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Types of Anemia and Symptoms

After 22 years as an RN, I now write about medical issues and new medical advances. Diet, exercise, treatment, and lifestyle are important.

types-of-anemia-and-symptoms

Iron Deficiency Anemia

Iron deficiency anemia is the most common type of anemia worldwide, which results in an inadequate amount of healthy red blood cells or hemoglobin in your blood. Red blood cells oxygenate the body’s organs, and they remove carbon dioxide.

The body cannot produce enough red blood cells without an adequate amount of iron. Iron is primarily stored in the hemoglobin, however, approximately one-third of your iron is stored as hemosiderin and ferritin in the spleen, liver and the bone marrow.

Your red blood cell count becomes low for one of the following reasons:

  1. Your body is unable to make enough hemoglobin
  2. Your body makes hemoglobin, but it does not to work correctly
  3. Your body doesn’t make enough red blood cells
  4. Your body breaks down the red cells too quickly

Globally, anemia affects 30% of the population, which is two billion people.

What is Anemia? The Symptoms of Iron Deficiency

Other Types of Anemia

There are several other types of anemia, and they include the following types.

  • Thalassemia is an inherited disorder that results in your blood having less than normal amount of hemoglobin. Mild cases do not need treatment. The severity of this type of anemia depends on the number of gene mutations you inherit from your parents. Some people get too much iron in their bodies, and they also have an increased risk of infection. Globally, 80-90 million people are carriers of the beta-thalassemia gene, with 60,000 symptomatic people being born annually.
  • Sickle cell anemia is also an inherited disorder where the red blood cells do not carry enough oxygen, and it is painful when a sickle cell crisis occurs. Red blood cells become sickle shaped, which means they can clog the blood vessels, and that is painful. Heart and lung problems often occur. A special ultrasound machine is used for children to learn which children are at a higher risk of a stroke. This anemia occurs in approximately one out of every 500 African American births and one in every 36,000 Hispanic American births.
  • Autoimmune diseases, such as systemic lupus, sometimes attack the bone marrow, which results in anemia. Autoimmune diseases are increasing globally.
  • Diamond-Blackfan is an inherited anemia that is diagnosed within the first year of life. It is often also associated with other physical abnormalities in various parts of the body due to the severity of the anemia. This anemia affects 5-7 million babies worldwide each year. An infusion of blood-forming stem cells from a healthy donor may cure this anemia.
  • Other diseases causing anemia include hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism and advanced kidney disease.
  • Anemia will occur with blood loss due to a trauma or a gastrointestinal bleeding, like an ulcer or cancer. The use of too many OTC medications, particularly aspirin, can result in an inflammation of the stomach lining resulting in blood loss.
  • Anemia is fairly common in pregnant women and in women with heavy menstrual periods or fibroid tumors.
  • Aplastic anemia may have no symptoms and can be short-lived. It may also become chronic, severe and even fatal. The usual cause of aplastic anemia occurs when your immune system attacks your stem cells in the bone marrow. Bone marrow may also be injured for a variety of other reasons, such as radiation, chemotherapy treatment, exposure to toxic chemicals, certain medications, pregnancy, viral infections and autoimmune disorders.
types-of-anemia-and-symptoms

Symptoms of Anemia

Anemia can cause a variety of symptoms, which include:

  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Pale skin
  • Shortness of breath
  • Rapid or irregular heart rate
  • Unexplained easy bruising
  • Prolonged or frequent infections
  • Dizziness
  • Nosebleeds and bleeding gums
  • Prolonged bleeding from cuts
  • Skin rash
  • Unintended movement in the lower leg (restless leg syndrome)
  • Sore tongue
  • Headache
  • Fever

Treatment

Of course, treatment depends on the cause of the anemia. Iron supplements are used for iron deficiency anemia. Vitamin B-12 supplements are sometimes suggested.

There are also medications that induce blood formation if the body is not producing enough red blood cells. Severe anemia may require a blood transfusion.

