Red Blood Cell and E.g. Sickle-cell Anemia

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Anemia is not considerate to be a specific disease; it is a manifestation of
many abnormal conditions. Some of the abnormal conditions that causes

anemia include dietary deficiencies of iron, vitamin B12, and folic acid; hereditary disorders; bone marrow damaged by toxins, radiation, or chemotherapy; renal disease; malignancy; chronic infection; overactive spleen; or bleeding from a tract or organ. The incidence of anemia in the world is very high. More than 50% of the world suffers from anemia. Anemia is characterized by a deficiency in red blood cells or in the concentration of hemoglobin (iron-containing portions of red blood cells). These deficiencies are caused by either decreased production or increased destruction of red blood cells. Anemia is most common among women in their reproductive years (5.8 percent), infants (5.7 percent), and the elderly (12 percent). Because one of the major functions of red blood cells is to transport oxygen, a decrease in red blood cells decreases the amount of oxygen delivered to the body's tissues, which results in the symptoms of anemia.

Anemia can be defined as a decrease in the oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood caused by low hemoglobin concentration (A Practical Guide, 1). Cells in the body require oxygen to fully utilize fuels. The oxygen is transported from the lungs to tissues throughout the body via red blood cells. Oxygen binds to hemoglobin, a specific molecule within each red blood cell. This molecule consists of heme, which is a red pigment, and globin, which is a protein. If the amount of functioning hemoglobin is reduced, a condition known as anemia arises (Anemia, 1). The anemia that may result can take many forms, including that caused by a low iron level (iron deficiency anemia), a vitamin deficiency (megaloblastic anemia), a thyroid deficiency, the premature destruction of red blood cells (hemolytic anemia), replacement of normal bone marrow cells by cancer cells or leukemia (myelophthisic anemia), injury to bone marrow (aplastic anemia), and inborn structural defect in red blood cells (e.g. sickle-cell anemia), inhibition of erythropoietin production by the immune system (anemia of chronic disease), and a normal or high iron level but an inability to manufacture hemoglobin or make use of the iron (sideroblastic anemia) (Anemia, 2). There are also several other less common types of anemia including: aplastic anemia, Thalassemia, acquired hemolytic anemia, inherited hemolytic anemia, sickle cell anemia, and anemia caused by miscellaneous factors (Anemia, 3-4). All of these different types of anemia can be grouped into categories according to their causes and treatments. In all, more than 400 different forms of anemia have been identified, many of them rare. Risk factors for Anemia are factors that do not seem to be a direct cause of the disease, but seem to be associated in some way. Having a risk factor for Anemia makes the chances of getting a condition higher but does not always lead to Anemia. Also, the absence of any risk factors or having a protective factor does not necessarily guard you against getting Anemia. Risk factors discussion: An iron deficit is not necessarily due to poor eating habits, an otherwise balanced diet may not supply ample iron to women in one of the following groups- menstruating, dieting, pregnant, vegetarian and women who do not eat red-meat, as well as women who have trouble absorbing iron from their foods. Menstruation: The monthly blood loss that occurs during menstruation causes the body to need increased iron. Women who experience heavy bleeding should pay special attention to their iron intake. Dieting: Since the average American women's diet does not reach the RDA for iron, dieting and decreasing food intake will make it even more difficult to reach the recommended RDA for iron. Pregnancy: Pregnant women are at an increased risk for developing anemia, because the iron stores are...
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