Anemia is a term that is used to define a decrease in red blood cells, hemoglobin, or ability to supply and carry oxygen to the rest of the body. The symptoms of anemia depend on the onset of the anemia occurring. In a gradual onset, the symptoms are often less noticeable and vague while in a more acute setting, it has more severe symptoms. Additional symptoms of anemia depend on the underlying cause. Anemia can be categorized into three main types based on the mechanism such as: anemia due to blood loss (such as trauma or internal bleeding), lowered production of red blood cells (such as deficiency of iron or vitamin B12, thalassemia, or disorders in the bone marrow), or higher rate of red blood cell breakdown (such as sickle cell anemia, infections, and autoimmune diseases).
It can also be classified based on the amount of size of the red blood cells where smaller sizes are known as microcytic anemia, bigger sizes known as macrocytic anemia, and normal sized cells are normochromic anemia. Anemia is the commonest blood disorder globally affecting 33% of the global population. Nearly 1 billion individuals are affected by iron deficiency anemia. In 2013, iron deficiency anemia led to 183,000 deaths. It is more commonly seen among women, during pregnancy, and in both extremes of age (children and elderly).
Anemia Symptom #1: Fatigue
In anemia, since there is a decreased capability of the body to supply oxygen to other parts of the body due to a low amount of red blood cells, the affected individual naturally feels much more tired than the average person. It is one of the commonest symptoms of anemia and affects more than 50% of those affected.
The red blood cell contains hemoglobin that carries oxygen to tissues and muscles. Without adequate red blood cells, there is less oxygen and the heart will have to work harder to pump faster. Many patients with a gradual onset of anemia may not notice and attribute their tiredness to other causes.