Anaemia – Various types and their symptoms

Types of anaemia - Healthians
Contributed by – Preksha Buttan

Red blood cells are the transport system of your body that carries the oxygen to all of the tissues. But if you have anaemia, your body does not produce enough red blood cells or they are of poor quality. As a result, the oxygen supply to the tissues gets hampered and you end up with symptoms of anaemia like weakness, fatigue and shortness of breath.

Now, based on the root cause, there are many types of anaemia, iron deficiency anaemia being the most common one. If you are anaemic, understanding the type of anaemia you have can help you better manage your condition. So, in this article, let us understand the various types of anaemia and their symptoms.

 

Iron deficiency anaemia - Healthians

Iron-deficiency anaemia 

Iron deficiency anaemia is the most common type of anaemia. It’s the condition wherein the body lacks adequate healthy red blood cells. Having insufficient iron in the body is the root cause of this condition. And without enough iron, the body cannot produce haemoglobin that enables red blood cells to carry oxygen. Blood loss, lack of iron in the diet, body’s inability to absorb iron and pregnancy are some causes of iron-deficiency anaemia. 

The following are the symptoms of iron deficiency anaemia:

  • Extreme fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Pale skin
  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Brittle nails
  • Unusual cravings for non-nutritive substances such as ice, dirt or starch
  • Poor appetite

For prevention, you should increase the intake of iron-rich foods such as red meat, seafood, beans, dark green leafy vegetables. Increasing the consumption of foods containing vitamin C can also help as they enhance the iron absorption capacity of the body.

 

Aplastic anaemia

Aplastic anaemia is a condition wherein the body stops producing new red blood cells. It occurs when the stem cells in the bone marrow get damaged and are unable to produce new blood cells (red cells, white cells and platelets). As a result, the bone marrow is either empty or contains a few blood cells. Most often the immune system attacking the stem cells in your bone marrow is the cause. Other times, radiation and chemotherapy, exposure to toxic chemicals, use of certain drugs, or viral infection are also the reasons behind aplastic anaemia. 

It’s a rare and serious condition that can occur suddenly or come slowly and worsen over time. The symptoms of aplastic anaemia that you need to look out for are:

  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Rapid or irregular heartbeat
  • Pale skin
  • Frequent or prolonged infections
  • Easy bruising
  • Nosebleed and bleeding gums
  • Skin rash
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Fever

 

Symptoms of anaemia - Healthians

Sickle cell anaemia

Sickle cell anaemia is the inherited red blood cell disorder wherein the body lacks healthy red blood cells to carry oxygen. Normally, red blood cells are round and move freely through the blood vessels. But in sickle cell anaemia, due to a mutation in the genes, they are shaped like crescent moons and are rigid, sticky and get stuck in small blood vessels causing a blockage in blood flow and oxygen supply to parts of the body. For a child to be affected, both the mother and father have to pass the defective form to the gene to the child. The condition can lead to stroke, pulmonary hypertension, organ damage, blindness, gallstones or pregnancy complications. Although there is no cure for sickle cell anaemia, treatments can relieve pain and help prevent complications.

The symptoms of sickle cell anaemia include:

  • Episodes of pain
  • Swelling of hands and feet
  • Frequent infections
  • Delayed growth or puberty
  • Vision problems

 

Thalassemia 

Thalassemia is another inherited blood disorder which causes your body to have less than the normal amounts of haemoglobin. Since haemoglobin helps red blood cells to carry oxygen, lack of it leads to anaemia. The condition is a result of mutations in the DNA of cells that make haemoglobin. These mutations are then passed from parents to children. Mild thalassemia may not require treatment, but in severe cases, regular blood transfusions may be necessary. 

There are several types of thalassemia. The signs and symptoms you may have will depend on the type and severity of your condition, which could include any or all of the symptoms below:

  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Pale skin
  • Facial bone deformities
  • Slow growth
  • Abdominal swelling
  • Dark urine

 

Vitamin deficiency anaemia

Vitamin deficiency anaemia is the result of having lower than normal amounts of certain vitamins in the body. Vitamins linked with vitamin deficiency anaemia include folate, vitamin B12 and vitamin C. It occurs if you consume a diet low in the mentioned vitamins or if your body is having troubles absorbing and processing vitamins. Since the problem can be resolved with some supplements and diet changes, it is important to identify vitamin deficiency anaemia on time to prevent any complications.

Symptoms of vitamin deficiency anaemia that you need to take notice of include:

  • Fatigue
  • shortness of breath
  • Dizziness
  • Pale skin
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Weight loss
  • Numbness or tingling sensation in hands and feet
  • Muscle weakness
  • Unsteady movements
  • Mental confusion

 

Anaemia is a condition that can be managed effectively if diagnosed on time. So, if you think you are at risk, or you may have any of the above-mentioned symptoms, then consult with a doctor without any delay and get tested for anaemia. 

 

Get tested for anaemia now!
 

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