that occurs when the circulating red blood cells in the body decrease by a certain number.

Anemia could be the result of other diseases interfering with body ability to generate new healthy red blood cells or increased breakdown of red blood cells.

Anemia Facts

  • Over 24.8 percent of the population around the world is affected by anemia
  • Over 400 types of anemia have been identified so far
  • Anemia is not just restricted to humans; it also affects dogs and cats
  • School going children or even preschool children around the globe and an estimated 47% of anemia

Anemia Symptoms

Among the most common symptoms of anemia are fatigue and the feeling of lack of energy. The following are other possible symptoms of anemia

  • Headaches
  • Chest pain
  • Irregular or fast heartbeat
  • Breath shortness
  • Paleness of skin
  • Lightheadedness

In some mild cases, there may or may not be any noticeable symptoms.

The following specific symptoms of anemia

  • Aplastic anemia – Skin rashes fever and frequent infections
  • Hemolytic anemia – Abdominal pain fever jaundice and dark colored urine
  • Folic acid deficiency anemia – Smooth tongue irritability diarrhea.
  • Sickle cell anemia – Jaundice fatigue swelling of both hands and feet with pain

Anemia Types

At present, more than 400 types of anemia have been identified and these are divided into three groups in accordance with their causes

  • Anemia caused by loss of blood
  • Anemia caused by a decrease in the faulty production of red blood cells
  • Anemia caused by the destruction of red blood cells

the following are the types of anemia within these categories:

  • Sickle cell anemia
  • Iron deficiency anemia
  • Cooley’s anemia
  • Vitamin deficiency anemia
  • Blood loss anemia
  • Pernicious anemia

Anemia Causes

Red blood cells (RBCs) are so important in your body that your body needs them to help you survive. Red blood cells carry hemoglobin which is complex protein found in RBCs, containing iron molecules.

These iron molecules transport oxygen from your lungs to the rest of the body.

there are many other diseases and medical conditions that can lead to the deficiency of red blood cells in your body.

Since there are many types of anemia, there is no particular cause. In fact most of the times it is very difficult to pinpoint a particular cause.

In the below section we have given a general overview of common causes of anemia divided into three main groups.

  1. Loss of blood causing anemia

Iron deficiency anemia is one of the most common types which often falls into this particular category. Deficiency of iron particularly by blood loss is the major cause.

The loss of blood in your body makes it pull in water from the surrounding tissues and mix it in the bloodstream in an effort to keep the blood vessels filled. This results in diluted blood, therefore, diluted red blood cells.

In some cases, blood loss can be acute and rapid while in other cases it can be chronic.

This could be due to surgery, childbirth, trauma, or ruptured blood vessels.

Here are the cases of anemia in which blood loss occurs:

  • Menstrual bleeding
  • Ulcer, cancer, gastritis, hemorrhoids etc.
  • Use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like aspirin
  • Decrease or faulty production of RBCs

In the center of your bones, a soft spongy tissue is found which is called bone marrow. for the production of red blood cells, bone marrow is essential. Besides, it produces stem cells what leads to the development of white blood cells red blood cells and platelets.

There are a number of diseases, including leukemia, that affects bone marrow. This case includes the production of an increased number of white blood cells in the body. This also affects the normal production of red blood cells.

The following are the types of anemia caused by faulty or decreased red blood cells:

  • Sickle cell anemia – Misshapen are abnormally and quickly broken down red blood cells.
  • Iron deficiency anemia – Less red blood cells production due to deficiency of iron.
  • Vitamin deficiency anemia – Deficiency of folate and vitamin B12 leads to the deficiency of red blood cells.
  • Bone marrow and stem cell problems – The deficiency or no stem cells present in the body.
  • Destruction of RBCs

The average span of red blood cells in the bloodstream is 120 days however they can be destroyed or removed beforehand.

The human body sometimes mistakenly identifies it’s on produced red blood cells as some foreign substance and therefore attacks them this condition is called Autoimmune hemolytic anemia.

The following are possible reasons for excessive hemolysis:

  • Clotting disorders
  • Spleen enlargement
  • Spider or snake venom
  • Autoimmune attack
  • Severe hypertension
  • Prosthetic heart valves and vascular grafts
  • Advanced kidney or liver disease causing the production of toxins
  • Infections

Anaemia Diet

increase brain is caused by nutritional deficiency chances are that you will be given an iron-rich diet to conquer iron deficiency.

The following are some iron-rich foods:

  • Fish
  • Tofu
  • Eggs
  • Brown Rice
  • Iron-fortified Bread and Cereals
  • White and red meat
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Pulses and beans

Anaemia Treatment

A wide range of treatments for anemia is available today and they all are aimed at increasing the count of red blood cells in the bloodstream.

These treatments dependent upon the type and cause of anemia one is suffering from

  • Iron deficiency anemia – this includes dietary changes and iron supplements.
  • Sickle cell anemia – this includes pain relief oxygen therapy and intravenous fluids
  • Aplastic anemia – this includes bone marrow transplant or blood transfusion
  • Thalassemia – this includes removal of the spleen transfusion of blood and bone marrow transplant and folic acid supplementation
  • Vitamin deficiency anemia – this includes vitamin B12 shots and dietary supplements
  • Anemia of chronic disease – although there is no specific treatment the focus is primarily on existing chronic diseases.

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