Anemia is a condition in which patients lack adequate healthy red blood cells in order to transport essential oxygen to the bodily tissues. There are many types of anemia, each with their own cause, but having any type of anemia can make you feel tired and weak. Anemia can be temporary or long term, and it can range from mild to severe. In this article we’ll outline the main types of anemia, the causes of each type, and the symptoms and risk factors that can lead to anemia development:
1. Iron deficiency anemia
- Causes: Deficiency in iron due to lack of iron in the food and the inability of the body to absorb iron well are primary causes of iron deficiency anemia, which is one of the main types of anemia. Loss of blood during menstruation and other conditions can lead to this condition.
- Symptoms: Fatigue, weakness and exhaustion, increased heart beat causing pain in the chest, feeling dizzy, appetite problem, weak nails, craving to eat ice or dirt, and nails that are brittle. Failure to treat this condition can lead to complications like heart problems and problems during childbirth and after.
- Risk factors: Women are more at risk because of blood loss during menstruation. Vegetarians who don’t get sufficient iron from their food are at risk, as are children who are born underweight.
2. Aplastic anemia
- Causes: Damage to stem cells in the bone marrow, autoimmune disorders where healthy cells are attacked, contact with toxic chemicals, certain viral infections, and certain medications are the cause of this anemia.
- Symptoms: Shortness of breath, fatigue, skin rash, headache, dizzy feeling, frequent infections, and difficulty to stop bleeding that happens regularly.
- Risk factors: Those undergoing chemo/radiation therapy, exposure to toxic substances, and medication like chloramphenicol are at high risk.
3. Sickle cell anemia
- Causes: Due to a hereditary gene mutation.
- Symptoms: Random pains in different parts, swelling, fever, pale skin, weakness or numbness in the face, arms, or legs. Complications of this disorder include stroke, blindness, and damage to any body organ due to lack of oxygen supply.
- Risk factors: Both parents having sickle cell anemia.
- Causes: Mutations in cell DNA that produce hemoglobin. It is mostly inherited.
- Symptoms: Fatigue, growth problems in kids, swelling in the abdominal region, pale skin, dark urine, and deformities in the bones of the face. Increase in spleen size, deformities in the bones, and heart problems are complications that can arise from thalassemia.
- Risk factors
Family history of thalassemia.
5. Vitamin deficiency anemia
- Causes: Deficiency in vitamin B-9 (folate), vitamin B-12, or vitamin C. This can be because of dietary deficiency or inability of the body to absorb vitamins, or diseases like kidney disease, and cancer.
- Symptoms: Fatigue, dizziness, shortness of breath, pale skin, mental confusion, unexplained weight loss, weakness in the muscles, tingling sensation in the hands and feet, and unsteadiness while moving. Birth defects in children are a complication if a pregnant woman’s condition is untreated.
- Risk factors: Improper diet that lacks vitamins, pregnant women not taking folate or multivitamins, intestinal problems leading to difficulties in absorption, excess alcohol consumption, and certain medication that block absorption of vitamins.