This is a health condition in which there are not enough healthy red blood cells to carry oxygen to your body’s organs. The most common symptoms of this disease are tiredness and weakness. In addition, there are different types of anemia but the most common is iron deficiency anemia. You can lessen this condition by adding iron to your diet.

What is Anemia?

This disease occurs when you do not have enough red blood cells or these cells do not work properly. These red blood cells carry oxygen to your body’s organs, which help to give you energy. In case oxygen is not enough, you may feel tired or weak. In most cases, this condition is short-term and mild. However, there are some anemias that can last during your entire life. It is not recommended to ignore this health condition because it may be life-threatening.

How Does Anemia Affect the Body?

This health condition affects people in different ways. Check below some examples:

  • Newborns – There are some infants that are born with decreased red blood cell counts. While most infants do not need medical attention for anemia others may need blood transfusions.
  • Infants – Some infants may have low iron levels when begin eating solid food. Iron from solid food is not absorbed as easily as iron from breast milk.
  • Children – Anemia in children may cause some problems such as delayed development, motor skills, and learning issues.
  • Pregnant Women – Some pregnant females may develop iron deficiency anemia, which may lead to some unwanted complications including premature birth or giving birth to babies with low birth weight.
  • Women and people assigned female at birth (AFAB) – Females or AFAB with heavy menstrual periods or uterine fibroids may lose blood and develop anemia.
  • People age 65 and older – These people are more likely to develop iron deficiency anemia due to iron-poor diets and certain chronic diseases.
  • Chronic Conditions – Autoimmune diseases or cancer may elevate your risk of anemia.

Is Anemia a Common Condition?

This is a very common health condition, which affects roughly one-third of the global population and about 3 million people in the U.S.

Anemia Types

Nutritional Anemias

  • Megaloblastic Anemia – This is a type of anemia caused by vitamin deficiency. It commonly happens when you do not get enough Vitamin B12 or Vitamin B9 (folate).
  • Iron Deficiency Anemia – It occurs when your body does not have enough iron to make hemoglobin. This is a substance in your red blood cells that provokes them to carry oxygen throughout your body.
  • Pernicious Anemia – This type of anemia appears when you experience a Vitamin B12 deficiency due to an autoimmune disease that prevents this vitamin from absorption.

Inherited Anemias

  • Diamond-Blackfan Anemia – An inherited disorder that keeps your bone marrow from producing enough red blood cells.
  • Fanconi Anemia – This type is a rare blood disorder.
  • Sickle Cell Anemia – This type of anemia changes your red blood cell shape. This effect blocks blood flow.

Anemias Caused by Abnormal Red Blood Cells

  • Normocytic Anemia – Decreased red blood cells and the amount of hemoglobin.
  • Micro and Macrocytic Anemia – Microcytic anemia occurs when your bone marrow produces a decreased amount of red blood cells. Macrocytic anemia appears when your bone marrow makes unusually large amounts of red blood cells.
  • Sideroblastic Anemia – An increased amount of iron in your body and decreased red blood cell counts.
  • Autoimmune Hemolytic Anemia – Occurs when your immune system attacks your own red blood cells.
  • Aplastic Anemia – Low red blood cell counts
  • Hemolytic Anemia – In this type of anemia, your red blood cells break down or die faster than usual.

Symptoms and Causes

Tiredness to manage your daily activities is a common symptom of anemia. However, you may experience other symptoms. Examples include:

  • Shortness of breath (dyspnea)
  • Dizziness
  • Fast or irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia)
  • Unusual sounds in your ear (pulsatile tinnitus)
  • Headaches
  • Pale or yellow skin
  • Chest pain

Furthermore, the main cause of anemia is that people are born with some type of anemia or develop this health condition due to some chronic health conditions.


You may ask how healthcare providers diagnose this health condition. They use blood tests to check red blood cell counts. For example:

  • Complete Blood Count (CBC) – This test can verify all your blood cells. It can also evaluate your red blood cells and their size and shape. CBC is also used to check your vitamin B12 or B9 levels.
  • Peripheral Blood Smear – This test involves blood tests under a microscope.


In most cases, your physician will determine the exact cause of your health condition. Your type of anemia may be provoked by a poor diet or a serious health disease. Therefore, if you experience anemia due to poor diet, your physician will suggest some diet changes and supplements. However, if you are suffering from anemia due to some illnesses, your doctor will prescribe medicines to treat the condition that provokes anemia.

How Can I Prevent Anemia?

You can prevent this health condition by adopting a healthy and nutritious diet, regularly exercising, quitting smoking, limiting or avoiding alcoholic beverages, and others. Discuss with your healthcare provider for more details.

Can Anemia Be Life-Threatening?

If you leave this health condition untreated, you can experience life-threatening organ failure. In addition, severe anemia can cause development delays in children and heart disease (such as arrhythmia, myocardial infarction, angina, and others) in people in their 80s.

Frequently Asked Questions

When should I go to the emergency room (ER)?

If you have anemia, you are at a higher risk of experiencing a myocardial infarction. Seek medical attention immediately if notice any of the following symptoms. For example:

  • Sweating
  • Chest pain
  • Nausea
  • Breathing problems

How can I prevent anemia?

There are some steps that can help you to prevent or avoid this unpleasant health condition. Examples include:

  • Healthy Diet – You should include in your diet iron-rich foods and others. Talk with your doctor for more details.
  • Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated
  • Regular Exercise – Your healthcare provider may suggest some exercises that are safe for you.
  • Avoid exposure to certain chemicals
  • Regular wash your hands to avoid infection
  • Inform your doctor about all side effects and changes you notice during treatment.

Is anemia a curable condition?

Yes, this disease can be cured with suitable treatments and lifestyle changes. Furthermore, interventions are not common in people with anemia. An intervention may be required due to a health condition that provokes anemia. Ask your healthcare provider if you have any questions.

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