Anemia is a condition in which the number of red blood cells or the amount of hemoglobin (the protein that carries oxygen in them) is low.
Red blood cells contain hemoglobin, a protein that enables them to carry oxygen from the lungs and deliver it to all parts of the body. When the number of red blood cells is reduced or the amount of hemoglobin in them is low, the blood cannot carry an adequate supply of oxygen. An inadequate supply of oxygen in the tissues causes the symptoms of anemia.
Causes of Anemia
The causes of anemia are numerous, but most can be grouped within three major mechanisms that produce anemia:
- Blood loss (excessive bleeding)
- Inadequate production of red blood cells
- Excessive destruction of red blood cells
Symptoms of Anemia
Symptoms vary depending on the severity of the anemia and how rapidly it develops. Some people with mild anemia, particularly when it develops slowly, have no symptoms at all. Other people may experience symptoms only during physical exertion. More severe anemia may cause symptoms even when people are resting. Symptoms are more severe when mild or severe anemia develops rapidly, such as when bleeding that occurs when a blood vessel ruptures.
Treatments of Anemia
Treatments of anemia are dependent on the cause of the Anemia. Iron deficient anemia can be treated with iron supplements, whereas anemia of chronic kidney disease is a chronic disease and can only be maintained with treatments such as: Erythropoetin-Stimulating Agents (ESAs) and blood transfusions.