What is Anemia ?
Anemia is a condition decrease in the total amount of red blood cells (RBCs) or hemoglobin in the blood. It is a common blood disorder. Hemoglobin is a main part of red blood cells and binds oxygen. If you have too few or abnormal red blood cells, or your hemoglobin is abnormal or low, the cells in your body will not get enough oxygen. This leads to reduced oxygen flow to the body’s organs. Women are at high risk of anemia as they lost blood during menstruation.
The three main types of anemia are due to blood loss, decreased red blood cell production, and increased red blood cell breakdown
- Anemia caused by blood loss
- Anemia caused by decreased or faulty red blood cell production
- Anemia caused by destruction of red blood cells
Causes of Anemia are
- Anemia caused by blood loss: Gastrointestinal conditions such asulcers, hemorrhoids, gastritis (inflammation of the stomach), and cancer
- Faulty Red Blood Cell Production :
- Sickle cell anemia
- Iron deficiency
- Iron is major component of hemoglobin and essential for its proper function. Chronic blood loss due to any reason is the main cause of low iron level in the body as it depletes the body’s iron stores to compensate for the ongoing loss of iron. Anemia that is due to low iron levels is called iron deficiency anemia.
- Vitamin deficiency
- Bone marrow and stem cell problems
- Other health conditions
- malaria Infection
- autoimmune diseases.
- Infection by intestinal nematodes feeding on blood, such as hookworms
- Certain forms of anemia are hereditary and infants may be affected from the time of birth.
Classification of anemia is based on the Mean Corposcular Volume (MCV) which signifies the average volume of individual red blood cells.
- If the MCV is low (less than 80), the anemia is categorized as microcytic anemia (low cell volume).
- If the MCV is in the normal range (80-100), it is called a normocytic anemia (normal cell volume).
- If the MCV is high, then it is called a macrocytic anemia (large cell volume).
Signs and symptoms
- weakness or tired
- poor concentration
- lack of energy
- Wrinkling of skin
- droopy looking eyes
- reduced memory
- shortness of breath
- lack of oxygen-carrying capability of the blood by increasing cardiac output
- Head ache
- delay in wound healing
- hair loss
Anemia is typically diagnosed on a complete blood count.
In modern counters, four parameters (RBC count, hemoglobin concentration, MCV and RDW) are measured, allowing others (hematocrit, MCH and MCHC) to be calculated, and compared to values adjusted for age and sex. Some counters estimate hematocrit from direct measurements
Treatments for anemia depend on cause and severity, some of the treatments are
- oral iron
- Injectable iron
- Blood transfusion
- Erythropoiesis-stimulating agent
- Hyperbaric oxygen