Every age group may have different causes of anemia. Anemia is a blood disorder that shows low amounts of healthy red blood cells, which are essential to carry required oxygen to your body tissues. If you have anemia, also known to be low hemoglobin levels, you can feel weakness and tiredness. In this article, you will learn about the types, symptoms, causes, and treatment of anemia in more detail.
What is Anemia?
Anemia is a disease in which your blood does not transport oxygen throughout the body. This happens if you have low or not enough red blood cells. You may have low red blood cells due to several conditions, which we will discuss in the causes of anemia section.
Types of Anemia
Anemia can develop due to its different types, which include:
- Iron deficiency anemia. It is the most common type of anemia, which shows low amounts of red blood cells. Red blood cells transport oxygen to your body tissues. Iron deficiency occurs due to low iron levels. If you have low iron levels, your body loses the ability to produce hemoglobin, a protein that binds oxygen and helps red blood cells carry it throughout your body.
- Sickle cell anemia. A series of inherited disorders is called sickle cell disease. It mainly disturbs the shape of red blood cells that transfers oxygen to the rest of your body. Generally, red blood cells move easily as they are flexible and round. If you experience sickle cell anemia, few red blood cells convert into a shape similar to sickles or crescent moons. These sickle cells are rigid and stick, which may lead to resisting blood flow.
- Aplastic anemia. A type of anemia in which your body cannot develop required new red blood cells. It leads to fatigue, unexpected bleeding, and being open to various infections.
- Thalassemia. An inherited blood disorder that results in the development of less hemoglobin compared to normal. Hemoglobin allows red blood cells to transport oxygen. Thalassemia can lead to anemia.
- Vitamin deficiency anemia. This condition indicates that you do not have enough healthy red blood cells. This develops due to a low intake of vitamin B12 or folate. You may lack these nutrients if you do not take foods containing vitamin B12 and folate. Without these nutrients, your body develops red blood cells of large size, which do not function accurately. It leads to a loss of the ability to transport oxygen.
Symptoms of Anemia
The symptoms of anemia may depend on the cause and extremity of the anemia.
The most common symptoms of anemia if you experience include:
- Feeling of cold
- Difficulty breathing
- Skin color turns yellow or pale
- Disturbance in the heartbeats
- Irritating feeling
- Growth problems in children and teens
- Chest pain
Initially, anemia can be so insignificant that you do not feel it. When anemia goes worse, its symptoms also become worse. When you see these symptoms of anemia, you should talk with a provider.
Causes of Anemia
Anemia develops if you have low red blood cells due to these causes, which include:
- Blood loss
- Less amount of red blood cells development
- Destruction of red blood cells in less time
The function of Red blood cells
Red blood cells carry oxygen from the lungs to your body and release carbon dioxide from your body to the lungs. Your body requires iron to develop hemoglobin. Each red blood cell includes several million hemoglobin molecules, which carry oxygen. Hemoglobin is a part of red blood cells that contain iron-rich protein and provides red color to your blood. Hemoglobin binds oxygen to the blood so that red blood cells can transmit oxygen to your body. It also carries carbon dioxide from different body parts to your lungs so that it can be released.
Red blood cells develop with other blood cells in your bone marrow, a soft and spongy tissue that includes different blood vessels and is found at the center of most bones. Your body always requires adequate levels of iron, vitamin B12, folate, and other nutrients to develop hemoglobin and red blood cells. These nutrients often come from the food you take. One of the leading causes of anemia is low iron levels.
Different types of anemia show different causes, which are as under:
- Iron deficiency anemia. Oneof the Common types of anemia is produced by iron deficiency in the body. Your bone marrow requires iron to develop hemoglobin. If you do contain enough iron levels, your body cannot produce enough hemoglobin for the red blood cells.
- Vitamin deficiency anemia. In addition to iron, your body requires folate and vitamin B-12 to develop recommended healthy red blood cells. Low intake of these nutrients results in less red blood cell production.
