5 Types Of Anemia And Their Causes

Anemia is the most common blood disorder and occurs when the level of red blood cells in the body decreases. These cells carry oxygen from the lungs to various organs and tissues and support bodily functions. A low level of red blood cells means these organs are deprived of oxygen, which leads to multiple symptoms. There are several types of anemia, and each one has different causes. Let’s take a look at the different types of anemia and their causes.

Iron-deficiency anemia
This is the most common form of anemia. As the name suggests, iron-deficiency anemia occurs due to insufficient iron levels in the body. Low iron levels can trigger symptoms like weakness, pale skin, headaches, dizziness, chest pain, and shortness of breath. A common cause of iron-deficiency anemia is blood loss, often due to accidents, heavy menstruation, or inflammatory bowel disease. Since the red blood cells contain iron, losing blood means losing iron. A lack of iron in the diet is another common cause of iron-deficiency anemia.

Vitamin-deficiency anemia
The body needs nutrients like vitamin B12, vitamin C, and folate to produce enough healthy red blood cells, and a lack of these vital nutrients can cause vitamin-deficiency anemia. A common cause of this type of anemia is not receiving enough of these nutrients through the diet. Even if an individual gets enough vitamin B12 through their diet, the body is sometimes unable to absorb it efficiently, which can also lead to vitamin-deficiency anemia.

Sickle cell anemia
Healthy red blood cells are round and flexible, so they move seamlessly through the blood vessels. Sickle cell anemia is a type of anemia that causes the red blood cells to take the shape of a sickle or a crescent moon. These irregularly-shaped red blood cells are unable to carry the required amount of oxygen to the tissues and organs. Plus, they can get stuck in the blood vessels, blocking blood flow. Sickle cell anemia is an inherited condition caused by a gene mutation.

Aplastic anemia
Aplastic anemia is a rare and serious form of the blood disorder that causes the bone marrow to stop producing enough new blood cells. The condition is debilitating and can make an individual more prone to infections and uncontrolled bleeding. It can occur suddenly or develop gradually over time, and it can affect people of any age. Aplastic anemia is caused by damage to the stem cells in the bone marrow, commonly due to the immune system mistakenly attacking the stem cells. Other causes of damage include radiation and chemotherapy treatment, exposure to toxic chemicals, and the use of certain medications.

Hemolytic anemia
In people with hemolytic anemia, the immune system destroys red blood cells at a faster rate than the bone marrow can replace them. This causes the level of red blood cells in the body to reduce. This type of anemia can be inherited, or it may develop it later in life due to infections, medications, blood cancers, autoimmune disorders, certain tumors, or an overactive spleen.

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