Anemia is due to three causes:
- Loss of blood
- Inadequate production of red blood cells (RBCs)
- Large amounts of red blood cell deaths
People may suffer from one, two or all of these causes.
Loss of blood – Among the three aforementioned causes, blood loss is the most typical reason for anemia, especially anemia due to lack of iron on the blood. Blood loss can repeat over the course of time or it can be short-lived. Some of the reasons for blood loss are hemorrhage in the urinary tract or digestive system or even due to excessive menstrual bleeding. Other causes for blood loss can be because of cancer, trauma or surgery. Massive or substantial loss of blood frequently leads to loss of large amounts of RBCs and hence anemia
Low Red Blood Cell Production
Because of inherited or acquired factors and conditions, your body may find it hard to produce enough RBCs. By inherited, it means that your anemia may have been passed on by your parents to you. Acquired, on the other hand, means that your anemia is not caused by your genes and that you have gotten this condition from external factors. Acquired factors can include pregnancy, ongoing or chronic illnesses or a bad diet plan. Aplastic anemia is one form of anemia that hinders your body from manufacturing the right amount of RBCs and it can be either both inherited or acquired.
Diet – Regular eating of foods that are low in vitamin B12, folate or folic acid or iron can eventually lead to anemia. Also a few amounts of copper, riboflavin and vitamin C are required by the body to produce red blood cells. If you suffer from a health issue that makes it difficult for the body to take in nutrients, it can hinder the body from producing adequate amounts of RBCs.
Hormones – Little or zero amounts of the erythropoietin hormone can result in anemia since this hormone causes the bone marrow to produce red blood cells.
Diseases and therapies that address diseases – Cancer or kidney disease are just a few of a number of chronic diseases that may make it difficult for the body to create adequate amounts of RBCs.
Certain therapies that address cancer like chemotherapy can obliterate or impair the bone marrow or destroy the ability of the RBCs to carry oxygen. Obviously if the bone marrow is destroyed or damaged, the body loses or limits its only means to produce red blood cells and since red blood cells die within a short period of time, there may not be enough RBCs produced to replace the ones that are destroyed or have died. Patients with AIDS or HIV can become anemic due to the medicines used to treat these diseases or due to other infections caused by these two conditions.
Pregnancy – Pregnancy is the time when a woman’s body uses large amounts of red blood cells to support herself and her baby. Many times, there is not enough folic acid or iron in her body which can lead to anemia. The first 6 months of a woman’s pregnancy can see the rapid increase of the female’s blood fluid or plasma and apparently the production of red blood cells in her body is not fast enough to match the plasma development. Her blood then becomes diluted and this can result in anemia.
The term aplastic anemia refers to the condition some infants have when their body is unable to produce right amounts of red blood cells. Children and infants with aplastic anemia need frequent blood transfusions to add more blood cells to the low supply of RBCs they have in their blood.
Aplastic anemia can be genetically inherited or acquired from factors such as infectious diseases, toxins and certain medications.
Large Amounts of Red Blood Cell Deaths
Factors that can both be inherited or acquired can result in your body killing large amounts of your red blood cells. The spleen is the organ whose duty is to take out old and spent red blood cells in the body. A diseased or enlarged spleen, may take out not only spent and old RBCs but healthy ones as well resulting in anemia.
In terms of inherited factors that force the body to kill a lot of RBCs can include conditions like the deficiency of specific enzymes, thalassemias and sickle cell anemia. These issues create factors that cause RBC abnormalities and make the affected RBCs to die earlier compared to the unaffected healthy red blood cells.
Hemolytic anemia can be an inherited or acquired condition that makes the body kill substantial amounts of red blood cells. Certain factors that can cause hemolytic anemia include:
- Reactions to blood transfusions
- Certain drugs
- Immune disorders
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