Anemia at a Glance
What Is Anemia?
Anemia occurs when hemoglobin or red blood cells are lacking in your blood. The hemoglobin is a part of your red bloods cell that binds to oxygen and carries it throughout your body to help give you energy and supply your organs with the necessities to function properly.
Symptoms of Anemia
- shortness of breath
- lightheadness and/or dizziness
- tachycardia, fast heartbeat
Anemia can affect any age of individual, and there are many forms. While anemia is a common blood condition, affecting approximately 3.5 million Americans, most forms are treatable.
Types of Anemia
- Iron-deficiency anemia: is the most common anemia and is highly treatable with iron supplements and increased iron in foods. Iron deficient anemia is common in women who are pregnant or menstruating, low-iron diets, The aforementioned hemoglobins are made in the bone marrow and are made up of iron. If there is not enough iron for the bone marrow to produce hemoglobin, the red blood cells lack hemoglobin and therefore can not attach to oxygen.
Blood loss anemia: is a chronic bleeding condition, internally, or from menstruation or childbirth.
- Another form of anemia is vitamin-deficiency anemia: We’ve talked about what the body needs to make hemoglobin, but the body needs vitamin B12 and folate to be able to make red blood cells. The sub-types of vitamin deficient anemia are; lacking in both nutrients, which is called megaloblastic anemia low absorption ability caused by a other diagnosis such as HIV or stomach and intestinal conditions. This is called pernicious anemia. Not eating enough meat will cause a lack in vitamin b12, and lack of vegetable consumption leads to folate deficiency.
- Sickle cell anemia is an inherited form of anemia. The hemoglobin protein is abnormal causing the red blood cells to form a sickle, or crescent like, shape. These rigid structures can clog the circulation and cause pain, additionally the blood cells die quickly, leaving the individual at a deficit. Common in this condition is hemolytic anemia, where because the red blood cells are deformed, they do not last their typical lifespan. Hemolytic anemia can be caused by many other conditions and medications.
- Aplastic anemia can be inherited, occur when cancer, infections or injury affects bone marrow, or without apparent cause. When there are not enough red blood cells, this is called aplastic anemia, and your doctor may refer you to a hematologist to find the cause using a bone marrow biopsy.
- Thalassemia, however, is when red cells are unable to fully develop or grow. This is an inherited condition that ranges from mild to life threatening.
- Diseases of the bone marrow, both cancerous or benign, may also cause anemia. These conditions caused the bone marrow tissue to be destroyed and compromise the bodies ability to create red blood cells. A few of the conditions that cause bone marrow related anemia are: myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS),
specific mydelodsyplastic syndrome, Multiple Myeloma, Aplastic anemia, and Paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PHN.)