Causes of Anemia that You Need to Recognize (With Treatment included)

Anemia is a condition when the blood does not have healthy red blood cells or enough hemoglobin. Red blood cells function to carry oxygen to all body tissues, so the low number of red blood cells indicates the amount of oxygen in the blood is lower than normal. Symptoms of anemia usually feel dizzy, tired and weak.

Stimulation of inadequate production of red blood cells by hormones erythropoietin, which is produced by the kidneys.

  • Inadequate intake of iron, vitamin B-12, or folate
  • Hypothyroidism

2. Factors that Increase Damage to Red Blood Cells

Disorders that destroy red blood cells at a faster rate than red blood cell production can cause anemia. This condition often occurs due to bleeding, which is caused by the following:

  • Endometriosis
  • Accident
  • Gastrointestinal lesions
  • Labor
  • Excessive uterine bleeding
  • Operation
  • cirrhosis, which involves scarring of the liver
  • Fibrosis (scar tissue) in the bone marrow
  • Hemolysis, rupture of red blood cells that can occur with some drugs or Rh incompatibility
  • Liver and spleen disorders
  • Genetic disorders such as: Deficiency glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD), thalassemia, and sickle cell anemia

Overall the above causes, iron deficiency are the most common causes of anemia.

Risk Factors for Anemia

Some risk factors that can cause you to develop anemia are:

1. Menstruation

Women of childbearing age (while still menstruating) are very susceptible to iron deficiency anemia due to blood loss from menstruation and increased blood supply demands during pregnancy. Menstruation that is too heavy for days is also a factor in anemia.

2. Elderly

Older people may also have a greater risk of developing anemia due to poor diet and other medical conditions. So, the second cause of anemia is age.

3. Heredity

This particular form of anemia is a hereditary disease and the baby may be affected after birth. The cause of anemia this one is because anemia arises genetically or hereditary.

4. Pregnancy

In some cases, anemia that occurs during pregnancy can be considered normal. However, some types of anemia can cause health problems that affect a lifetime.

5. Chronic Conditions

If you have cancer, kidney failure, diabetes or other chronic conditions, you may be at risk of anemia from chronic diseases. This condition can be a cause of anemia causing red blood cell deficiency.

Type of Anemia

When the body produces too little blood cells or cells do not function properly, the red blood cells will be damaged due to abnormal cell development, lack of minerals and vitamins. Conditions associated with anemia include:

1. Sickle Cell Anemia

Is a congenital abnormality that often occurs. Red blood cells become crescent because of genetic defects. Red blood cells divide rapidly, so that oxygen does not reach the organs of the body which ultimately causes anemia.

The crescent-shaped red blood cells can also be trapped in small blood vessels, causing blockages, and end in severe pain in organs that are not drained of blood.

2. Iron Deficiency Anemia

Iron deficiency anemia occurs due to lack of mineral iron in the body. Bone marrow needs iron to make hemoglobin, the part of red blood cells that carries oxygen to the organs of the body.

Without enough iron, the body cannot produce enough hemoglobin for red blood cells. The result is iron deficiency anemia.

3. Anemia in Pregnant Women

If you are pregnant, your body is at risk of increasing the risk of iron deficiency, because you have to help increase blood volume and be a source of hemoglobin for your baby to grow.

4. Vitamin Deficiency Anemia

Is a deficiency of healthy red blood cells caused when the body has certain amounts of vitamins that are lower than normal. Vitamins that are associated with vitamin deficiency anemia, including; folate, vitamin B-12 and vitamin C.

5. Thalassemia

Is a congenital blood disorder characterized by a lack of hemoglobin and fewer red blood cells in the body than usual.

Hemoglobin is a substance in red blood cells that allows it to carry oxygen. Low hemoglobin and thalassemia deficiency can cause anemia, make you feel tired.

6. Aplastic Anemia

Anemia due to bone marrow disease. Some diseases such as leukemia or myelofibrosis can interfere with the production of red blood cells in the bone marrow and cause anemia. Symptoms of anemia of this type vary, from mild to dangerous.

7. Hemolytic Anemia

Hemolytic anemia occurs when red blood cells are destroyed by the body faster than the production time. Some diseases can interfere with the process and speed of destruction of red blood cells. Hemolytic anemia can be genetically inherited or can also be obtained after birth.

