What is Anemia?

21:53 - 4 May , 2021


It is a condition in which there is an insufficient production of red blood cells to carry the necessary oxygen to the body’s tissues for it to work properly. Anemia can appear temporarily and disappear or remain for a long time. Likewise, it can be mild to severe, and sometimes, it is a warning sign of an underlying disease.

There are different types of anemia, some caused by a poor diet (mainly lacking iron, folic acid, and vitamin B12), inflammatory diseases, immune system disorders, chronic infections, hemorrhages, and the action of some medications, among others.

It appears due to different causes:

  • Due to vitamin B12 deficiency: the lack of this vitamin due to a poor diet decreases red blood cell generation, although there are also cases in which, despite ingesting the nutrient, certain organisms cannot assimilate it, giving rise to the so-called pernicious anemia.
  • Due to inflammation: certain pathologies such as AIDS, arthritis, cancer, and kidney failure inhibit the normal generation of red blood cells.
  • Due to iron deficiency: is the most frequent, especially during pregnancy. Its origin can also be due to bleeding such as excessive menstruation, stomach ulcer, cancer, and uncontrolled drug intake that cause bleeding.
  • Due to bone marrow disorders: myelofibrosis and leukemia cause it and their severity varies, ranging from mild to severe, endangering life.
  • Hemolytic: caused by blood diseases that destroy red blood cells, which can be hereditary or acquired later on.
  • Aplastic: it is rare and can cause death. It is caused by recurrent infections, drug side effects, and autoimmune disorders.

Signs and symptoms Anemia

They are variable and depend on the disease’s progress, but those that frequently appear are:

  • Lack of energy.
  • Tiredness.
  • Breathing problems.
  • Headache.
  • Numbness.
  • Tingling and cold limbs.
  • Irritability.
  • Cardiac arrhythmia.
  • Dizziness.
  • Chest pain.
  • Lack of appetite.
  • Yellow skin tone.
  • Trouble concentrating.

Some anemias can be serious and long-lasting if not diagnosed and treated early. So, it is important to see your doctor as soon as possible if you have these symptoms, since, if the anemia is severe, red blood cells and hemoglobin will not be able to transport the necessary oxygen to the body, causing serious complications.

In the case of pregnant women, babies can be born small and of low weight. If it is due to significant bleeding and it is not stopped promptly, it can lead to death.

Diagnosis and treatment Anemia

Your doctor, in addition to performing a physical examination and analyzing your medical history, will request a complete blood count to know your red blood cell level and the hemoglobin in your blood, as well as a test to determine the size and shape of red blood cells. If deemed necessary, he or she may take a bone marrow sample to determine your type of anemia.

The treatment to follow will depend on the cause of the anemia, which may consist of the intake of iron supplements, vitamin B12, folic acid, or other vitamins and minerals, prescribing corticosteroids or other drugs to suppress the immune system and help the bone marrow make more blood cells, blood transfusions, or some other medical procedure.

A balanced diet that includes foods rich in iron, folic acid, vitamin B12, and vitamin C can help prevent anemia.

At ABC Medical Center’s Internal Medicine Department, we offer health care services with the highest quality and safety, from the prevention, diagnosis, timely treatment, and monitoring of infectious, respiratory, endocrinological, dermatological, rheumatic, nephrological, gastrointestinal, and hematological pathologies of both chronic-degenerative diseases and acute conditions, through a comprehensive and multidisciplinary model.


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