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Anemia: Symptoms, Types, Causes and Dagnostics

anemia

diseases conditions and symptoms

Anemia is a condition in which the body does not have enough healthy red blood cells or hemoglobin. Red blood cells provide oxygen to our body tissues and are vital to our existence.

What is anemia

Anemia is a deficiency in the number or quality of red blood cells in the body. They carry oxygen into the body using a certain protein called hemoglobin. Anemia means that either the level of red blood cells, or the level of hemoglobin is lower than normal. 

When a person has anemia, his heart needs to work harder than usual to pump the necessary amount of blood and thus provide enough oxygen in the body.

During increased physical activity or exercise, cells may not be able to carry enough oxygen to satisfy the needs of the body, and a person may get exhausted and feel unwell. Even breathlessness and rapid heartbeat when climbing stairs can be signals of probable anemia. [ [ref. 1] 

Symptoms of anemia

Depending on the severity, symptoms of anaemia may include  [ref. 2] 

  • Pale skin
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Easy tiredness
  • Breathlessness
  • Drop in blood pressure when standing up from a sitting or lying position (orthostatic hypotension) – this can also happen after acute blood loss
  • Common headaches
  • Rapid heart beat or palpitations
  • Irritability
  • Concentration difficulties
  • Loss of appetite

Types of anemia

Different types of anaemia include: [ref. 3] 

  • Anemia due to vitamin B12 deficiency
  • Anemia due to folate deficiency (folic acid)
  • Anemia due to iron deficiency
  • Anemia in chronic disease
  • Hemolytic anemia
  • Idiopathic aplastic anemia
  • Megaloblastic anemia
  • Malignant anemia
  • Sickle cell anemia
  • Thalassemia
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Causes of development of anemia

Anemia can develop for many reasons, including:

  • Nutritional deficiency – lack of iron, vitamin B12 or folic acid
  • Malabsorption – when the body is unable to properly absorb or use the nutrients in the diet caused by conditions such as celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn's disease, gluten intolerance and others
  • Hereditary diseases – such as thalassaemia or sickle cell anemia
  • Autoimmune diseases such as autoimmune hemolytic anemia, in which immune cells attack red blood cells and reduce their life expectancy
  • Diseases of the kidneys
  • Chronic diseases such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and tuberculosis
  • Hormonal disorders such as hypothyroidism
  • Bone marrow disorders
  • Blood loss – due to trauma, surgery, peptic ulcer, severe menstruation, cancer (in particular bowel cancer) or frequent blood donation
  • Medicines and medications – including alcohol, antibiotics, anti-inflammatory drugs or anticoagulants
  • Mechanical destruction – mechanical heart valves can damage red blood cells, reducing their life expectancy
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Treatment of different types of anemia

After diagnosing and determining the type of anemia by blood tests, examination, gastroscopy or colonoscopy, urine tests and others, the appropriate treatment is switched. It aims to increase the number of red blood cells of a person, which increases the amount of oxygen in the blood.

So, according to the type of anemia a person has, treatment can include:

  1. What is anemia
  2. Symptoms of anemia
  3. Types of anemia
  4. Causes of development of anemia
  5. Treatment of different types of anemia

Summary

For example, if anemia is caused by dietary deficiencies, correcting the cause and using appropriate supplements for several weeks or months will resolve the condition. Relapses may occur, so changes in diet and longer intake of supplements may be necessary.

In other cases, anemia can be permanent and lifelong treatment is necessary. Specialist hematologist will give the most complete and up-to-date information about this type of health problems.



References

  1. Henry's Clinical Diagnosis and Management by Laboratory Methods - 24th EditionSearchSupportView Cart
  2. Just a moment...
  3. Iron deficiency anaemia: pathophysiology, assessment, practical management

The author

 

Bettina Tsvetkova is a Bachelor of Marketing and Master of Entrepreneurship, a fan of healthy eating, power sports and cycling. Author of over 1500 scientifically based articles, product texts and promotional materials on a healthy topic for Bulgarian and foreign websites. 



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