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What causes Anemia?

Updated at: Jun 29, 2013
What causes Anemia?

Anemia can be caused due to various factors like decreased production of red blood cells in the body or excessive destruction of red blood cells in your body.

Written by: Dr Poonam SachdevPublished at: Jul 13, 2011

Anemia can be described as a disease in which the red blood cell count or hemoglobin is decreased.

Anemia can be caused due to;

  • Decrease in your body’s ability to make red blood cells.
  • Bleeding  that results in loss of red blood cells more quickly than they can be formed.
  • Excessive destruction of red blood cells in your body.

Listed below are  a  few common causes of anemia.

  • Iron deficiency anemia: This is the commonest cause of anemia and it is caused due to deficiency of iron (this is an element in your body which helps in formation of hemoglobin). When your body is iron-deficient it can't produce enough hemoglobin for red blood cells.
  • Vitamin deficiency anemias: Besides iron, your body needs certain vitamins (such as folate and vitamin B-12) and minerals to produce sufficient numbers of healthy red blood cells and hemoglobin. If your diet is deficient in these vitamins and other key nutrients the synthesis of red blood cell gets affected.
  • Anemia of chronic disease: Chronic diseases such as cancer, HIV/AIDS, kidney disease, rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn's disease can affect the production of red blood cells and hemoglobin result in chronic anemia.
  • Aplastic anemia: The ability of the bone marrow to form red blood cellsis decreased in this very rare, life-threatening anemia. Aplastic anemia can be caused due to certain infections, drugs and autoimmune diseases.
  • Hemolytic anemias: In this group of anemias the red blood cells are destroyed more rapidly than the bone marrow can produce them. These group of anemia can be inherited or acquired (that is you can develop them later in life).
  • Sickle cell anemia: In this inherited anemia the hemoglobin is defective which causes the red blood cells to assume an abnormal crescent (sickle) shape. These irregular-shaped red blood cells are destroyed prematurely, which results in anemia.

These are some of the common causes of anemia. There are several other causes of anemia, such as thalassemia, G6PD deficiency, spherocytosis. If you or any of your family members have anemia consult your doctor to know the cause of anemia and for treatment.




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