General or Other | Hematology | Anemia or Low Red Blood Cells (Symptom)
Anemia or Low Red Blood Cells: Description
Anemia is a condition in which the concentration of the oxygen-carrying pigment hemoglobin in the blood is below normal. Hemoglobin molecules are carried inside red blood cells and transport oxygen from the lungs to the tissues. For men, anemia is typically defined as hemoglobin level of less than 13.5 gram/100 ml and in women as hemoglobin of less than 12.0 gram/100 ml. Anemia is not a disease but a feature of many different disorders.
Most commonly, people with anemia report non-specific symptoms of a feeling of weakness, or fatigue, general malaise and sometimes poor concentration. They may also report dyspnea on exertion. In very severe anemia, the body may compensate for the lack of oxygen-carrying capability of the blood by increasing cardiac output. The patient may have symptoms related to this, such as palpitations, angina, if preexisting heart disease is present, intermittent claudication of the legs, and symptoms of heart failure.
Anemia or Low Red Blood Cells: Causes
There are several kinds of anemia, produced by a variety of underlying causes. Anemia is caused essentially through two basic pathways. Anemia is caused by either: a decrease in production of red blood cells or hemoglobin such as aplastic anemia, megaloblastic anemia, iron-deficiency, or an increase in loss or destruction of red blood cells known as hemolytic anemia.
Anemia or Low Red Blood Cells: Treatment and Diagnosis
General signs include pallor, particularly of the skin creases, the lining of the mouth, and the inside of the eyelids. Anemia is diagnosed from the symptoms and by blood tests. A bone marrow biopsy may be needed if the problem is with red blood cell production.