The Different Kinds of Anemia
Although anemia is a medical condition, it’s an umbrella term housing different types of conditions, meaning low red blood cell count or low hemoglobin. The different types of anemia can range from mild and easily treated to severe and life threatening.
Because the various types of anemia can exist in the body silently, it’s often undiagnosed until bothersome or health threatening symptoms show up. The four main causes for anemia development are iron deficiency, a lack of vitamins, a genetic form of anemia – or a form where the red blood cells are destroyed (such as by an autoimmune condition).
The most common type of anemia is iron deficiency anemia. Just like the term suggests, this type of anemia means there’s not enough iron in the body. The iron stores have been depleted to the point where symptoms are beginning to occur.
Iron deficiency anemia can occur at any time, but pregnant women are especially susceptible to this type of anemia. This is the type that is easily treated, depending on the source of the anemia. If the anemia is mild, it can be treated by eating a diet that’s laden with iron rich foods. But if the iron stores have been depleted, then iron supplements must be taken in order to restore balance.
The next most common type of anemia, vitamin deficiency anemia, is caused by a lack of certain vitamins, particularly the vitamin B 12. Some people have underlying medical conditions, which prevent the body from being able to take the necessary nutrients from vitamins.
But without enough of this vitamin, your body can’t provide the right amount of hemoglobin that your red blood cells need. Not having enough folic acid can also cause this type of anemia. Folic acid levels can be affected by certain medications.
Sickle cell anemia is a more serious form of anemia and is found in people with a family history of the condition. The term is derived from the sickle shape of the cells. Another serious form of anemia is aplastic anemia. This is not a common type and occurs because the bone marrow doesn’t make enough red blood cell supply.
Hemolytic anemia happens when the body destroys and eliminates red blood cells before the cycle is done. This type of anemia is treatable. Thalassemia is another type of anemia that develops because the hemoglobin isn’t normal. This causes the red blood cells to die in large quantities. This type of anemia is inherited.
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