Anemia is a very common blood disorder that affects mainly women of child-bearing years, although other medical conditions can cause anemia. The cause of anemia is quite easy to understand. It happens when there is a drop in the about of either hematocrit or hemoglobin in the blood.
Hematocrit is the percentage of red blood cells found in a certain amount of blood, while hemoglobin is the part of the blood that takes the oxygen throughout the body. When you have a drop in either of these in your blood, it can cause a myriad of symptoms, which will require treatment.
What is interesting about anemia is that it can be caused by other diseases as well as certain prescription medications. Anemia can be caused by red blood cell destruction, a decreased production of red blood cells, as well as a deficient production of red blood cells. In addition, those that have had excessive blood loss through injury or other means may develop anemia.
Symptoms of Anemia
When you develop anemia, the decrease of oxygen in the cells causes what is called hypoxia. If you find that you are suffering from anemia, you may or may not have all of the symptoms. Most symptoms are felt with moderate to severe forms of anemia.
The following are all symptoms of anemia that you should look out for: paleness of the skin, increased heart rate, which is also called tachycardia, difficulty catching a breath and lack of energy or fatigue.
Many times, these are all symptoms that are felt with more severe forms of anemia. Other signs of anemia include dizziness, headache, irritability, jaundice or yellowing of the skin, problems with healing after injury and irregular menstrual cycles. If your doctor suspects anemia, chances are, he or she will test you for other medical conditions.
Causes of Anemia
While it may be difficult to pinpoint the exact cause of anemia, there are some problems that are usually associated. These include certain infections and diseases, prescription medications as well as certain illegal drugs, blood loss from surgery, childbirth or injury and poor diet. In fact, if you suffer from mild forms of anemia, you may find that you can help your condition by simply taking supplements and eating protein enriched foods.
As your doctor looks for treatment options for you, several factors will be considered. First of all, your health care provider will look at the severity of your case. Some forms of anemia may be taken care of quite easily. Your doctor will also take a look at your health history and your age.
Your doctor will also want to talk to you about your opinion about treatment options. Your doctor may give you both mineral and vitamin supplements as well as treatment for diseases that may have caused the anemia in the first place. If you have severe anemia, then you may need blood transfusions, or even a bone marrow transplant to help your body produce blood more efficiently.