Five Causes of Anemia
Anemia is a condition where a person's blood has a deficiency of red blood cells. There are many different causes of anemia, and oftentimes the cause will indicate the severity of the disease. Here are the five most common causes of anemia:
1. Iron deficiency: The most common cause of anemia is a lack of iron in the diet. Since iron is often found in meat, people who follow a vegetarian or vegan diet are at increased risk for anemia. People with eating disorders, or who otherwise have a poor diet, are also at increased risk. To prevent becoming anemic, individuals can eat beans, spinach, dried fruits, and iron-fortified grains.
2. Vitamin deficiency: Vitamin B12 and folate are both necessary to produce red blood cells, so when a person doesn't have enough in her body, she may become anemic. There are some conditions, such as Crohn's disease, that cause vitamin deficiency; sometimes, the deficiency is caused by poor diet or side effects of medication.
3. Genes: Some types of anemia, such as sickle cell anemia, are hereditary, which means they can be passed on from parents to their children. Oftentimes, this means that the children will have anemia from birth. Some infants with anemia do not have any of the typical symptoms, which include pale skin and tiredness, but it's still important for the babies to have a healthy number of red blood cells.
4. Blood loss: Since anemia is caused by lack of red blood cells, anyone who has lost blood is at risk for becoming anemic. The blood loss can be due to an injury, disorder, or a medication which induces bleeding, but it can also be caused by other factors, such as menstruation. Women who are pregnant are at an increased risk for anemia because they need more blood for themselves and the baby.
5. Bone marrow or stem cell conditions: Red blood cells are created in the bone marrow, and some stem cells found in bone marrow develop into red blood cells. If either of these are affected by a medical condition, a person may develop anemia. Common causes for issues with bone marrow and stem cells include medication or side effects from medication or radiation treatment.
It's important for people to have healthy red blood cells in their body, and a deficiency can have various negative effects on the body. Though anemia can sometimes be treated by changing the diet, some people may require serious medical intervention. It's important that you seek medical treatment if you think you have anemia or are otherwise unhealthy.