Overview of Anemia

Anemia is a common blood disorder that occurs when there are fewer red blood cells than normal, or there is a low concentration of hemoglobin in the blood.

  • hemoglobin - the part of blood that distributes oxygen from the lungs to tissues in the body.

  • hematocrit - the measurement of the percentage of red blood cells found in a specific volume of blood.

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What is Iron-Deficiency Anemia?

Iron-deficiency anemia may be caused by the following:

  • diets low in iron
    Iron is obtained from foods in our diet, however, only 1 mg of iron is absorbed for every 10 to 20 mg of iron ingested. A person unable to have a balanced iron-rich diet may suffer from some degree of iron-deficiency anemia.

  • body changes
    An increased iron requirement and increased red blood cell production is required when the body is going through changes such as growth spurts in children and adolescents, or during pregnancy and lactation.

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Aplastic Anemia

Aplastic anemia occurs when the bone marrow produces too few of all three types of blood cells: red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. A reduced number of red blood cells causes hemoglobin to drop. A reduced number of white blood cells makes the patient susceptible to infection. And, a reduced number of platelets causes the blood not to clot as easily.

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What is Hemolytic Anemia?

Hemolytic anemia is a disorder in which the red blood cells are destroyed faster than the bone marrow can produce them. The term for destruction of red blood cells is hemolysis. There are two types of hemolytic anemia, including the following:

  • intrinsic - the destruction of the red blood cells due to a defect within the red blood cells themselves. Intrinsic hemolytic anemias are often inherited, such as sickle cell anemia and thalassemia. These conditions produce red blood cells that do not live as long as normal red blood cells.

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Iron: An Important Mineral in Your Diet

Iron is a metal that is essential for life. It is a part of proteins and enzymes found throughout your body, including hemoglobin and myoglobin, both of which help carry oxygen in the blood, according to the Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS). Iron is an important component of your muscles, and it helps regulate the growth of cells. Iron comes from foods you eat. Your body stores excess iron for future use.

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What's the Buzz Around Vitamin B12?

What athlete doesn't want to throw the ball harder, run faster, or pump more iron than the competition? The desire to be the best drives many to do whatever they can to get a performance edge, and some high-profile athletes claim they have taken injections of vitamin B12 in an apparent effort to boost energy or performance. But do B12 shots really help?

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Your Guide to Anemia


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