Anemia is a health condition that features with low number of red blood cells. Red blood cells are responsible for supplying all the body cells with oxygen. There are majority of conditions which may result in anemia. Hemorrhage is most common cause of anemia. Still they are present in chronic diseases such as chronic liver and kidney disease it may occur during pregnancy, infections etc. Alcoholics are anemic as well as those who are suffering from hereditary conditions.
All anemias can be classified as those related to iron-deficiency, anemias caused by insufficiency of B12 vitamin and folic acid deficiency anemias.
If anemia is caused by insufficient amounts of iron it happens because one may have lost blood or there have been certain difficulties with the absorption of this precious metal. In rare cases one may have not consumed enough food rich in iron. This is typical for extreme vegetarians as highest percentage of iron is present in red meat and vegetarians do not consume meat at all.
Anemia caused by deficiency of B12 vitamin happens mainly because the digestive tract is not capable of absorbing this vitamin. Certain conditions such as chronic gastritis reduce the production of intrinsic factor. This factor is in charge with absorption of vitamin B12. Chronic diseases such as Crohn's disease are followed with destruction of intestines and hence the absorption in B12 is reduced.
Anemia caused by folic acid insufficiency affects poor people or alcoholics as they tend not to eat properly. Still it may even occur in chronic diseases such as celiac sprue.
No matter what the cause is the symptoms are the same for all three types of anemia. The disease presents in obvious skin pallor. Fatigue and weariness are regularly present. In severe cases of anemia one may feel exhausted even after minor activities such as walking. The blood pressure is low. If anemia lasts for a longer period of time and in case it progrades up to severe level one may have problems with heart in a from of rapid heart beat. He/she may even feel shortness of breath and in rather extreme cases chest pain occurs. People who are suffering from anemia lose appetite and may even lose weight. In case of anemia which happens due to B12 deficiency one may additionally experience tingling sensations in fingers and toes. Jaundice is rare but possible symptom.
Diagnosis can be set rather easily. Simple blood count will show reduced number of red blood cells. If doctor wants to determine the precise cause of anemia he/ she should look at patient's hemoglobin levels, microscopically checks samples of bone marrow and check if there is any chance of internal bleeding. In case of patients who are suffering from chronic disease anemia is something doctor can expect.