Causes And Treatment For Anemia

in Blood
Anemia describes the condition in which the number of red blood cells in the blood is low. For this reason, doctors sometimes describe someone with anemia as having a low blood count. A person who has anemia is called anemic.

Blood is comprised of two parts; a liquid part called the plasma and a cellular part. The cellular part contains several different cell types. One of the most important and most numerous types and the most numerous cell type are red blood cells. The other cell types are the white blood cells and platelets. Only red blood cells are discussed in this article. The purpose of the red blood cell is to deliver oxygen from the lungs to other parts of the body.
Anemia Causes

Many medical conditions cause anemia. Common causes of anemia include the following:

Anemia from active bleeding: Loss of blood through heavy menstrual bleeding or, wounds can cause anemia. Gastrointestinal ulcers or cancers such as cancer of the colon may slowly ooze blood and can also cause anemia.

Iron deficiency anemia: The bone marrow needs iron to make red blood cells. Iron plays an important role in the proper structure of the hemoglobin molecule. If iron intake is limited or inadequate due to poor dietary intake, anemia may occur as a result. This is called iron deficiency anemia. Iron deficiency anemia can also occur when there are stomach ulcers or other sources of slow, chronic bleeding (colon cancer, uterine cancer, intestinal polyps, hemorrhoids, etc). In these kinds of scenarios, because of ongoing, chronic slow blood loss, iron is also lost from the body (as a part of blood) at a higher rate than normal and can result in iron deficiency anemia.

Anemia of chronic disease: Any long-term medical condition can lead to anemia. The exact mechanism of this process in unknown, but any long-standing and ongoing medical condition such as a chronic infection or a cancer may cause this type of anemia.

Anemia related to kidney disease: The kidneys release a hormone called the erythropoietin that helps the bone marrow make red blood cells. In people with chronic (long-standing) kidney disease, the production of this hormone is diminished, and this in turn diminishes the production of red blood cells, causing anemia. This is called anemia related to chronic kidney disease.

Anemia related to pregnancy: Water weight gain during pregnancy dilutes the blood, which may be reflected as anemia.

Alcoholism: Poor nutrition and deficiencies of vitamins and minerals are associated with alcoholism. Alcohol itself may also be toxic to the bone marrow and may slow down the red blood cell production. The combination of these factors may lead to anemia in alcoholics.

Bone marrow-related anemia: Anemia may be related to diseases involving the bone marrow. Some blood cancers such as leukemia or lymphomas can alter the production of red blood cells and result in anemia. Other processes may be related to a cancer from another organ spreading to the bone marrow.

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Home Remedies For Anemia

Anemia related to medications: Many common medications can occasionally cause anemia as a side effect in some individuals. The mechanisms by which medications can cause anemia are numerous (hemolysis, bone marrow toxicity) and are specific to the medication. Medications that most frequently cause anemia are chemotherapy drugs used to treat cancers. Other common medications that can cause anemia include some seizure medications, transplant medications, HIV medications, some malaria medications, some antibiotics (penicillin, chloramphenicol), antifungal medications, and antihistamines.

Anemia Treatment

Self-Care at Home

Very little can be done to self-treat anemia and medical treatment is generally needed. It is important to continue to take any medication that is prescribed for other chronic (long-lasting) medical problems. If the reason for anemia is known, then measures to keep it under control are very important. For example, if anemia is caused by a stomach ulcer, then medications such as aspirin or ibuprofen should be avoided, unless otherwise directed by a doctor.
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This article was published on 2010/12/03