What is it?

Anemia occurs when there is a decreased amount of red blood cells in our bloodstream. It is measured by the amount of hemoglobin, a protein responsible for carrying oxygen to the body’s tissues. When there aren't enough red blood cells, not enough oxygen is delivered to our cells. This may cause symptoms such as weakness, short of breath and more. Women and people suffering from chronic diseases are at higher risk of developing anemia.

CAUSES:
Anemia may be caused by numerous reasons. These can be divided into reasons that cause decreased production, increased destruction or blood loss.
Decreased production may be due to
1. Inadequate dietary intake of Iron, B12 or Folate. Iron, B12 and Folate are essential for the maturation of red blood cells. Iron deficiency is the most common type of anemia.
2. Reduced stimulation- The kidneys produce a hormone called erythropoietin which stimulates RBC production in the bone marrow. Some conditions cause reduced erythropoietin levels which results in fewer RBC production.
3. Hypothyroidism- low levels of thyroid hormones. This may also cause reduced RBC production
Increased Destruction may be due to
1. Hemolysis- rupture or RBCs. This may be caused by various reasons including some medications, hematologic disorders, genetic disorders and more.
2. Disorders of the spleen or liver
Increased blood loss- due to surgery, trauma, menstruation, childbirth and more.

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Additional names

This group contains additional names:
- Acute Posthemorrhagic Anemia
- Anemia due to Neoplastic Disease
- Sideroblastic Anemia
- Antineoplastic Chemotherapy Induced Anemia
- Anemia in Chronic Kidney Disease
- Anemia in Chronic Disease

Signs & symptoms

Symptoms range from mild to severe with relation the severity of the anemia and how fast the anemia developed. Mild anemia is often asymptomatic.
Symptoms include
-Fatigue
-Weakness
-Shortness of breath
-Dizziness
-Pale skin
-Cold hand and or feet
-Fast heart rate or palpitations
-Headaches
-Brittle nails
-tongue swelling inflammation or soreness (glossitis)
-Cravings for non-nutritive substances, such as paper, ice, dirt or starch (Pica)

Diagnosis

It is important to determine the cause in order to treat properly.
CBC (complete blood count)- All Types of anemia are firstly diagnosed by a blood test. The first test the doctor will use when anemia is suspected is a CBC. This test gives information about the different cells that circulate in your blood. It includes information about white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets.
After diagnosis, the doctor will order tests in accordance with the suspected cause.These tests may include
*Serum iron levels
*Ferritin levels
*B-12 levels
*Folate levels
*Stool test for occult blood
Based on the results, other diagnostic tests such as endoscopic tests (colonoscopy or gastroscopy) or imaging (X RAY CT or others) may be required.

Treatment

Treatment is determined by the cause. Different causes require different management. Regardless of the cause, if the anemia is very severe, it may initially be treated with blood transfusions.

☝️ This is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision.

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