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Anemia is a condition in which there is a reduction in the number of red blood cells or hemoglobin in the blood. Anemia is a condition that occurs slowly. Some of the signs and symptoms of this disease include weakness, fatigue, shortness of breath, and inability to exercise. Anemia can also occur rapidly, especially if the patient has a blood loss. Some of the signs and symptoms of this include confusion, loss of consciousness, and thirst. However, the disease has to be significant before the affected individual can go pale. There are three main types of anemia. They include:
- Anemia due to blood loss.
- Increased breakdown of red blood cell
- Reduced production of red blood cells.
The causes of this disease include mechanical trauma, chronic bleeding and so on. The causes of the reduced production of red blood cells include iron deficiency, lack of Vitamin b12, neoplasms, and genetic causes. On the other hand, the causes of the increased breakdown of red blood cells include conditions such as sickle cell anemia, malaria, some autoimmune diseases and so on. Anemia is the most prevalent blood condition in the United States. It affects everyone regardless of age, race or gender. Most forms of anemia can be treated. For example, pregnant women are administered iron pills to prevent them from developing anemia. In addition, blood transfusion is also given, however, this is dependent on the signs and symptoms of the patient. Mostly, they are given when the hemoglobin level of the patient is between 6 to 8g/Dl. There are also some procedures that can stimulate the production of red blood cells in the bone marrow. This is done in severe cases of anemia.
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Anemia?
- Tiredness: Tiredness occurs due to the insufficient amount of red blood cells. The red blood cells are responsible for transporting oxygen. A reduction in the number of red blood cells will lead to anemia, which eventually leads to easy fatigability.
- Increased and irregular heart rate: This is also known as tachycardia. Patients have a heart rate that is more than 100 beats per minute.
- Skin pallor: Patients affected by aplastic anemia commonly presents with pale skin. This might be attributed to the reduced number of red cells and hemoglobin in the blood.
- Dizziness: This occurs due to the low amount of hemoglobin or red blood cells. The red blood cells are responsible for carrying oxygen.
- Chest pain
- Cold extremities: This includes the hands and the feet.
What Are The Causes Of Anemia?
The causes of this disease include mechanical trauma, chronic bleeding and so on. The causes of the reduced production of red blood cells include iron deficiency, lack of Vitamin b12, neoplasms, and genetic causes. On the other hand, the causes of the increased breakdown of red blood cells include conditions such as sickle cell anemia, malaria, some autoimmune diseases and so on. Basically, anemia occurs under these conditions;
- When the body doesn’t make enough red blood cells.
- When the body loses a lot of red blood cells faster than it can replace it.
- When the body destroys red blood cells, may be due to autoimmunity.
What Are The Functions Of The Red Blood Cells?
There are 3 types of blood cells, and this includes red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. The red blood cells have the function of transferring nutrients and oxygen to the cells and tissues. The white blood cells help the body fight off infections, while platelets help to prevent the body from bleeding out by forming platelet plugs. The red blood cells contain hemoglobin, which is a red iron-containing pigment. It’s responsible for the color of the blood. In addition, it enables the red blood cells transport blood from the lungs to other parts of the body, and at the same time, carrying carbon dioxide from the parts of the body, to the lungs. Red blood cells are produced in the bone marrow. However, there are some materials needed for the production of the red blood cells. Some of them include iron, vitamin B-12, folate and so on.
What Are The Types Of Anemia?
There are different types of anemia. These include;
- Iron deficiency anemia: This is the most common type of anemia. Iron deficiency anemia occurs as a result of an insufficiency of iron in the body. The bone marrow needs to make hemoglobin. Without a sufficient amount of iron, the body would not be able to produce the needed hemoglobin for red cell production.
- Vitamin deficiency anemia: Besides iron, the body also needs folate and vitamin B-12 to produce enough healthy red blood cells. A diet lacking in these and other key nutrients can cause decreased red blood cell production. In addition, some people may consume enough B-12, but their bodies aren’t able to process the vitamin. This can lead to vitamin deficiency anemia, also known as pernicious anemia. Pernicious anemia is an autoimmune disease.
- Anemia of chronic disease: There are some diseases that can interfere with the production of red blood cells. Examples of such diseases include cancer, HIV/AIDS, rheumatoid arthritis, kidney disease, Crohn’s disease and other chronic inflammatory diseases.
- Aplastic Anemia: Aplastic anemia is a blood disease in which the body stops producing new sufficient blood cells. This blood condition occurs when the bone marrow and the hematopoietic stem cells are impaired. This disease leads to a deficiency in the amount of all the blood cell types such as red blood cells, platelets and also white blood cells.
Treatment Of Anemia
The treatment of largely depends on the cause. Below are some of the treatments for anemia;
- Iron Deficiency Anemia: Iron deficiency anemia is one that can be treated by administering iron supplements, and modifying one’s diet. In cases where the cause is chronic bleeding, for example, menstruation, the bleeding has to be stopped.
- Vitamin Deficiency Anemia: Vitamin supplements are administered for this purpose. This includes vitamin B-12 and folic acid.
- Aplastic Anemia: The treatment of this disease depends largely on the severity of the condition. For the mildly severe aplastic anemia, the physician might just need to observe, while for serious cases, blood transfusion and medications might need to be administered.
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