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Causes of Anemia

Delve into the world of anemia as we explore its causes, symptoms, and potential treatments in this comprehensive article.

  • 06 Oct 2023
  • 3 min read
  • 314 views

Anemia is a common medical condition affecting millions of people worldwide, and it can have many underlying causes. Anemia results from an insufficient supply of healthy red blood cells which are the cells responsible for transporting oxygen to the body's tissues. People may suffer from mild cases of anemia with few symptoms or more severe cases leading to debilitating fatigue and other serious health problems. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the most common causes of anemia in order to better understand what can lead to the development of this disorder.

 

How is Anemia Caused?

There are different types of anemia, which are discussed below:

1. Iron deficiency anemia: The following are some of the causes of iron deficiency anemia, which is one of the most common forms of anemia:

  • Pregnancy is one of the common causes of anemia.
  • Blood loss stemming from heavy menstrual bleeding, ulcers, cancers, or the regular consumption of pain relievers.

 

2. Vitamin deficiency anemia: Beyond iron, the body relies on folate and vitamin B-12 for the production of healthy red blood cells. An insufficiency in these nutrients, along with other essential components, results in the insufficient production of red blood cells. This causes vitamin deficiency anemia. The following are some of the vitamin deficiency anemia causes. Some individuals face challenges in absorbing vitamin B-12, a condition that can lead to vitamin deficiency anemia, often referred to as pernicious anemia.

 

3. Aplastic anemia:

Persistent inflammation stemming from diseases like cancer, HIV/AIDS, rheumatoid arthritis, kidney disease, and Crohn's disease can hamper the body's ability to generate an adequate number of red blood cells. This causes the condition called aplastic anemia. This rare and life-threatening form of anemia occurs when the body is unable to create an adequate quantity of new blood cells. Its causes encompass infections, specific medications, autoimmune disorders, and exposure to toxic chemicals.

 

4. Sickle Cell Anemia: This is an inherited and potentially serious condition. Sickle cell anemia results from an unusual hemoglobin variant that forces red blood cells into a crescent or "sickle" shape. These irregular cells have a shortened lifespan, leading to a persistent shortage of red blood cells.

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Risk factors that heighten the likelihood of developing anemia include:

  • Inadequate intake of essential vitamins and minerals, including iron, vitamin B-12, and folate, increases the risk of anemia.
  • Conditions that interfere with nutrient absorption in the small intestine, such as Crohn's disease and celiac disease, elevate the risk of anemia.
  • Heavy and frequent menstrual periods can result in the loss of red blood cells, increasing the risk of anemia in individuals who experience them.
  • Pregnant individuals who do not supplement their diet with folic acid and iron through a multivitamin are at an elevated risk of anemia.
  • Conditions like cancer, kidney failure, diabetes, or other chronic illnesses are associated with a specific type of anemia called anemia of chronic disease, where there is a scarcity of red blood cells.
  • Prolonged and gradual blood loss from sources like ulcers or other internal issues can deplete the body's iron stores, leading to iron deficiency anemia.
  • A history of certain infections, blood diseases, and autoimmune conditions heightens the risk of anemia.
  • You might also be wondering “can stress cause anemia?”. Studies have shown that prolonged stress may cause low levels of iron, folate and other vitamins, causing anemia.
  • Excessive alcohol consumption, exposure to toxic substances, and the use of specific medications can disrupt red blood cell production, contributing to anemia.
  • Individuals aged 65 and older face an increased risk of anemia.

 

Conclusion

In summary, anemia, marked by low red blood cell count or hemoglobin levels, often leads to fatigue and weakness due to inadequate oxygen supply to body tissues. Multiple risk factors, including nutrient deficiencies, medical conditions, blood loss, and genetic predispositions, contribute to anemia. Awareness of these risks and causes is vital for effective management. Also, ensure that you have a health insurance plan in place to safeguard yourself against any financial stress. 


Disclaimer: The above blog aims to provide general information about health and related topics. Any information provided in this blog, website or in any linked materials is not intended and should not be considered, or used as a substitute for any medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It is important that you contact your Doctor before starting a new medicine or health regime.

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