Sickle cell anemia treatment is focused on avoiding the painful episodes and preventing any complication. The treatments include medication (hydroxyurea), blood transfusions and some children and teenagers may receive a stem cell transplant that can provide a cure.

"The hand of a person with severe anemia (on the left) compared to one without (on the right)."

"The hand of a person with severe anemia (on the left) compared to one without (on the right)."

Johns Hopkins Medicine | Aplastic Anemia

Final Thoughts

Studies have concluded that iron deficiency anemia in overweight people may improve with weight loss. A healthy diet for a person with anemia should include an adequate amount of vitamin B12 and folic acid. A healthy diet is important in pregnant women, and really for everyone who wants to live a healthy life.

There is a great deal of research for several of these types of anemia. Diamond-Blackfan anemia is rare, but there is ongoing research. Treatments have improved for all types of anemia over the past few years.

References

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2021 Pamela Oglesby

Comments

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on August 19, 2021:

Hi Bill,

I am glad your awareness in increased with the various types of anemia.

I appreciate your very nice comments. I hope you have a great day also!

Bill De Giulio from Massachusetts on August 19, 2021:

Great info, Pam. I wasn’t aware that there were so many different types of anemia. Well written, researched, and presented as always Pam. Have a great day.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on August 19, 2021:

Hi Charlene,

I'm glad you learn something new with my medical articles. Thank you so much for your comments, as they are always appreciated.

Charlene Gallant from Cape Town, South Africa on August 19, 2021:

Always making me learn something new:) thank you Pamela for great content

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on August 19, 2021:

Hi Linda,

I agree. Anemia is a common problem.

I appreciate your comments. Stay safe and healthy!

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on August 18, 2021:

Thank you for sharing these facts about anemia, Pamela. It's important that people know about the condition and the different types of the disorder.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on August 18, 2021:

Hi Rinita,

I worked as an RN for many years, so I do research and try to write the article for everyone. I am glad you have found the article informative.

Thank you for you comments. Stay safe and healthy!

Rinita Sen on August 18, 2021:

I'm glad you continue to write health articles in a language that everyone can understand. Being aware about health issues is extremely important. Great job and hope all is well.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on August 17, 2021:

Hi Rozlin,

I am glad you found this article to be informative.

You always make such sweet comments, that I really appreciate. I treasure you as a friend.

Love and blessings!

Rozlin from UAE on August 17, 2021:

Hi, Pamela. This is a well researched informative article on anemia. I learnt a lot from your hub. Thank you for sharing.

Stay safe and happy always, dear Pamela.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on August 17, 2021:

Hi Linda,

Your experience is like many other women. Iron supplements typically heal the body in those cases.

I am glad this article was informative for you. I am glad you always learn something new. Knowledge is power. I appreciate your comments.

Stay safe and healthy!

Linda Lum from Washington State, USA on August 17, 2021:

Pamela, I did not know that there are so many different kinds of anemia or that there are so many symptoms. Both my daughter and I were on iron supplements for a time because of Menorrhagia. Thank you for another informative article. I always learn something from you.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on August 17, 2021:

Hi Misbah,

I am glad you found this article informative.

I appreciate your very nice comments, You almost make me blush with your praise!

I pray you stay safe and healthy also!

Love and blessings!

Misbah Sheikh from The World of Poets on August 17, 2021:

Pamela, Thank you very much for this very helpful and informative article about anemia. You have covered it in a great detail. Excellent work as always. Thanks for creating awareness through your wonderful writings. Stay safe and healthy

Blessings and Love

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on August 17, 2021:

Hi Rosina,

I am glad you found this article to be informative. I am glad it increased your knowledge about anemia.

Thank you so much for your comments. Stay safe and healthy!

Rosina S Khan on August 17, 2021:

I am glad you wrote an informative article about anemia. I knew only about iron deficiency anemia but came to know the other types through your article. I guess I could do well with B-12 supplements and folic acid in my diet. Thank you for this wonderful article, Pamela.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on August 17, 2021:

Hi MG Singh,

I am not surprised anemia is common in the East as I think it is fairly common almost everywhere. I am glad you like my articles.

