Anemia is a condition of not having enough healthy erythrocytes (red blood cells) to deliver oxygen throughout the body tissues. As this disorder often goes undiagnosed, the exact number of people who have anemia is difficult to determine. However, according to Health & Wellness the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) estimates that about 3 million Americans have anemia; and some other resources estimate 4% of men and 8% of women have mild anemia. The prevalence of anemia is greater in women than men of age seventy-five or less than seventy-five.
Hemoglobin is a protein in red blood cells that features a heme half containing iron. Every heme combines with four oxygen molecules within the lungs for transport and unleash of oxygen to the remainder of the body cells. The decrease within the variety of red blood cells (RBC) within the blood means that a decrease in hemoglobin and thereby a decrease in iron levels. The deficiency of iron impairs the oxygen transportation to the body cells, leading to an unhealthy body.
Anemia develops when there are not enough red blood cells. This could happen if: the body is not making enough red blood cells. Also, bleeding causes loss of blood cells and destruction of red blood cells. Red blood cells are produced regularly from Iron, vitamin B-12, folate, and some other nutrients from food.
There are more than 400 types of anemia identified and most of them are rarely seen. The common types of anemia include iron deficiency anemia, caused by shortage of iron in the body and; vitamin deficiency anemia, caused by inadequate folate and vitamin B-12 in the body. Anemia of chronic disease, caused by HIV/AIDS, cancer, or arthritis can interfere the red blood cell production. Additionally, plastic anemia is caused by the decreased ability of bone marrow to produce red blood cells. Lastly, sickle cell anemia occurs when defective hemoglobin results from sickle shape red blood cells.
Risk factors for anemia include genetics, environment, and lifestyle. In other words, anemia may be stimulated by malnutrition, family history of anemia, alcoholism, strict vegan diet, intestinal disorders that affect nutrient absorption of the body, exposure to toxic chemicals, anemia in women during childbearing years, race, and chronic diseases.
Signs and Symptoms
Fatigue and weakness are the signs of mild anemia. The other signs include pasty or sallow complexion or no color in the palms, gums, nails beds, and lining of eyelids. People who are weak, get tired easily are often out of breath, and feels dizzy are severely anemic (Laberge, Frey, Longe).Angina pectoris, pica, headache, difficulty in concentrating, irregular heartbeat, heavy breathing, sweating, and thirst are some of the symptoms of anemia.
Mild to moderate anemia has or may have mild symptoms or none to be noticed. The signs and symptoms appear because the heart works harder to pump oxygen rich blood all over the body.