A condition identified by a deficiency of red blood cells is known as anemia. Red blood cells are responsible for carrying oxygen to tissues in the body. The reduced count of red blood cells in the body means that the level of oxygen required is lower than it needs to be. The condition affects over 1.6 billion people worldwide. Therefore, it is essential to know the causes of anemia and its symptoms and types.
Causes of anemia
Various vitamins and nutrients, such as vitamin B-12, iron, and folate, are required by the body to let red blood cells grow. Under normal circumstances, around 0.8% to 1% of the red blood cells in the body get replaced each day. Usually, red blood cells live for anywhere between 100 and 120 days. However, when this cycle of production and destruction of red blood cells gets disrupted due to any negative effect, it can lead to anemia.
The causes of anemia can be categorized into two factors:
- Factors that increase the destruction of red blood cells
- Factors that decrease the production of red blood cells
Factors that decrease the production of red blood cells
Various factors reduce the production of red blood cells in the body, leading to anemia. These factors include the following:
- Insufficient development of red blood cells by erythropoietin, which is a hormone secreted by kidneys.
- An inadequate supply of iron, folate, or vitamin B-12 through diet.
Factors that accelerate the destruction of red blood cells
In addition to factors that can decrease the production of red blood cells, several factors can lead to the increase of red blood cells and cause anemia. The premature destruction of red blood cells takes place because of hemorrhaging, which is caused due to many reasons. These include the following:
- Abnormal uterine bleeding
- Conditions affecting the spleen and the liver
- Disorders, such as thalassemia and sickle cell anemia, which are caused due to gene mutation
There are notable causes of anemia. However, the most commonly found cause is a deficiency of dietary iron in the body. This has made anemia a common nutritional disorder around the world.
Symptoms of anemia
Sometimes, the signs and symptoms of anemia can be extremely mild, and the person might not be able to notice them. However, if the condition worsens, it can cause the following symptoms:
- Pain in the joints, bones, and belly
- Pale or yellow skin
Be wary of these and seek a doctor’s help when you notice these symptoms.
Types of anemia
Based on what causes the condition, there are over 400 types of anemia. But the most common ones include:
- Anemia caused by a deficiency of vitamin
- Aplastic anemia
- Sickle cell anemia
- Anemia caused due to a deficiency of iron