According to its etymology, which brings us to the Greek language, anemia refers
to "lack of blood". It is a health disorder that
involves a low level of hemoglobin and usually of red
blood cells in the bloodstream.
This pathological state can be seen through a blood test. By
studying the fluid in a laboratory, it is possible to detect if the amount of
hemoglobin is less than normal. It is important to note that anemia is not
considered a disease: it is a clinical sign that can appear for
When a person has anemia, they may feel that they lack
strength and energy and that they are short of breath. This is because
hemoglobin has the main function of transporting oxygen to the different organs
of the body, in addition to giving blood cells their
characteristic color. Thus, in the face of anemia, the organs do not access the
oxygen they need for their proper functioning.
Although there are several parts of our body that contribute to the
production of red blood cells, this important task focuses mainly on the bone
marrow, the soft tissue that is inside the bones and that
serves to generate blood cells.
The life of healthy red blood cells lasts for a minimum of ninety and a
maximum of one hundred and twenty days. When they reach their old age, the body
is responsible for eliminating them in different ways. It is then that a hormone
generated in the kidneys called erythropoietin emits a signal that
reaches the bone marrow and tells it to create more red blood cells.
Given that for the creation of an acceptable number of red blood cells, our
body needs certain minerals, nutrients and vitamins, including
folic acid and vitamin B12, it is correct to say that the lack or insufficiency
of any of them is one of the causes of anemia. The reason for this anomaly, on
the other hand, may be one of the following:
* any alteration in the lining of the intestines or stomach
that may affect the way in which nutrients are absorbed. A very common example
is celiac disease, a disease that occurs when the lining of
the small intestine is damaged by the consumption of gluten;
* deficiency in diet. We often downplay the quality or
variety of the food we eat, focusing primarily on our satisfaction, but a lack
of responsibility in this aspect of our life is the source of many disorders,
* surgical intervention to remove part of the intestines or
In addition to the lack of these nutrients, anemia can
arise as a result of the action of some medications, problems in the immune
system, the prolongation of diseases such as cancer or rheumatoid arthritis,
disorders in pregnancy or a sudden loss of large amounts of blood.
The iron deficiency is one of the most common causes of
anemia. In this case, there is talk of iron deficiency anemia and
it may be due to bleeding or insufficient consumption of iron foods. Iron
deficiency anemia, for example, can appear in women who
experience an alteration in their menstrual cycle.
Due to its characteristics, iron deficiency anemia is part of the so-called non-hemolytic
anemias. In contrast, when anemia is due to a disorder of hemolysis
that causes the level of red blood cells to drop, it is classified as hemolytic
the sickle cell anemia, the aplastic anemia and megaloblastic
anemia are other types best known of this disease.