Anemia is a medical condition in which the red blood cell count or hemoglobin is less than normal. The normal level of hemoglobin is generally different in males and females. For men, anemia is typically defined as hemoglobin level of less than 13.5 gram/100ml and in women as hemoglobin of less than 12.0 gram/100ml. For this reason, doctors sometimes describe someone with anemia as having a low blood count. A person who has anemia is called anemic.
Many medical conditions cause anemia. Common causes of anemia include:
1. Active bleeding.
Loss of blood through heavy menstrual bleeding or wounds can cause anemia. Or always bleeding around your gums can slowly also cause anemia.
2. Iron deficiency anemia.
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.
3. Anemia of chronic disease.
Any long-term medical condition can lead to anemia. Any long-standing and ongoing medical condition such as a chronic infection or a cancer may cause this type of anemia.
4. Related to pregnancy.
Water weight gain during pregnancy dilutes the blood, which may be reflected as anemia.
5. Poor nutrition.
Vitamins and minerals are required to make red blood cells. In addition to iron, vitamin B12 and folate are required for the proper production of hemoglobin. Deficiency in any of these may cause anemia because of inadequate production of red blood cells.
6. Pernicious anemia.
There are may be a problem in the stomach or the intestines leading to poor absorption of vitamin B12. This may be lead to anemia.
7. Sickle cell anemia.
In some individuals, the problem may be related to production of abnormal hemoglobin molecules. In this condition the hemoglobin problem is qualitative, or functional.
Alcohol itself may also be toxic to the bone marrow and may slow down the red blood cell production. This can lead to anemia.
9. Aplastic anemia.
Occasionally some viral infections may severely affect the bone marrow and significantly diminish production of all blood cells.
10. Hemolytic anemia.
The normal red blood cell shape is important for its function. Hemolytic anemia is a type of anemia in which the red blood cells rupture (known as hemolysis) and become dysfunctional. This could happen due to a variety of reasons.