Anemia: Low Levels of Hemoglobin Essay

Submitted By lenchik26
Words: 1048
Pages: 5

Anemia is a disorder that affects millions of people throughout the world. The condition is characterized by very low levels of hemoglobin, which is responsible for delivering O2 to the tissues throughout the body. Having a sufficient and healthy supply of RBCs is essential to most life forms, including human beings. There are many types of anemia which can present itself with mild, moderate or severe symptoms. To date there have been more than 400 different types identified, most of them being rare.
This article review will provide answers to some of the questions one might have regarding anemia such as: What are the different common types of anemia? Who is at risk? What causes anemia? What are the symptoms associated with anemia? What kind of treatment is available?
Anemia is a topic of great interest to me as I myself have often times experienced a drop in my RBC count and through this research I hope to obtain a better understanding of what is the cause behind it.

What Are the Different Types of Anemia?
There is a wide variety of anemia that one can be afflicted with; however most of them are rare. The more common types are those which will be discussed.
Iron deficiency anemia
Iron deficiency anemia is a very important nutritional disorder worldwide. It is estimated by WHO that a whopping 80% of the world’s population may be iron deficient. In this type of deficiency the body tends to lose more iron than it is deriving from nutrients. An individual with this type of anemia typically has a gradual onset of symptoms that might go unnoticed in the beginning.
Folic acid deficiency anemia
Folic acid deficiency anemia is considered common in infants and teenagers. It is often time a result in a dietary deficiency however it can also be due to an inability of the body to absorb enough folic acid from food.
Vitamin B12 deficiency anemia
Vitamin B12 deficiency develops when the body cannot absorb enough of Vit B12. This nutrient, found in meat and vegetables, is an essential element in the creation of RBCs. Although this type of anemia can occur in those that do not have an adequate supply of the essential nutrient, it can also be found in individuals whose body is not absorbing it properly. The latter condition is called Pernicious Anemia.
Hemolytic Anemia
Hemolytic anemia occurs when there is an infection or when antibodies destroy RBCs more rapidly than the bone marrow can produce. This type of anemia could be inherited or acquired. A severe complication of hemolytic anemia is the enlargement of the spleen which accelerates the destruction of
RBCs. This is known as hemolysis.
Sickle cell anemia
Sickle cell anemia is a hereditary, chronic and incurable disease. The body produces defective hemoglobin which forms an abnormally looking shape. The fragile sickle cell cannot nourish the tissues of the body and cannot pass through the narrow blood vessels. This may result in a capillary obstruction and lead to a life threatening condition known as sickle cell crisis.
Aplastic anemia
Aplastic anemia is potentially fatal and is a result of a decreased production of red and white blood cells and platelets. This disorder may be inherited or acquired and can sometimes be cured with a bone marrow transplant.
Anemia of chronic disease
Anemia of chronic disease can be caused by cancer, chronic infection, inflammation, kidney and liver disease as well as certain viruses such as HIV and AIDS.

Who is at Risk?
A lot of factors should be considered when speaking of risk factors for the different types of anemia mentioned above. These include but are not limited to medical, genetic, environmental and lifestyle factors. Families with a history of anemia are at a