The lack of healthy red blood cells or haemoglobin in the blood is a condition which is called as anaemia. Haemoglobin is actually the main constituent of the red blood cells and it binds oxygen to the blood. If there are very few numbers of red blood cells, or haemoglobin is abnormal or low, the cells in the body will not receive enough of oxygen. The result is a person feeling fatigued because organs aren’t getting what they require to function normally.
Some forms of anaemia may be hereditary and infants may be affected from it at the time of birth. Women in childbearing years are particularly prone to iron-deficiency and anaemia. Older adults also are at greater risk of developing anaemia because of their poor diet and other medical conditions.
Types of Anaemia
There are many type of anaemia and they are different in their causes and treatments too. The most common is the iron-deficiency anaemia and it is very treatable with diet changes and iron supplements. Some anaemia like the one that develops during pregnancy is considered quite normal. However certain other types of anaemia may be chronic and will be present lifelong causing serious health problems.
What causes anaemia?
Basically it is the loss of red blood cells that causes anaemia. The red blood cells can be lost through bleeding. The loss can occur slowly over a long period of time and can go undetected.
The chronic sort of bleeding can be the result of some gastrointestinal conditions such as ulcers, haemorrhoids (piles), gastritis (inflammation of the stomach) or cancer. Certain nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen can cause ulcers and gastritis. Menstruation especially with excess bleeding is also a reason for blood loss.
Due to faulty red blood cell production
The body may produce too few blood cells or blood cells may not function properly. In both cases, anaemia is the result. The reduction in red blood cells may be due to the abnormal red blood cells or lack of minerals like vitamins needed for red blood cells to work properly. Conditions associated with these causes of anaemia include sickle cell anaemia, iron-deficiency anaemia, vitamin deficiency anaemia and bone marrow & stem cell problems.
Anaemia due to other causes
This sort of anaemia occurs when there are too few hormones available that is necessary for red blood cell production. Conditions causing this type of anaemia include advanced kidney disease, hypothyroidism, and chronic diseases like cancer, lupus, diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis or simply due to old age.
Anaemia due to destruction of RBC
There are instances when blood cells due to their fragile nature find it difficult to withstand the stress of circulatory system and rupture prematurely. This causes haemolytic anaemia.
This type of anaemia can be present at birth or it may develop in the later stages of life. Some of the causes for such anaemia are diseases like hereditary diseases like sickle cell anaemia and thalassemia. Stress giving conditions like infections, drug use, snake or spider venom and certain foods are all causative. Toxins from advanced liver or kidney disease, inappropriate attack by the immune system, vascular grafts, prosthetic heart valves, tumours, shock due to severe burns, exposure to chemicals and clotting disorders are listed in the reason for anaemia due to destruction of RBC. In haemolytic disease spleen enlargement can trap red blood cells and destroy them.