Anemia as known in American English or anaemia as known in Commonwealth English literally means without blood. It is the lack of red blood cells or hemoglobin. This condition results in a reduced ability of blood to transfer oxygen to the tissues. It is a condition often caused by a lack of iron in the diet, making the blood weak in its capability to transfer oxygen across the body.
Anemia is due the iron deficiency. A decrease in the number of red blood cells or the total level of haemoglobin (see below). This makes it harder for the blood to get oxygen to the rest of the body, causing symptoms such as weakness, tiredness or shortness of breath. Anaemia in myeloma can be caused by the myeloma cells in the bone marrow interfering with red blood cell production, or as a side effect of chemotherapy. Other causes are malaria, hookworm, HIV and other infections.
Anemias are marked by abnormally low numbers of RBC (red blood cell), a deficiency of hemoglobin, or a low volume of packed RBCs per 100 ml of blood, stemming form an imbalance between blood production and loss through injury or bleeding.
Different Forms or Types of Anemia
Cause of Anemia
The most common cause of anemia in premenstrual women is menstrual blood loss, leading to iron deficiency. The most common cause of anemia in postmenopausal women, and all men is blood loss through the gastrointestinal tract, leading to iron deficiency.
When iron deficiency is seen in postmenopausal women and men, a thorough gastrointestinal workup should be done to rule out malignancy.
What Are The Symptoms and Signs Of Anemia?
Symptoms of anemia include:
- Heart palpitations (rapid or irregular beating)
- Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
- Difficulty sleeping
- Difficulty concentrating
Treatment of Anemia
The treatment depends on the type of anemia you have. Your doctor will check your blood count periodically to monitor the effect of your treatment.
In some cases, blood transfusions and the medication erythropoeitin will correct anemia.
Treatment for anemia associated with serious diseases tends to focus first on addressing the underlying disease. But if anemia persists or symptoms worsen, treatment may reduce the risk of severe, possibly life-threatening complications and improve quality of life.
Find more Iron Deficiency and Overload Disorders