Anemia is a condition of the blood when its red blood cell count is low. Red blood cells are formed in the bone marrow and then released into the bloodstream. They have an iron component in them called Hemoglobin responsible for the transport of oxygen. Reduction in the number of blood cells i.e. Anemia can cause oxygen loss in the body.
Types of Anemia
Anemia is not only the deficiency of the blood cells but is also a defect in their shape and size. Accordingly, there are three major classifications. When the Red cells are normal in shape and size but lesser in number then the condition is termed normocytic anemia. When they are smaller it is microcytic and when larger it is macrocytic anemia. Sickle cell anemia is another disorder where the Red cells assume a sickle shape.
Causes of Anemia
Anemia is caused due to many reasons.
Excessive Bleeding: Most often excessive bleeding leads to a deficiency. Blood loss can have many causes. A trauma could have resulted in a lot of bleeding. The trauma could be an automobile accident, a fall, or even surgery. Post-surgical bleeding is also not uncommon.
Menstrual Bleeding: Women can become anemic due to heavy menstrual bleeding. Bleeding can also happen in stools, though intestinal bleeding can seldom cause significant loss of blood. If a person has clotting disorders like Hemophilia then a lot of blood can be lost and the person would turn anemic. Such cases are medical emergencies and warrant immediate attention.
Iron Deficiency Anemia: Deficiency of iron can cause anemia. Usually, Iron is obtained from the diet we consume. Green vegetables are good sources of iron and if these are not taken on a regular basis then anemia can result. Vitamin B12 is also necessary for making red cells. Iron deficiency anemic people have a pale bluish look because their blood is devoid of required oxygen. The body’s inability to make red blood cells can also cause anemia. These are generic in nature.
Cancer-Causing Anemia: Blood cells have a cycle of life. They are produced in the bone marrow and they also destroyed there. The blood is purified by the kidney and any problems can lead to anemia. Cancer of bone marrow is another problem that can cause anemia.
Genetic Factors Causing Anemia: Genetic conditions like sickle cell anemia can cause damage to red cells. Thalassemia is another disease that is a disease of hemoglobin production mechanism.
Impaired Metabolism of Spleen and Anemia: Problems of the spleen can also cause anemia. The spleen is the organ that gets rid of aged red cells. If the spleen is infected or is not functioning then there could be a distribution problem of red cells in the blood. Hemolytic anemia where the good cells are also destroyed along with worn red cells is a condition that is genetic in nature. But it can also be acquired by other infections like Aids and through blood transfusions.
Aplastic anemia is another condition that requires repeated blood transfusions. It is usually congenital and the baby is unable to produce a sufficient number of red cells. This is a serious condition and is most often fatal with the baby not surviving the first few days.
Erythropoietin Hormone Essential for RBC Production
In order to make red cells, a hormone called erythropoietin is essential. If this hormone is not produced properly or if there is a hormone deficiency then the bone marrow does not produce sufficient red cells leading to anemia.
Pregnant women have high chances of anemia occurrence. This is because of the higher creation of plasma content of blood and the proportion of red cells decreases. The fetus’s nutrition is through the mother’s blood hence the higher fluid content of the blood. During pregnancy, a deficiency of iron or folic acid content can cause problems to the fetus. There would be a significant loss of nutrition and oxygen to the baby.
The onset of anemia comes with a good number of signals. Loss of oxygen in the blood can make one look pale and fatigued. It can happen to anyone and in order to reduce the risk of occurrence diet rich in iron will have to be taken.