Anemia: What It Is, Causes, Symptoms And Treatment


Anemia may be the consequence of a blood or hematological disease, or be one of the secondary consequences of other diseases. There are many types of anemia and each of them has a specific cause.

This pathology can be temporary or prolonged over time, and be mild, severe, and even life-threatening because it is not diagnosed or treated. What is anemia and what are its causes, symptoms, and treatment?

What Is Anemia?

Anemia occurs when the body has an insufficiency of hemoglobin or red blood cells in the blood. Hemoglobin is an iron-rich protein substance responsible for carrying oxygen, but when you have anemia, blood does not transport the oxygen the body needs to function properly.

Hemoglobin is responsible for giving that red color to the blood while allowing oxygen to travel from the lungs to the rest of the body. One of the most common causes that explains the onset of anemia is related to iron lack.

The tendency to suffer from Anemia is higher for women. This situation is explained by the fact that women of childbearing age, given their menstruations, are more likely to suffer from iron deficiency anemia due to blood loss or lack of iron.


Once the anemia is clarified, these are the possible causes responsible for its occurrence and possible evolution:

  • Some medicines can cause the immune system to create antibodies to attack red blood cells, which at the time seen as a threat. Drugs that can boost the onset of anemia are a type of antibiotics called cephalosporins, quinidine, penicillin, or various nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
  • The emergence of certain chronic diseases such as arthritis, ulcerative colitis, or cancer.
  • The hereditary factor may also influence, mainly in cases of thalassemia (the organism produces an unprecedented amount of hemoglobin) or sickle cell anemia (cells acquire semicircular form and not disk).
  • Red blood cells disappear earlier than normal, resulting in problems in the immune system (loss of blood or bleeding, lack of production, or higher rate of hemoglobin destruction).

Some of these causes may be a consequence of a type of disease or pathology, although blood loss can be explained by some clotting factor. Regarding the destruction of red blood cells, hereditary spherocytosis that weakens hemoglobin may be the main cause, while its lack of production may arise from the onset of kidney or chronic disease.

The largest number of red blood cells are produced in the bone marrow, the tissue that develops blood cells. In addition, healthy blood cells usually last between 90 and 120 days, and from that moment on, the body is responsible for eliminating them. In this case, the kidneys produce a hormone named erythropoietin, which will warn the bone marrow to increase its production of red blood cells.

When creating new cells, the body needs minerals, vitamins, folic acid, and nutrients such as iron. When certain changes occur in the stomach or intestine, there is a lack of nutrients or blood loss, and a lack of blood cells occurs in the eyes.


When determining what anemia is, it is advisable to know what your most common symptoms are to know how to recognize it:

  • Lack of energy, fatigue, or weakness
  • Dizziness or palpitations
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Palidez

When anemia is severe, the symptoms that may appear are as follows:

  • Pain in the chest
  • Myocardial infarction
  • Angina on the chest

On the other hand, the signs that indicate that a person has anemia, highlight the following:

  • Accelerated breathing
  • Low arterial pressure
  • Plumy and cold skin
  • Heart blow
  • Skin and certain parts turn yellow (decrease of red blood cells or jaundice)


Since much of cases of anemia occur in the face of vitamin and iron deficiency, an effective preventive measure is to change certain habits in food or add some dietary supplements. The most appropriate thing is for a nutritional expert or a health professional to give us the way forward.


Anoemia from vitamin B12 deficiency, results in an insufficient number of red blood cells.

Folate deficiency anemia is a type of vitamin B or folic acid that causes a reduction of red blood cells.

Irogenic anemia, the most frequent, when the body does not have enough iron to produce hemoglobin.

Chronic disease anemia when developing a prolonged disease, is frequent in older people: chronic infections, kidney failure, or autoimmune pathologies.

Hemolytic anemia is when red blood cells are destroyed earlier than normal.

Idiopathic aplastic anemia is a condition in which the bone marrow does not produce the necessary red blood cells.

Megaloblastic anemia is a pathology in which red blood cells are larger than normal.

Pernicious anemia. It appears when the intestine is unable to properly absorb vitamin B12, leading to a decrease in red blood cells.

Sickle Cell anemia is when red blood cells have a semi-lunar (genetic disease) form.

Thalassemia is a hereditary blood disorder in which too much hemoglobin occurs, which must be destroyed in large quantities.


Treatment will depend on the type of anemia involved, as well as the causes that have caused it and the severity. It can range from a change in diet to the incorporation of nutritional supplements, as well as medicines or surgery to stop blood loss:

• Changes in diet and food supplements. A good solution may be to increase iron (nuts, chickpeas, lentils, bread or cereals), folic acid (pasta, beans, bananas or bread), vitamin C (strawberries, melon or kiwis) and vitamin B12 (meat, fish and eggs).

  • Drugs to eradicate infections, medicines to prevent the destruction of red blood cells by the immune system, and hormones to end menstrual bleeding.

In the case of severe anemias, blood transfusions, surgical procedures for complicated bleeding, or transplants of bone marrow or blood stem cells.

Most anemias are mild, but in some cases, there may be complications. The organisms of some patients find it difficult to transport the oxygen they need, something that can lead to a heart attack.

In the case of pregnant women, if anemia occurs during pregnancy, newborn children may weight normally. Even in the most serious cases, in the face of uncontrolled severe bleeding, anemia can be fatal.