Anemia is the result of a low number of red blood cells and inadequate hemoglobin. Lack of either of these two leads to the insufficient flow of oxygen to the organs in the body. This results in fatigue, dizziness, shortness of breath, and headache. This blood condition accounts for 6% of the total population, commonly including old people with chronic conditions or long-term illnesses, young children, and women (blood loss from periods and pregnancy). Certain types of anemia are passed down through genes.
Find out the varied types and causes of anemia below.
Iron deficiency anemia
In this most common type of anemia, the blood lacks the adequate amount of iron needed by the body. This further reduces the production of hemoglobin that carries oxygen to all tissues in the body. The causes of this condition include a low iron diet, conditions that affect the ability to absorb iron, blood loss, frequent blood donations, kidney failure, medication, and health conditions that cause inflammation.
The body does not produce sufficient blood cells, causing a deficiency in all blood cell types- red and white blood cells and platelets in this rare type of anemia. This disease is caused due to damaged stem cells in the bone marrow, which commonly occurs when the immune system attacks the stem cells. There are other factors that affect the bone marrow including, chemotherapy and radiation, exposure to toxins like pesticides, arsenic and benzene, pregnancy, and more.
Sickle cell anemia
Inherited by hemoglobin genes, one from each parent, this condition of blood disorder is caused by a gene mutation that indicates the body to produce hemoglobin. The mutation, however, causes the formation of a defective form of hemoglobin called hemoglobin S, which propagates red blood cells to turn into a stiff and sticky, crescent-like shape. This leads to blocking blood flow in the limbs and organs, adding to the risk of infection, pain and a reduction in red blood cells, owing to the short life span of sickle cells.
This is another inherited blood disorder that is passed from parents to children, and that causes less production of hemoglobin due to the mutations in the DNA cells. Made of alpha and beta chains, molecules of hemoglobin can be affected in mutations, causing alpha-thalassemia or beta-thalassemia.
Vitamin deficiency anemia
While the name is self-explanatory, the vitamins associated with this deficiency are vitamin b-12, vitamin C, and folate. This anemia can occur when your diet lacks these specific vitamins, or your body has trouble processing or absorbing them. While altering your diet could make a substantial difference, it’s imperative to look for causes beyond a dietary fix. Your body may find it difficult to absorb most of these nutrients if you have celiac disease, intestinal surgery, excessive alcohol consumption, and anti-seizure medications. Other causes include bacterial growth in the small intestine, tapeworm ingestion, and chronic kidney disease.