Anemia is a condition in which the body lacks the amount of red blood cells to keep up with the body’s demand for oxygen. Anemia can be temporary or long term, and it can range from mild to severe. The main causes of anemia are bleeding, hemolysis (excessive destruction of red blood cells), underproduction of red blood cells, and underproduction of normal hemoglobin. There are several types and classifications of anemia. In this article, we share the 6 most common types of anemia.
1. Iron Deficiency: Iron deficiency anemia is the most common type of anemia. It accounts for approximately 50-percent of the diagnosed cases of anemia. This form of anemia is more common in adolescents and in women before menopause. Symptoms of iron deficiency anemia may include fatigue, shortness of breath, chest pain, dizziness, and headache.
2. Folic Acid Deficiency Anemia: This form of anemia is characterized by a lack of folic acid, one of the B group of vitamins, in the bloodstream. The usual cause is not eating enough foods which contain folic acid. Alcoholism can also be a contributing factor in this form of anemia. It can also be caused as a side effect of other blood disorders.
3. Aplastic Anemia: Aplastic anemia is caused by an absence or reduction of red blood cells. It is a rare and serious condition that can develop at any age and can be fatal. It develops when a person’s bone marrow is injured. Factors that can temporarily or permanently injure bone marrow include radiation and/or chemotherapy treatments, exposure to toxic chemicals, certain medications (antibiotics), autoimmune disorders (lupus and rheumatoid arthritis), and certain viral infections (hepatitis, Epstein-Barr, cytomegalovirus, parvovirus B19, and HIV).
4. Sickle Cell Anemia: This form of anemia is of a hereditary nature and is a result of an abnormal type of red blood cells. Sickle cell anemia is a life-threatening disease and there is no prevention. Symptoms of this condition include painful attacks in arms, legs and stomach, jaundice in whites of the eyes, fever, chronic fatigue, rapid heartbeat, and paleness.
5. Hemolytic Anemia: Hemolytic anemia is a disease in which red blood cells are destroyed and removed from the bloodstream before their lifespan is over. Hemolytic anemia can be inherited or acquired.
6. Pernicious Anemia: Pernicious anemia usually affects people between the ages of 50 and 60 and is a result of a lack of vitamin B12. The disease can be hereditary but some forms of the condition can be autoimmune diseases. People who have any autoimmune diseases are more likely to contract pernicious anemia. Symptoms of this form of anemia may include fatigue, dyspnea, heart palpitations, numbness or tingling in extremities.