Anemia is a medical condition that occurs when your red blood cell (RBC) count drops too low, causing an insufficient amount of hemoglobin to be delivered to your tissues. Anemia has a variety of causes and can cause various symptoms and complications. Check out our answers for frequently asked questions about anemia:
How Prevalent is Anemia?
According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI), anemia is the most common blood disorder, afflicting over 3 million Americans.
What Are the Symptoms of Anemia?
Symptoms of anemia
include: weakness, dizziness, persistent headache, irregular heartbeat (such as tachycardia), chest pain, jaundice, shortness of breath, mood changes, discolored skin, cold extremities and extreme fatigue. It should be noted that many other conditions can cause similar symptoms as well.
What Subtypes Are There?
There are different types of anemia such as sickle-cell anemia, malarial anemia and hemolytic
, to name a few.
What Causes Anemia?
Anemia may be caused because your body doesn’t make enough red blood cells (aplastic anemia), or because you bleed too much or too easily (haemophiliac), or perhaps your body is attacking its own red blood cells due to an underlying autoimmune condition such as Crohn’s. An iron deficiency is a common cause of anemia as your body needs iron to produce hemoglobin (which is responsible for oxygen). Pregnancy, cancer, long-term aspirin use and heavy menstruation are all potential causes of iron-deficient anemia. Vitamin deficiencies can also lead to anemia, most commonly, vitamin B12. If someone isn’t able to naturally metabolize B12 it can lead to a specific type of anemia labeled pernicious anemia. These people would likely require regular vitamin B12 shots.
Are There Any Risk Factors?
Risk factors include: deficient diet (if your diet lacks certain important vitamins and minerals), autoimmune intestinal disorders or other types of chronic disorders, haemophilia or a similar blood disease, heavy menstruation, or family history.
Can Anemia be Life-Threatening?
Some kinds of anemia (primarily inherited types) can be fatal if the person loses too much blood and their red blood cell count goes too low.
How is Anemia Diagnosed?
If a person’s blood test results show a hemoglobin level of less than 13.5gm/dl for a male or less than 12gm/dl for a
woman a diagnosis of anemia will likely be made and steps will be taken to understand any underlying problems and help correct them.
Can Anemia be Prevented?
Some types of anemia can be prevented through a healthy diet rich in meat and dairy (B12), citrus and veggies (sources of folate) and iron-rich foods like nuts. Several types of anemia (such as those inherited) cannot be prevented, but only treated.
What is the Treatment for Anemia?
In some cases, vitamin or iron supplements will be recommended. However, it is important to practice caution when it comes to dietary supplements
. it is not advisable to just start taking any dietary supplement without first cross checking your medical conditions or medications with a doctor and asking his or her advice on whether a supplement would be beneficial for your particular situation. Treatment for anemia is dependent on the type you have. It often involves a combination of blood transfusions and case-specific medications.
We hope this article has helped you learn a little more about this common blood condition, thanks for visiting EMC!