- Aplastic anemia. A rare type of anemia happens when your body cannot develop enough red blood cells. The causes of aplastic anemia are infections, autoimmune diseases, specific medicines, and contact with hazardous substances or chemicals.
- Anemia linked with bone marrow disease. Specific conditions like leukemia and myelofibrosis may result in anemia by disturbing blood development in your bone marrow. The side effects of these types of cancer or cancer-related disorders may change from insignificant to life-threatening.
- Hemolytic anemias. A series of anemias develops when red blood cells damage rapidly compared to replacement by the bone marrow. Specific blood-related diseases may also lead to high destruction of red blood cells. If you have a family history of it, you may have a chance of anemia at any stage of your life.
- Sickle cell anemia. Itis inherited and can become hemolytic anemia. It develops if a damaged form of hemoglobin urges red blood cells to make a crescent (sickle) shape. The death of these red blood cells appears too early, resulting in a long-term deficiency of red blood cells.
- Anemia of inflammation. These are the particular diseases, including cancer, kidney disease, rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, and inflammatory diseases that may disturb the development of red blood cells.
How To Diagnose Anemia?
If you see the symptoms of anemia, you can schedule an online appointment with a doctor. A healthcare provider may recommend a complete blood count (CBC) test to see red blood cells, hemoglobin, and other types of cell levels in your blood. Your healthcare provider may ask about your family and medical history after the test. You may be at risk of anemia if you have low red blood cells or iron levels.
Here are the factors, which may lead to the risk of anemia, including:
- Low intake of the recommended amount of iron, folic acid, or vitamin B12
- Intestinal disorders are conditions in which the small intestine fails to absorb nutrients. Intestinal disorders such as Crohn’s disease and celiac disease can lead to a high risk of
- Family history of anemia or inherited disorders such as sickle cell anemia
- Pregnancy. Women are more prone to the risk of iron deficiency or anemia due to blood loss from their periods. Pregnant women also need a high blood amount during pregnancy.
- Heavy periods
- Blood disorders like sickle cell anemia and thalassemia, or cancer
- Chronic conditions, such as kidney failure, colon cancer, or other chronic conditions, can decrease the number of red blood cells.
- If you are above 65, you have a high risk of anemia.
What health problems can occur due to anemia?
If you do not take treatment for anemia, it can result in complications for your health, such as
- Severe fatigue
- Pregnancy problems. If you are a pregnant woman having folate deficiency anemia, you have more chances to develop complications like birth before time.
- Heart disease. Anemia can result in a sudden disturbance in the heartbeats. When you experience anemia, your heart pumps additional blood to meet the requirement for the deficiency of oxygen in the blood. This can
- Death. The inherited type of anemia, like sickle cell anemia, can lead your life to the risk of death. Losing a high amount of blood rapidly results in mild or severe anemia, which can be dangerous. Anemia is linked with the risk of death in older people.
Treatment for Anemia
The anemia treatment varies depending on the type of anemia you experience. A healthcare provider will ask to take vitamins and minerals to decrease iron deficiency anemia and vitamin deficiency. These are the nutrients include:
Iron. Following are the iron-rich foods include:
- Beef and other meats
- Iron-fortified cereals
- Dark green leafy vegetables
- Dried fruit
Folate. This is derived from folic acid and can be present in these foods, which include:
- Dark green leafy vegetables
- Green peas
- Fruit and fruit juices
- Grain products like bread, pasta, rice, and cereal
Vitamin B-12. Foods that contain high amounts of vitamin B-12 include dairy products, meat, soy products, fish, eggs, and fortified cereals.
Vitamin C. Here are the foods that include vitamin C:
- Citrus fruits (Oranges, lemon, grapefruit, kiwi)
- Bell peppers
- Cruciferous vegetables (Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage)
Anemia results when you do not have the required red blood cells. The types of anemia may be found during birth in a few people, whereas in most people develop with time. If you experience tiredness for days or weeks even though you have taken rest, you should consult an online healthcare provider to discuss your medical conditions. If anemia is left untreated, this could result in various diseases. You can eliminate the risk of the above causes of anemia from your life with proper minerals or vitamins.