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Types of Anemia: Symptoms, Causes

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The word anaemia brings an obvious understanding of iron deficiency in the body, in common terms. There could be mild to severe anaemia and the treatment can also vary from iron supplements to some procedures. Some types of anaemia can even go with dietary changes. If you experience any symptom of anaemia, you should immediately see the doctor as it could also be the outcome of some underlying illness. You can consult a general physician online to discuss the symptoms easily and get the right suggestion.

There are different forms of anaemia we should know about to be vigilant for the symptoms and act on time to seek medical care.

Different types of anaemia and their causes

Iron deficiency anaemia:

iron deficiency anemia

When there is a shortage of iron in the body, the bone marrow fails to make an adequate amount of haemoglobin for RBCs. This is usually due to a lack of iron intake or blood loss. This condition is found common among pregnant women or others having blood loss due to menstruation, ulcer, cancer, or any kind of injury. Even regular use of over-the-counter pain relievers can cause lack of iron resulting in anaemia.

Anaemia due to Vitamin B12 deficiency:

Vitamin B12 Deficiency anemia

Apart from the iron intake, your body also needs vitamin B12 and folates to produce healthy red blood cells. A vegan or vegetarian diet usually lack in these components resulting in an iron deficiency in the long term. Another condition, where people have enough Vit. B12, but their body fails to process this vitamin leads to Pernicious anaemia. In such cases, Vitamin B12 injection or dietary changes are suggested. Some vitamin B12 rich food is sardines, Tuna, fortified yeast, or shellfish.

Anaemia due to chronic illness:

People suffering from chronic illnesses can also have low RBC count. Their body is not able to produce the right amount of RBC or even if produced, they are lost due to the underlying medical condition. Some of these diseases include Crohn’s disease, kidney disease, rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, AIDS, or any other chronic inflammatory disease.

Aplastic anaemia:

This is a rare and sudden life-threatening condition when the body is not able to manufacture the required amount of red blood cells. Not only red blood cells, but bone marrow fails to make even white blood cells and the platelets. There could be many causes behind this condition like an infection, certain medicines, cancer treatment, autoimmune disease or exposure to toxic elements. Blood transfusion and stem cell transplants are used to treat this type of anaemia.   

Sickle cell anaemia:

It is a genetic disorder in which the shape of red blood cells gets distorted into crescent shapes. The body starts destroying these cells and the bone marrow fails to replace these dying cells with new healthy RBCs. Administration of certain drugs help and the patient needs to be under continuous medical supervision. The tests are done frequently and accordingly, the treatment modalities vary. Anyone with a family history of sickle cell anaemia should get the blood tests done to rule out any risk.

Diseases associated with bone marrow:

Bone marrow is the spot where blood production takes place. Hence, the health of the bone marrow is also important to ensure that our body is getting enough blood. But certain diseases like leukaemia and myelofibrosis, affect the production of blood in the bone marrow. These cancer and cancer-like conditions could be mild to life-threatening by causing the complete shutdown of blood production.

Hemolytic anaemia:

This type of anaemia happens when the red blood cells are destroying faster than what our bone marrow can produce. Any blood disease, autoimmune disease or certain medications can result in this condition. It can be inherited from genes or can be acquired later in life. That is why a regular blood check-up is suggested to keep a check on such underlying developments which can cause serious complications.

What to do for iron deficiency?

First of all, talk to a general physician who might suggest some tests. Especially, for symptoms like pale skin, yellow eyes, shortness of breath, weakness & fatigue, weight loss, fast heartbeat, headaches, or chest pain, consulting a doctor is mandatory. The doctor might suggest a blood test to check your haemoglobin, vitamin B12 levels and other blood components to diagnose the condition appropriately. Based on the test reports, your treatment plan would be designed. It might include medicines, supplements, or procedures. In certain cases, other correlated diagnostic tests could also be performed to reach to the root cause of the underlying problem.

At home, you can start having food rich in iron like green leafy vegetables, spinach, pomegranate, beetroot, dates, and raisins. Many times, dietary changes help significantly to reduce the symptoms even without taking any medicines. If you are pregnant and experiencing anaemic symptoms, then you must Consult your doctor Online before taking anything orally.

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