Diseases list > Anemia

Symptoms of Anemia

Anemia is a medical condition wherein the person lacks the normal quantity of red blood cells and hemoglobin in the blood. It is perhaps the most common disorder related to the blood. There are several types of Anemia, each of which has different causes.

The three major types of Anemia are as follows:

  • Hemorrhage or excessive blood loss- It can be blood loss from an injury, surgery or an internal problem. Intestinal bleeding and heavy menstrual periods in women can also cause Anemia.
  • Hemolysis or deficient red blood cell production
  • Hematopoiesis or deficient red blood cell production

There are several ways to classify Anemia. It can be classified based on the morphology of red blood cells, through underlying etiological mechanisms or through discernible clinical spectra. These are just a few ways to classify Anemia; there are a variety of other ways. Three of the most common causes of Anemia are: excessive destruction of red blood cells, blood loss and inadequate reproduction of red blood cells. Anemia can be caused by a number of different things. It can also be a result of vitamin deficiency and other hereditary disorders. Some types of Anemia are caused by the destruction of red blood cells, such as:

  • Hemolytic Anemia- this happens when the destruction of red blood cells happens prematurely. The bone marrow cannot keep up with the body’s demand for new cells. This type of Anemia can be caused by infections and some medications.
  • Autoimmune haemolytic Anemia- this happens when the immune system begins to destroy red blood cells.

Other classifications of Anemia are based on the MCV or the volume of red blood cells. When the MCV is less than 80, that type of Anemia is called Microcytic Anemia or low cell volume; if the MCV is within 80 to 100, it is called Nomocytic Anemia or normal cell volume; and if the MCV is high, it is called Macrocytic Anemia or large cell volume.

Anemia is detected by undergoing a CBC or a complete blood cell count. Sometimes CBC tests may be part of a general check up. There are six parts in a CBC test: RBC count, Hematocrit, Hemoglobin, white blood cell count, differential blood count, and the platelet count; although only the first three are relevant to the diagnosis of Anemia.

There are a variety of ways to treat Anemia; however, it is important to first find out the type of Anemia as well as the underlying cause. If the cause of Anemia is due to excessive blood loss, then that should be treated first. Iron supplements can help treat Anemia to make up for the lack of Iron. Blood transfusion may be necessary for those with severe Anemia. Some medications can also cause Anemia, and if this is the case, discontinue medication.

In most cases, Anemia is curable, albeit the prognosis still depends on the underlying cause of the Anemia.  Anemia cannot be prevented due to hereditary reasons; however, the most common form of Anemia which is iron deficiency can be prevented by taking iron supplements.


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