Anemia: Types and Causes
Anemia is a condition that develops when your blood does not have enough healthy red cell or hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is a main part of red blood cells and binds oxygen. If you have too couple of or abnormal red blood cells, or your hemoglobin is abnormal or low, the cells in your body will not get enough oxygen. Symptoms of anemia– like tiredness– occur because organs aren’t getting what they have to work correctly.
Anemia is the most typical blood condition in the United States. It influences about 3.5 million Americans. Women, little ones, and people with chronic diseases are at enhanced risk of anemia. Essential factors to bear in mind are:
- Specific types of anemia are genetic and infants might be impacted from the time of birth.
- Women in the childbearing years are particularly vulnerable to iron-deficiency anemia because of the blood loss from menstruation and the enhanced blood supply needs during pregnancy.
- Older grownups also may have a greater risk of establishing anemia because of bad diet and other medical conditions.
There are lots of types of anemia. All are really various in their causes and treatments. Iron-deficiency anemia, the most typical type, is extremely treatable with diet changes and iron supplements. Some types of anemia– like the anemia that establishes during pregnancy– are even thought about normal. However, some types of anemia might provide long-lasting health problems.
What Causes Anemia?
There are more than 400 types of anemia, which are divided into 3 groups:
- Anemia brought on by blood loss
- Anemia brought on by decreased or faulty red cell production
- Anemia triggered by damage of red blood cells
Anemia Caused by Blood Loss
Red blood cells can be lost through bleeding, which typically can happen gradually over an extended period of time, and can go unnoticed. This kind of chronic bleeding frequently arises from the following:
- Intestinal conditions such as ulcers, hemorrhoids, gastritis (inflammation of the stomach), and cancer
- Use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirinor ibuprofen, which can cause ulcers and gastritis
- Menstruation and childbirth in women, specifically if menstrual bleeding is excessive and if there are multiple pregnancies
Anemia Caused by Decreased or Faulty Red Blood Cell Production
With this type of anemia, the body may produce too couple of blood cells or the blood cells might not function properly. In either case, anemia can result. Red cell might be malfunctioning or reduced due to unusual red blood cells or a lack of minerals and vitamins required for red cell to work appropriately. Conditions related to these causes of anemia include the following:
- Sickle cell anemia
- Iron-deficiency anemia
- Vitamin deficiency
- Bone marrow and stem cell issues
- Other health conditions
Sickle cell anemia is an inherited condition that, in the United States influences primarily African-Americans and Hispanic Americans. Red cell become crescent-shaped because of a hereditary defect. They break down rapidly, so oxygen does not get to the body’s organs, triggering anemia. The crescent-shaped red cell can likewise get stuck in small capillary, triggering pain.
Iron-deficiency anemia happens since of an absence of the mineral iron in the body. Bone marrow in the center of the bone needs iron to make hemoglobin, the part of the red blood cell that transfers oxygen to the body’s organs. Without adequate iron, the body can not produce adequate hemoglobin for red blood cells. The outcome is iron-deficiency anemia. This type of anemia can be triggered by:
- An iron-poor diet, specifically in babies, children, teens, vegans, and vegetarians
- The metabolic demands of pregnancy and breastfeeding that deplete a female’s iron stores
- Frequent blood contribution
- Endurance training
- Digestion conditions such as Crohn’s disease or surgical elimination of part of the stomach or small intestine
- Certain drugs, foods, and caffeinated beverages
Vitamin-deficiency anemia may take place when vitamin B12 and folate are deficient. These two vitamins are had to make red cell. Conditions causing anemia caused by vitamin deficiency consist of:
- Megaloblastic anemia: Vitamin B12 or folate or both want
- Pernicious anemia: Poor vitamin B12 absorption caused by conditions such as Crohn’s disease, a digestive tract parasite infection, surgical elimination of part of the stomach or intestine, or infection with HIV
- Malnutrition: Eating little or no meat might cause an absence of vitamin B12, while overcooking or eating too couple of vegetables may cause a folate shortage.
- Other causes of vitamin deficiency: pregnancy, certain medications, alcoholic abuse, digestive diseases such as tropical sprue and celiac disease
During early pregnancy, enough folic acid can help prevent the fetus from developing neural tube defects such as spina bifida.
Bone marrow and stem cell issues might prevent the body from producing sufficient red cell. Some of the stem cells discovered in bone marrow turn into red cell. If stem cells are too couple of, malfunctioning, or changed by other cells such as metastatic cancer cells, anemia may result. Anemia arising from bone marrow or stem cell problems consist of:
- Aplastic anemia takes place when there’s a significant decrease in the number of stem cells or absence of these cells. Aplastic anemia can be acquired, can occur without obvious cause, or can happen when the bone marrow is hurt by medications, radiation, chemotherapy, or infection.
- Thalassemia happens when the red cells can’t grow and grow correctly. Thalassemia is an acquired condition that generally impacts people of Mediterranean, African, Middle Eastern, and Southeast Asian descent. This condition can range in intensity from moderate to dangerous; the most severe type is called Cooley’s anemia.
- Lead exposure is harmful to the bone marrow, resulting in fewer red blood cells. Lead poisoning takes place in adults from work-related direct exposure and in children who eat paint chips, for instance. Incorrectly glazed pottery can also taint food and liquids with lead.
Anemia related to other conditions usually happens when there are too few hormonal agents necessary for red cell production. Conditions triggering this type of anemia include the following:
- Advanced kidney disease
- Other chronic diseases, such as cancer, infection, lupus, diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis
Anemia Caused by Destruction of Red Blood Cells
When red blood cells are delicate and can not hold up against the routine stress of the circulatory system, they might rupture too soon, causing hemolytic anemia. Hemolytic anemia can be present at birth or establish later on. In some cases there is no recognized cause. Known causes of hemolytic anemia might include:
- Acquired conditions, such as sickle cell anemia and thalassemia
- Stressors such as infections, drugs, snake or spider venom, or particular foods
- Toxins from advanced liver or kidney disease
- Improper attack by the body immune system (called hemolytic disease of the newborn when it happens in the fetus of a pregnant lady).
- Vascular grafts, prosthetic heart valves, growths, severe burns, direct exposure to certain chemicals, severe hypertension, and thickening disorders.
- In unusual cases, an enlarged spleen can trap red blood cells and destroy them before their distributing time is up.
Last modified: August 11, 2016