Learn About Anemia

What is the definition of Anemia?

Anemia is a condition in which the body does not have enough healthy red blood cells. Red blood cells provide oxygen to body tissues.

Different types of anemia include:

  • Anemia due to vitamin B12 deficiency
  • Anemia due to folate (folic acid) deficiency
  • Anemia due to iron deficiency
  • Anemia of chronic disease
  • Hemolytic anemia
  • Idiopathic aplastic anemia
  • Megaloblastic anemia
  • Pernicious anemia
  • Sickle cell anemia
  • Thalassemia

Iron deficiency anemia is the most common type of anemia.

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What are the causes of Anemia?

Although many parts of the body help make red blood cells, most of the work is done in the bone marrow. Bone marrow is the soft tissue in the center of bones that helps form all blood cells.

Healthy red blood cells last between 90 and 120 days. Parts of your body then remove old blood cells. A hormone called erythropoietin (epo) made in your kidneys signals your bone marrow to make more red blood cells.

Hemoglobin is the oxygen-carrying protein inside red blood cells. It gives red blood cells their color. People with anemia do not have enough hemoglobin.

Hemoglobin

The body needs certain vitamins, minerals, and nutrients to make enough red blood cells. Iron, vitamin B12, and folic acid are three of the most important ones. The body may not have enough of these nutrients due to:

  • Changes in the lining of the stomach or intestines that affect how well nutrients are absorbed (for example, celiac disease)
  • Poor diet
  • Surgery that removes part of the stomach or intestines

Possible causes of anemia include:

  • Iron deficiency
  • Vitamin B12 deficiency
  • Folate deficiency
  • Certain medicines
  • Destruction of red blood cells earlier than normal (which may be caused by immune system problems)
  • Long-term (chronic) diseases such as chronic kidney disease, cancer, ulcerative colitis, or rheumatoid arthritis
  • Some forms of anemia, such as thalassemia or sickle cell anemia, which can be inherited
  • Pregnancy
  • Problems with bone marrow such as lymphoma, leukemia, myelodysplasia, multiple myeloma, or aplastic anemia
  • Slow blood loss (for example, from heavy menstrual periods or stomach ulcers)
  • Sudden heavy blood loss
What are the symptoms of Anemia?

You may have no symptoms if the anemia is mild or if the problem develops slowly. Symptoms that may occur first include:

  • Feeling weak or tired more often than usual, or with exercise
  • Headaches
  • Problems concentrating or thinking
  • Irritability
  • Loss of appetite
  • Numbness and tingling of hands and feet

If the anemia gets worse, symptoms may include:

  • Blue color to the whites of the eyes
  • Brittle nails
  • Desire to eat ice or other non-food things (pica syndrome)
  • Lightheadedness when you stand up
  • Pale skin color
  • Shortness of breath with mild activity or even at rest
  • Sore or inflamed tongue
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Abnormal or increased menstrual bleeding in females
  • Loss of sexual desire in men
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What are the current treatments for Anemia?

Treatment should be directed at the cause of the anemia, and may include:

  • Blood transfusions
  • Corticosteroids or other medicines that suppress the immune system
  • Erythropoietin, a medicine that helps your bone marrow make more blood cells
  • Supplements of iron, vitamin B12, folic acid, or other vitamins and minerals
Who are the top Anemia Local Doctors?
Elite
Highly rated in
7
conditions
Hematology Oncology
Pediatrics

Duke Health

Private Diagnostic Clinic

40 Duke Medicine Cir 
Durham, NC 27710

Nirmish Shah is a Hematologist Oncology specialist and a Pediatrics doctor in Durham, North Carolina. Dr. Shah has been practicing medicine for over 22 years and is rated as an Elite doctor by MediFind in the treatment of Anemia. He is also highly rated in 7 other conditions, according to our data. His top areas of expertise are Sickle Cell Disease, Congenital Hemolytic Anemia, Hemolytic Anemia, and Hemoglobinopathy. He is licensed to treat patients in North Carolina. Dr. Shah is currently accepting new patients.

Elite
Highly rated in
14
conditions
Hematology
Pediatric Hematology Oncology

Duke Health

Duke University Hospital

2301 Erwin Rd 
Durham, NC 27705

John Strouse is a Hematologist and a Pediatric Hematologist Oncology doctor in Durham, North Carolina. Dr. Strouse has been practicing medicine for over 26 years and is rated as an Elite doctor by MediFind in the treatment of Anemia. He is also highly rated in 14 other conditions, according to our data. His top areas of expertise are Sickle Cell Disease, Hemoglobinopathy, Congenital Hemolytic Anemia, and Hemolytic Anemia. He is licensed to treat patients in Maryland. Dr. Strouse is currently accepting new patients.

 
 
 
 
Learn about our expert tiers
Learn more
Elite
Highly rated in
16
conditions
Hematology Oncology

University of Illinois Hospital & Health Sciences System

University Of Illinois Hospital

1740 W Taylor St 
Chicago, IL 60612

Victor Gordeuk is a Hematologist Oncology doctor in Chicago, Illinois. Dr. Gordeuk has been practicing medicine for over 47 years and is rated as an Elite doctor by MediFind in the treatment of Anemia. He is also highly rated in 16 other conditions, according to our data. His top areas of expertise are Sickle Cell Disease, Congenital Hemolytic Anemia, Hemolytic Anemia, and Hemoglobinopathy. He is licensed to treat patients in District of Columbia. Dr. Gordeuk is currently accepting new patients.

What are the possible complications of Anemia?

Severe anemia can cause low oxygen levels in vital organs such as the heart, and can lead to heart failure.

When should I contact a medical professional for Anemia?

Call your provider if you have any symptoms of anemia or unusual bleeding.

Red blood cells - elliptocytosis
Red blood cells - spherocytosis
Red blood cells - multiple sickle cells
Ovalocytoses
Red blood cells - sickle and Pappenheimer
Red blood cells, target cells
What are the latest Anemia Clinical Trials?
A Phase II Clinical Trial to Evaluate the Efficacy of the Infusion of Autologous CD34+ Cells Transduced With a Lentiviral Vector Carrying the FANCA Gene (Orphan Drug) in Patients With Fanconi Anemia Subtype A
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Screening Protocol for Subjects Being Evaluated for National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) Protocols
What are the Latest Advances for Anemia?
Fetoscopic Laser Ablation for Twin-to-Twin Transfusion Syndrome: A 15-year Review of Perinatal Survival.
Hematopoietic Stem Cell Gene-Addition/Editing Therapy in Sickle Cell Disease.
Tired of the same old research?
Check Latest Advances
Comparing the efficacy and safety of cisplatin and other platinum-based chemotherapies in locally advanced nasopharyngeal carcinoma: a systematic review and meta-analysis.
Who are the sources who wrote this article ?

Published Date : February 06, 2020
Published By : Todd Gersten, MD, Hematology/Oncology, Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute, Wellington, FL. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

What are the references for this article ?

Elghetany MT, Schexneider KI, Banki K. Erythrocytic disorders. In: McPherson RA, Pincus MR, eds. Henry's Clinical Diagnosis and Management by Laboratory Methods. 23rd ed. St Louis, MO: Elsevier; 2017:chap 32.

Lin JC. Approach to anemia in the adult and child. In: Hoffman R, Benz EJ, Silberstein LE, et al, eds. Hematology: Basic Principles and Practice. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 34.

Means RT. Approach to the anemias. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 26th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 149.