Anemia is a common blood disorder that is experienced by numerous people all over the world. The red blood cells distribute oxygen to every organ of the body and oxygen is the fundamental component required for cells and tissues to survive. Less oxygen is transported to the cells as the amount of healthy red blood cells decreases, so the body must work harder to accomplish even simple tasks. When the body undergoes continuous physical activity over a long period of time without an increase in oxygen carrying capacity, the body becomes depleted of its energy. The affected individual experiences constant exhaustion which is one of the most common symptoms of anemia.

Causes and Risk Factors

Human blood consists of plasma and cells such as Red Blood Cells, White Blood Cells and platelets. Red blood cells contain a protein called hemoglobin that works as the oxygen-carrying component of blood.

The human body produces an average of 100 million new Red Blood Cells each day with each Red Blood Cell having a lifespan of approximately 120 days. Healthy individuals register approximately five million Red Blood Cells in every milliliter of blood and approximately 15 milligrams of hemoglobin in every 100 milliliters of blood.

Any discrepancy from the normal number or size of red blood cells in the blood increases an individual's susceptibility to anemia. Various factors are responsible for causing anemia and they are iron deficiency, blood loss, parasites, insufficient hydrochloric acid in the stomach and genetic disorder.

Iron Deficiency
Iron is the main component that is required for the synthesis of hemoglobin. Iron is responsible for the unique red color of hemoglobin and the distinct red color of blood. Other components that are required for making red blood cells are proteins, vitamin B12 and folic acid. The deficiency of iron, proteins and vitamins, therefore, directly affects the body's capability of manufacturing red blood cells. Iron deficiency is one of the most common reasons for the development of anemia.

Blood Loss
A reduction in red blood cells may be due to nutritional deficiency or heavy loss of blood due to bleeding piles, hemorrhage, accidents or severe injuries. Thalassemic patients lack a protein that is crucial for completing the clotting process during bleeding. Consequently, patients of Thalassemia experience considerable blood loss from seemingly harmless cuts and wounds. As a result these patients always display typical symptoms of anemia that are associated with blood loss. Women who experience heavy flow during menstruation lose a large quantity of blood and fail to replenish it before the next cycle. Eventually, because of persistent blood loss these women may become anemic.

Parasites such as roundworm, tapeworm, whipworm and hookworm that feed on human blood deplete the blood supply of their host and cause anemia as a result. These parasites enter the bodies of prospective hosts and attach themselves to a suitable site within their bodies. After attachment, they consistently feed on their hosts' blood. Typically the parasitic infestation is not correctly diagnosed until the parasite has fed on a significant amount of blood.

Genetic Disorder
Sickle cell anemia, a unique form of anemia, is a genetic disorder wherein the patient's body produces sickle-shaped red blood cells rather than normal spherical red blood cells. The oxygen carrying capacity of sickle-shaped red blood cells is much lower than that of the normal shaped red blood cells. As a result, individuals with this genetic trait are anemic.

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