What Causes Anemia?


Quick Answer

Blood loss, insufficient red blood cell generation and accelerated red blood cell destruction are the three primary causes of anemia, as reported by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. Anemia is a health condition characterized by a deficiency of normal red blood cells that produce the oxygen-carrying pigment, hemoglobin.

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Full Answer

Red blood cells are one of the three specialized types of cells found in the blood. These cells produce hemoglobin, which is mainly composed of iron, vitamin B12 and folic acid. Essential oxygen is circulated throughout the body through the binding mechanism of oxygen to the hemoglobin molecule. Fatigue, which is a common symptom of anemia, is manifested when the organs do not receive a sufficient amount of oxygen, as stated by WebMD.

The loss of blood is the main cause of iron deficiency anemia, which may result from heavy menstrual cycles, open sores or malignant tumors, according to Mayo Clinic. Insufficient production of red blood cells is typically attributed to either genetic factors or developed conditions. Aplastic anemia, which can congenital or acquired, inhibits the production of red blood cells in the bone marrow.

Poor diets, hormonal imbalances, pregnancies, renal diseases and cancers may also trigger a shortage of red blood cell production and lead to vitamin deficiency anemias and chronic anemia-related disorders. Hemolytic and sickle cell anemias are genetic conditions that cause the rapid death of red blood cells in the body.

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