Anemia is when your body lacks enough red blood cells to help in carrying iron and hemoglobin, throughout your body. Hemoglobin is a protein that helps circulate oxygen through the bloodstream to your organs. When you develop anemia, you are said to be “anemic.”
Being anemic involves feeling more tired or colder than you usually are or if your skin will seem so pale. This can happen because your body organs are not receiving the oxygen they need to function properly. Some people only know that they are low in iron when they are about to donate blood.
Are there different kinds of anemia?
Anemia is in various types, but all of them are cause a drop in the amount of red blood cells in circulation.
Reasons you might have low red blood cell levels:
- Your body is unable to make adequate hemoglobin (low hemoglobin).
- Your body produces hemoglobin, however that hemoglobin does not work properly.
- Your body does not produce enough red blood cells.
- Your body breaks down red blood cells too quickly.
Some types of anemia you probably know about include sickle cell anemia and iron-deficiency anemia.
How common is anemia?
Anemia is quite common and affects more than two billion people of all ages globally. This is more than 30 percent of the total population of the world. Anemia is especially common in countries that have few resources. This doesn’t mean that it doesn’t also affect many people in industrialized world. Let’s take the U.S for example as anemia is the most common blood condition there.
Blood disorder especially sickle cell anemia affects an estimated three million Americans and a big majority of them are African-Americans and people from Africa or of African descent .
Who is most likely to develop anemia?
Any person that can develop anemia, though the following groups of people have a higher risk:
- Women: Mostly due to blood loss during monthly periods and childbirth. This is especially true for women that lose heavy amounts of blood during menstruation or in a condition such as fibroids.
- Children from the ages of 1 to 2: Their body naturally demands more iron during growth spurts.
- Infants: Infants often have insufficient iron when they get weaned from breast milk or formula to solid food. Remember that the body doesn’t absorb enough iron from solid food easily.
- People over 65 years of age: People from the age of 65 and above might have iron-poor diets and some chronic diseases.
- People taking blood thinners: These are medications that include drugs such as aspirin, clopidogrel, warfarin heparin products, betrixaban, etc.