Anemia symptoms typically arise following one of three conditions; loss of blood, low production of red blood cells, or high destruction of red blood cells. Anemia is a condition in which the number of circulating red blood cells in the blood is below normal levels.
A red blood cells main purpose is to travel in the blood, transporting oxygen it picks up in the lungs and carries on a hemoglobin molecule, and distribute it to all regions of the body. Cells of the body use the oxygen they receive from red blood cells to maintain their health and carry out their normal biological processes.
When red blood cells are low in number, the oxygen carrying capacity of the blood is reduced, and other cells of the body begin to limit or cease their normal processes. Severity of anemia can be highly varied across individuals as well as the speed of its progression or resolution.
There are many reasons that red blood cell counts in the blood could decrease in number. Excessive bleeding, poor nutrition, hormone disorders, and a myriad of issues with the production or destruction of cells can all result in anemia.
- pale complexion
- weak pulse
- rapid pulse
- shortness of breath
- chest pain
- muscle cramping
Diagnosis is typically through blood testing to check the levels of circulating blood cells and hemoglobin. Additional tests are typically used to help determine the cause of the anemia, or to confirm the cause if it is believed it is already known.
Treatment will depend on the cause of the anemia. Obvious excessive bleeding should be stopped immediately upon which red blood counts should eventually return to normal. Anemia from causes which decrease the production of red blood cells or which increase their destruction are widely varied and treatments will be particular for each.