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Anemia

  • Vitamin deficiency anemias. Vitamin deficiency anemias fall under a category of anemias called megaloblastic anemias, in which the body produces large, abnormal red blood cells. Just like iron, your body needs certain vitamins to produce a proper amount of healthy red blood cells. A diet lacking in key nutrients like folate and vitamin B-12 can lead to decreased red blood cell production. People with intestinal disorders that affect the absorption of nutrients are also at risk of developing a vitamin deficiency anemia.

  • Hemolytic anemias. Hemolytic anemias develop when red blood cells are destroyed faster than bone marrow can replace them. Diseases of the blood can cause increased red blood cell destruction, and certain autoimmune disorders can cause your body to produce antibodies which destroy red blood cells too early. Some medications used to treat infections can also break down red blood cells.

  • Bone marrow and chronic disease anemias. Some chronic inflammatory diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn's disease and certain types of cancer, like leukemia and lymphoma, can affect the production of red blood cells and result in chronic anemia. Kidney failure can also result in a shortage of red blood cells and lead to anemia.

  • Sickle cell anemia. This kind of anemia is inherited and can be very serious. More often affecting people of African and Arabic descent, it is caused by a defective form of hemoglobin that forces red blood cells to form an abnormal crescent shape. Their irregular shape causes them to die prematurely, resulting in a chronic shortage of red blood cells. Symptoms of sickle cell anemia can be painful, also, as the odd shape of the cells can block blood flow through small blood vessels in the body. About 1 out of every 625 African-American children is born with this form of anemia.

  • Aplastic anemia Aplastic anemia is life-threatening, as it decreases the body's ability to produce all three types of blood cells - red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. The cause of this kind of anemia is often unknown, but it is believed to be due to factors of autoimmune disease, such as chemotherapy, radiation and environmental toxins.

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Featured Sites:

Cord Blood Registry
March of Dimes
Susan G. Komen


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