Anemia : Overview, Symptoms, Causes, Types, and Dietary Guidelines

Anemia is a condition in which the body lacks enough healthy red blood cells and hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is a protein that transports oxygen throughout the body, and it is the structural part of red blood cells. Bone marrow produces red blood cells and requires iron for their production. Anemia has many types, and each type has particular symptoms and treatment options. The common symptoms are fatigue, pale skin, shortness of breath, headache, leg cramps, and dizziness.

Treatment depends on the type, severity, result of lab tests, and overall condition of the patient. The most common type is iron-deficiency anemia, and iron supplementation is the most effective strategy to treat iron deficiency anemia. Pregnant women, women of reproductive age, adolescence, vegetarians, acute loss of blood such as during trauma, chronic diseases, and family history are some of the risk factors for anemia.

Depending on the size of the RBCs, anemia is further categorized into;

  • Microcytic anemia: In this type, the red blood cells have a smaller size than usual. The leading causes of microcytic anemia are deficiency of iron and thalassemia.
  • Normocytic anemia: In this type, the RBCs have average size but are low in number than usual. Kidney diseases and chronic disorders are some of the causes of normocytic anemia.
  • Macrocytic anemia: The red blood cells have a large size than usual and are deficient in the blood. Lack of vitamin B12 and excessive intake of alcohol are the causes of macrocytic anemia.