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Anemia: Causes, Symptoms, Types, Diagnosis and Treatment


Anemia is the decrease in hemoglobin concentration in the blood. This parameter is not a fixed value but depends on several factors such as age, sex and certain special circumstances such as pregnancy.

Classification of anemias

Anemia may be due to different causes and these relate very well to variations in shape and size of Red Blood Cells (GR).This size is different depending on the cause of the anemia. The size of the red blood cells is determined by an analytical parameter called Medium Corpuscular Volume (VCM) and allows classification of anemia in:

  1. A) Microcytic anemia (VCM <80 fl)
  • Iron deficiency anemia. For lack of iron
  • Hemoglobinopathies: Thalassemia minor
  • Anemia secondary to chronic disease
  • Sideroblastic anemia
  1. B) Normocytic anemia (VCM 80 – 100 fl)
  • Hemolytic anemias
  • Spinal Aplasia
  • Spinal cord invasion
  • Anemia secondary to chronic disease
  • Acute bleeding
  1. C) Macrocytic anemia (VCM> 100 fl)
    • Megaloblastic anemias.
    • Anemias aplásicas.
    • Hemolytic anemias. (Reticulocyte crisis).
    • Myelodysplastic syndromes.
    • Abuse alcohol consumption.
    • Chronic liver disease.
    • Hypothyroidism.
    • Hypoxia.



Anemia produces in the organism a series of disorders of a general type that do not coincide with a specific disease and that could be summarized in the following table:

  • General Manifestations.
    • Fatigue.
    • Decreased sexual desire.
  • Cardio – circulatory manifestations.
    • Palpitations.
    • Fatigue after exertion.
    • Low tension.
    • Inflammation in the ankles.
  • Neurologic manifestations.
    • Headache.
    • Dizziness, dizziness.
    • Drowsiness, confusion, irritability.
    • Noises in the ears.
  • Gynecological manifestations.
    • Menstrual disorders.
  • Manifestations on the skin.
    • Pallor.
    • Fragility in the nails.
    • Hair loss.
  • In severe and / or acute cases.
    • Cold and moist skin.
    • Decreased urine volume.
    • Pain in the chest (anorexia).
  • Other symptoms and specific signs depending on the type of anemia and / or causal factor.

Description of the main anemias


It is anemia due to lack of iron. This lack of iron can be caused by:

  • Increased blood loss:

Abundant rule, digestive bleeding, blood in urine, etc.

  • Increased Needs:

There are transient circumstances in which the body needs a greater supply of iron and yet it does not increase in the diet: Pregnancy, breastfeeding, growth, etc.

  • Decreased intestinal absorption:

Operated stomach, diarrhea and other diseases of the digestive system.

  • Low feed:
  • Milk without supplements, diet low in protein (meat, fish etc.).

TALASEMIAS (Hemoglobinopathies)

It is a form of anemia originated because the hemoglobin is defective and, therefore, does not fulfill its function that is to transport the oxygen. It is a hereditary disease and is due to a genetic disorder.


Anemia is caused by a pre-existing disease of chronic type at the digestive, renal, etc.

Read More About: Acute Coronary Syndrome


It is produced by an immune disorder that results in the creation of cells that resemble the Red Blood cells that compete with these, either destroying them or supplanting their function.

Examples: Unsupported blood transfusions, toxic substances, etc.


Disorder of the marrow that causes an alteration in the process of formation of Red Blood cells causing them to present immature forms and have, therefore, their function altered.


It is produced by the lack of one or two of the elements involved in the formation of red blood cells: folic acid and vitamin B12.

As in the previous case, the lack of these elements is caused either by a deficit of the food that they possess or by a loss due to digestive disorders.

When to go to the specialist


  • In case of acute anemia.
    • All acute anemia with circulatory disorders.
    • Anemia due to acute bleeding with difficulty in controlling bleeding and / or requiring transfusion treatment (Hct <25%; Hb <7 – 8 g / dl).
    • Clinic of acute crisis of hemolysis.
  • In case of chronic anemia.

Poor clinical and / or hemodynamic tolerance due to worsening of the underlying disease or by aggravating factors (low Hb levels in the order of 7-8 g / dl are generally well tolerated).


  • Microcytic anemia.
    • Sideroblastic anemias.
    • Anemia due to chronic disease of unclear and / or treatable origin at Primary Care level.
  • Normocytic anemias.
    • All hemolytic anemia.
    • All anemia with suspected bone marrow involvement. (Allocation of more than one hematologic cell series).
    • Anemia due to chronic disease of unclarified and / or non-treatable cause at Primary Care level.
  • Macrocytic anemias.
    • Megaloblastic anemia for etiological study and initiation of specific treatment.
    • All anemia with suspected bone marrow involvement. (Allocation of more than one hematologic cell series).


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