Anemia is one of the most common blood disorders around the world. Millions of people are diagnosed with this disorder each year. It is considered the most common disorder of blood that you can find since it can develop so easily by not consuming enough iron.
What is Anemia?
Anemia is a condition that occurs when a person has a low number of healthy red blood cells in their body. The main function of your red blood cells is to transport oxygen around your body. As such, persons with anemia may tend to feel lightheaded, dizzy or weak, and may tend to become breathless or experience a pounding heart.
What is sickle cell anemia?
Sickle cell anemia is a type of sickle-cell disease which is an inherited, and it is characterized by having red blood cells which are sickle-shaped. Normal red blood cells are round, flexible, and contain normal hemoglobin, a protein that helps transport oxygen around the body. In persons with sickle cell anemia, red blood cells are sickle-shaped, and contain hemoglobin that can be rod-like, and thereby interfere with the flexibility of the blood cell; this means that oxygen can’t be easily moved around the body.
What is aplastic anemia?
Aplastic anemia is a potentially life-threating form of anemia which affects not only red blood cells but also white blood cells and platelets. It can be caused by specific gene defects. It can also develop following exposure to certain viruses (e.g. HIV), radiation or dangerous chemicals.
Causes of Anemia
Anemia can be caused by blood loss, low levels of red-blood-cell production, or having red blood cells destroyed. For example, blood loss related anemia may occur through heavy menstruation or through gastrointestinal bleeding. If a person does not receive enough iron in their bodies, this lowers the production of red blood cells (iron deficiency anemia). Red blood cells may also be destroyed more quickly in individuals who have sickle cell anemia or are undergoing certain kinds of medical treatment.
There are several reasons for anemia, including pregnancy, heavy blood loss, and dietary deficiencies. It is defined by the World Health Organization as a hemoglobin concentration below 12 g/dl in women and 13 g/dl in men. In case of hemolytic anemia, which is an inherited disease, red blood cells are destroyed as soon as they are manufactured. On the other hand, in case of aplastic anemia, the red blood cells become damaged after their production, which reduces the number of red blood cells in the human body. In addition to this, patients who suffer from kidney failure, rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, and bowel disease might suffer from this eating disorder.
Symptoms of Anemia
The main symptoms of anemia are the following:
- Breath shortness
- Dizzy spells
- Sore gums
- Sore throats
- Brittle nails
In addition, persons with sickle cell anemia may also experience pain, strokes, and other more serious health complications.