Did you know that there are more than 400 different types of anemia? That said, most are rare and there are only around 12 that are seen quite commonly in this country. That still means that some 3.5 million people in this country have it.
Everything You Should Know about Treatment for Anemia – What Is It?
Anemia is not a disease. Rather, it is a symptom associated with various other diseases. It happens when your red blood cell count becomes too low. This leads to numerous symptoms caused by the body not receiving enough oxygen. The elderly, pregnant women, and teens are most at risk of developing the condition.
Everything You Should Know about Treatment for Anemia – What Causes It?
There are three key causes of anemia:
- Destruction of red blood cells
- Dysfunctional production of red blood cells
- Blood loss
While there are more than 400 types of anemia, they all fall within one of those three categories. Let’s take a look, therefore, at what they are and how they are treated.
Everything You Should Know about Treatment for Anemia:
Blood loss is a common reason for anemia and one that often takes a long time to develop, because the blood loss starts slow. However, if no treatment is provided, the condition will start to get worse. Gastritis, certain forms of cancer, ulcers, NSAIDs and aspirin abuse, childbirth, and excessive menstruation can all cause anemia due to blood loss. Treatment usually involves stopping the source of blood loss and taking an iron supplement.
Vitamin or Iron Deficiency and Sickle Cell Anemia:
If there is a dysfunctional or reduced production of red blood cells, it is usually because someone has a vitamin or iron deficiency or sickle cell anemia. Sickle cell can only affect African-Americans, and it means they have crescent-shaped red blood cells. This means they cannot provide as much oxygen. This is a painful condition for which there is currently no cure, although treatment does exist to alleviate the symptoms. Having an iron deficiency, however, is the most common reason for people to become anemic. So much so, in fact, that doctors will almost always prescribe iron supplements, even if the anemia is caused by other things. Additionally, making healthy diet changes to add more leafy green vegetables is usually recommended. In the case of vitamin deficiency, the lacking vitamin is folate, or vitamin B12. These are minerals that help produce red blood cells. This can be caused by medication, alcohol abuse, or pregnancy. Again, supplements and lifestyle changes are generally all that is required.
Finally, there is red blood cell destruction, or hemolytic anemia. This means that the red blood cells rupture too quickly. This condition can be spontaneous, but most people experience it as an inherited condition or due to venom, infections, drugs, or an auto-immune response. Treatment will vary depending on what caused the hemolytic anemia, ranging from making lifestyle changes to undergoing surgery. Sometimes, no treatment is needed and the condition dissipates quickly by itself.
Regardless of the type of anemia someone has, it is important to seek medical advice to discern the cause if nothing else.