8. Pernicious Anemia

A problem in the stomach or intestine that causes poor absorption of vitamin B12. This condition can cause anemia due to vitamin B12 deficiency known as pernicious anemia.

9. Inflammatory Anemia

Certain diseases such as cancer, HIV/AIDS, rheumatoid arthritis, kidney disease, Crohn’s disease and other acute or chronic inflammatory diseases can inhibit the production of red blood cells, which can cause anemia.

Symptoms of Anemia

Anemia is when the body does not get enough oxygen-rich blood. Signs and symptoms of anemia depend on the cause, following the characteristics of anemia that are easily recognized:

  • Feeling tired
  • Feeling weak
  • Dizziness or headache
  • Chest pain
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Hard to breathe
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Pale or yellowish skin

Anemia can be so mild that a person doesn’t even realize that he has a blood deficiency. But the signs or characteristics of anemia worsen when anemia worsens.

Anemia diagnosis

To find out if you have Anemia, the diagnosis of anemia starts with your medical history and family medical history, along with a physical examination.

Normal adult hematocrit values ​​vary medically, but usually between 40% and 52% in men and 35% and 47% for women. The following normal hemoglobin values:

  • Children aged 0.5 to 4 years: 11 grams per deciliter or more
  • Children aged 5-12 years: 11.5 grams per deciliter
  • Adult men: 13.5 to 17.5 grams per deciliter
  • Adult women: 12.0 to 15.5 grams per deciliter
  • Pregnant women: 11.0 grams per deciliter or more

Laboratory tests are generally used to help doctors find out the cause of anemia. Tests for diagnosing anemia include:

  • Complete blood count (CBC). CBC blood tests show the number and size of red blood cells.
  • Serum iron levels. This blood test is to find out whether iron deficiency is a cause of anemia.
  • Ferritin test. This blood test analyzes the iron reserves in the body.
  • Vitamin B-12 test. This blood test is to determine the levels of vitamin B-12 and help doctors determine whether the sufferer has severe blood loss.
  • Folic acid test. This blood test reveals if the serum folate level is low.
  • Stool test. This test is to see if there is blood in the stool. If the test is positive, this condition indicates that blood is lost in the digestive tract, from the mouth to the rectum.

How to Overcome Anemia

By knowing the right way to handle the disease, many types of mild anemia can be overcome. However, this disease can be so severe that it lasts a long time when caused by inherited, chronic or traumatic diseases.

Determination of anemia treatment is taken based on the underlying cause of anemia. When the hemoglobin level is <7 grams/dl, the doctor will recommend a transfusion. Because the cause of lack of blood is iron deficiency, it is advisable to eat foods that contain lots of iron as a way to overcome anemia.

Keep in mind, some types of anemia can not be avoided, anemia will still be caused by a lack of vitamins and iron can be prevented by regulating diet. Some foods that can be used as a way to prevent anemia, including:

  • Foods that are rich in vitamin C, such as oranges, melons, broccoli, strawberries, and tomatoes. These foods can help the absorption of iron.
  • Foods that are rich in vitamin B12, such as meat, cheese, cereals, tofu, tempeh and milk.
  • Foods rich in iron, such as beef, beans, iron-fortified cereals, dark green leafy vegetables, and dried fruit.
  • Foods that are rich in folic acid, such as dark green leafy vegetables, fruits, green beans, kidney beans, peanuts, rice, cereals, pasta, and wheat.

In addition to consuming some of the foods above, how to deal with anemia can also be done by taking a multivitamin. If you have a family history of congenital anemia such as sickle cell anemia or thalassemia, you should consult a doctor first.

If anemia is severe and very disturbing in daily life, it is better to get specific anemia treatment in the hospital so that the cause can be known with certainty, given the causes of anemia are very many and difficult to detect by ordinary people.

Source:

  1. Anonymous. 2018. Global anemia prevalence and number of affected individuals
  2. Nabili, Siamak N. No Year. Anemia
  3. Wu, Brian and Verneda L. 2018. What You Need to Know About Anemia. 
  4. Lam, Peter. 2017. Everything you need to know about anemia

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