Anemia


General or Other | Hematology | Anemia (Disease)


Description

Anemia is a medical condition in which the red blood cell count or hemoglobin is less than normal. While many parts of the body help make red blood cells, most of the work is done in the bone marrow. Healthy red blood cells last between 90 and 120 days. Parts of your body then remove old blood cells.

Most commonly, people with anemia report non-specific symptoms of a feeling of weakness, or fatigue, general malaise and sometimes poor concentration. They may also report dyspnea, constipation, tingling and thinking problem.

Causes and Risk factors

Anemia is caused by either: a decrease in production of red blood cells or hemoglobin, or an increase in loss or destruction of red blood cells. Possible causes of anemia include: certain medications, chronic diseases such as cancer, ulcerative colitis, or rheumatoid arthritis; genetics (some forms of anemia, such as thalassemia, can be inherited); kidney failure; blood loss; poor diet; pregnancy; problems with bone marrow such as lymphoma, leukemia, or multiple myeloma; problems with the immune system that cause the destruction of blood cells like hemolytic anemia; surgery to the stomach or intestines that reduces the absorption of iron, vitamin B12, or folic acid; too little thyroid hormone (underactive thyroid, or hypothyroidism); testosterone deficiency.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Blood tests used to diagnose some common types of anemia may include: blood levels of vitamin B12, folic acid, and other vitamins and minerals; red blood count and hemoglobin level; reticulocyte count; ferritin level; iron level.

Medical treatment is generally needed to increase the amount of oxygen that your blood can carry, and sometimes to raise your vitamin or iron level. It could be needed to change your diet or take vitamin or iron supplements (vitamin B12, folic acid). Vitamin C is sometimes used to help the body absorb iron....