Thank you for your comments. Stay healthy!

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on August 17, 2021:

Hi Shauna,

Ideally we get everything we need from food, but taking vitamins is not bad.

I am glad you found this article interesting. I appreciate your comments. Stay healthy!

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on August 17, 2021:

Hi Peggy,

Yes, so many people have some type of anemia.

I appreciate your comments. I hope you stay healthy in Houston.

MG Singh emge from Singapore on August 17, 2021:

I always await your article as they are so informative. Anemia is a common disease in the East and you have covered all information about it so well. Thank you.

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on August 17, 2021:

Interesting article, Pamela.

It's always best to get the vitamins and minerals we need through food. What are some foods that naturally provide iron to our systems?

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on August 17, 2021:

Hi Pamela,

You have written about a topic that concerns many people worldwide. Thanks for always keeping us informed about symptoms, treatments, and more. Stay well over there in Florida!

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on August 17, 2021:

Hi Miebakagh,

I'm glad the article was helpful for you. You know what you need to do now, which is good.

Thank you for your comments. Stay healthy!

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on August 17, 2021:

HI BILL,

Overall, you are healthy, thank goodness. Gratitude feels good, right?

I am glad you enjoy my medical articles. Thank you for your comments, my friend. Stay healthy!

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on August 17, 2021:

Hi Kathy,

I am glad this article was informative for you since you have had some symptoms or some type of anemia.

I appreciate your comments.

Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on August 17, 2021:

Pamela99? Thanks for coming up for us with such a health sensitive topic. I need to boost my family and my intake of B12 and folic acid at this time.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on August 17, 2021:

Every one of your articles helps me to be grateful for the body I've been given. Thank you for the information and the push towards gratitude. Happy Tuesday to you!

Kathy Henderson from Pa on August 17, 2021:

Thank you for this informative article. After experiencing some of these things, it is nice to see it broken down so well and explained. This article has increased my awareness and understanding of the issue.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on August 17, 2021:

Hi Chitrangada,

I am glad you found this article helpful. I don't see your article on my page right now, and I didn't remember you wrote one.

I agree that we need to know the symptoms, as there are different types of treatments that depend on the cause of the anemia.

I appreciate your comments. Stay safe and healthy!

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on August 17, 2021:

An excellent article, with valuable information about Anemia.

I am aware of this health condition, but I didn’t know about the various types.

I had published an article about Anemia, long time back, and I can see my article, under yours, in the ‘Related’ section.

It’s important to identify the symptoms, so that the correct treatment can be administered.

This is a very helpful article, for spreading medical awareness among people.

Thank you for sharing.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on August 17, 2021:

Hi Manatita,

Those B12 shots are important for those they need them. I use to need them, but no longer.

Thank you for your comments, as they are always appreciated. Take care.

Blessings!

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on August 17, 2021:

Hi Flourish,

Unfortunately, your anemia is a common problem. It obviously is inherited in your case.

Thanks for sharing your personal story. I appreciate all of your comments. Stay safe and healthy!

manatita44 from london on August 17, 2021:

Well researched and excellently written Hub, Pamela, on yet another common theme. My friend was feeling rough just last night, as he has missed his B12 shot.

Some salient points covered and a thorough article that should help many. Peace.

FlourishAnyway from USA on August 17, 2021:

I've been treated for anemia and have had iron infusions. Iron levels are a constant struggle for me. My mother, daughter, and grandmother (when she was alive) have had the issue on a chronic basis too.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on August 17, 2021:

Hi Ms Dora,

Your story is awful. How could they diagnose you if your blood test was normal. I'm glad you didn't take the medication.

I have been treated for anemia a few times since I had lupus, but not recently. Thank you for your comments, as always. Stay safe and healthy!

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on August 17, 2021:

Thank you for another help and informative article. A doctor once diagnosed me as anemic and prescribed medication. When I returned for the follow-up visit, I told her that I hadn't taken the medication. She said, "Good, because the blood test shows that you're not anemic." So important to understand symptoms, which doesn't seem to be so easy.

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