Anemia is a medical condition which rises in human body due to the deficiency of hemoglobin in the blood and is commonly known as poor man disease. Irrespective of its anemia can cause to any human being from any class of society. There are several types of anemia which can be caused due to various reasons. But what’s important is that it should be taken seriously. The treatment of anemia is done on the basis of its factor. In medical terms anemia is not a disease but a deficiency which leads to other disorder in the body.  There are over 400 types of anemia however most of them are rare. Below are some of the common forms of anemia:

Forms of Anemia

Pernicious Anemia– Pernicious anemia causes due to the lack of Vitamin B12 in the human body. This type of anemia is quite common in age group of 50-60 years. Pernicious anemia is mostly caused due to hereditary factor but in some cases autoimmune disorders also cause Pernicious Anemia.  The symptoms of Pernicious anemia are Dyspnea, fatigue, heat palpitations and numbness or tingling sensation in the body.

Aplastic anemia- Aplastic anemiais generally caused due to the reduction in quantity of red blood cells in human blood. The major cause of Aplasitc anemia is heavy blood loss due to injury or heavy menstruation, exposure to toxins or hepatitis. The reduction in red blood cells make a human body exposed to various infections as less RBC results in decreased fighting ability of the body. The symptoms of aplastic anemia includes pale skin, increased heartbeat, multiple infections, heart failure, heavy bleeding and lethargy.

Sickle cell anemia– Sickle cell anemia is caused in a human body which is suffering from a lifelong disease. In Sickle cell anemia the red blood cells are formed in the form of sickle by human body, these red blood cells are tend to form clumps which get stuck in the blood vessels causing serious organ damage, pain and multiple infections. High fever, rapid heartbeat, fatigue, jaundice, pale skin and severe pain in the body are some of the symptoms of Sickle cell anemia.

Thalassemia – Thalassemia is a genetically inherited disorder which leads to heavy damages to red blood cells. The levels of Thalassemia totally depend upon how much haemoglobin is produced by blood cells during this time. The symptoms of Thalassemia are swelling in liver and spleen, chest pain, dizziness, dark colored urine.

Iron deficiency anemia – Iron deficiency anemia, as the name suggests, is caused due to the deficiency of iron in human body. Iron plays an important role in the production of red blood cells in human body. Any reduction in the quantity of iron in human body can affect the production of red blood cells which causes Iron deficiency anemia.  The deficiency of iron can be due to heavy blood loss, poor diet, chronic illness and gastrointestinal infections. The body suffering from Iron deficiency anemia shows symptoms such as frequent headaches, irritability, brittle hairs and nails, increased heartbeat.

Classification of Anemia

 

Anemia is broadly classified as:

 

Microcytic Anemia– Microcytic Anemia is a term used to characterize a type of anemia which is caused when the size of the red blood cells (RBC) is smaller than the usual. In Microcytic Anemia these red blood cells are even paler than usual RBCs as they cannot perform hemoglobin synthesis. Now Microcytic Anemia is a broad classification and some types of Anemia like Iron deficiency anemia, sideroblastic anemia, and anemia caused due to chronic disease, lead poisoning, pyridoxine deficiency all fall under this category.

 

Macrocytic Anemia- Macrocytic Anemia is again not a disease but a condition in where the red blood cells or RBCs are larger than their usual volume. In Macrocytic Anemia condition the larger red blood cells so the collective number of the cells decreases and also each cell contains insufficient amount of hemoglobin. Macrocytic Anemia can be further classified in two main parts which are known as megaloblastic anemia and non megaloblastic anemia. Megaloblastic anemia is caused due to the lack of vitamin b12 or folic acid in human body. Pernicious anemia can be characterized under Macrocytic Anemia as pernicious anemia is caused because of poor capability of human body to absorb vitamin b12.

 

Normocytic Anemia- Normocytic Anemia is caused when size of red blood cell remains normal but the overall level of hemoglobin is increased.  Some types of Anemia caused as a result of chronic disease, hemolytic anemia and aplastic anemia all can be categorized as Normocytic Anemia. Normocytic Anemia can also be caused when a person suffers from acute blood loss.

 

Dimorphic – Dimorphic is a condition when a human body suffers from two or more causes of anemia simultaneously.

Generally, Anemia is described as a condition where a person does not have appropriate number of red blood cells (RBCs) in the blood. In other words a person with low blood count is considered by physicians as anemic. According to doctors there are three types of anemia arising from the RBC count. This classification is done depending upon the size of the RBCs that are microcytic, normocytic and macrocytic anemia.

  • Microcytic Anemia: This condition is when the RBCs are less than normal. The main reasons of microcytic anemia are iron deficiency or inappropriate level of iron in the body. Sometimes a person suffers from Microcytic Anemia when he has Thalassemia, it is an inherited disorder of hemoglobin.
  • Normocytic Anemia: In this the RBCs are normal in size but are less in number. It is mostly accompanied with chronic diseases or this type of anemia connected with the kidney disease.
  • Macrocytic: Here the RBCs are bigger than normal the main cause of this is anemia is alcoholism.

Another thing that should be mentioned here is that in medical terms Anemia is a manifestation of a disease rather than a disease itself. The doctors generally determine the reason on the basis of the duration a person has been suffering from Anemia. It helps in determining the gravity or severity of the case and subsequent treatment as well.

In chronic cases, symptoms usually start gradually and moves forward slowly but in acute cases symptoms are normally sudden and even very more painful. In developed countries like the United States, 2% to 10% of total population is anemic. In developing countries like India this rate is even higher especially in young women and adolescent girls due to excessive menstrual bleeding and lack of adequate nutrition.

As anemia is a condition arising from the count of RBCs lets understand that these blood cells main function is to supply oxygen from the lungs to other organs of the body.

These RBCs are made within the bone marrow and many factors are involved in their production. For example,

  • Iron is a very important component of the hemoglobin molecule
  • Erythropoietin, a molecule secreted by the kidneys, promotes the formation of red blood cells in the bone marrow.

To have exact number of RBCs and prevention of anemia requires synergy between the kidneys, the bone marrow, and nutrients within the body. If they are not functioning properly and getting proper nutrition then it would be difficult to maintain adequate red blood cell count and proper functioning may be difficult to maintain.

Anemia can cause different kind of complications like:

  • Blood loss
  • Inadequate production of RBC’s
  • Nutritional problems
  • Fatigue
  • Organ Dysfunction
  • Heart Failure

Finally let’s discuss the treatments for anemia. Some of the most important treatments of anemia are:

  • Blood transfusions
  • Blood and marrow stem cell transplants
  • Oral iron transplants
  • Iron replacement therapy