Everything you need to know about Anaemia

Anemia is a condition that develops when your blood produces a lower-than-normal amount of healthy red blood cells. If you have anemia, your body does not get enough oxygen-rich blood. The lack of oxygen can make you feel tired or weak.

Posted on September 25, 2023

Reviewed by

Dr Ankita S


Anemia is a condition that develops when your blood produces a lower-than-normal amount of healthy red blood cells. If you have anemia, your body does not get enough oxygen-rich blood. The lack of oxygen can make you feel tired or weak.

Understanding anemia is crucial as it can have a significant impact on an individual’s overall health and well-being. In this blog, we will explore what anemia is, its causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment options.

Types of Anemia:

There are several types of anemia, each with distinct causes. The most common types include:

  1. Iron-deficiency anemia: This is the most prevalent form of anemia and is caused by insufficient iron levels in the body, leading to a decreased production of hemoglobin. It is the most common type. In women, this is a loss of iron in the blood due to heavy menstruation or pregnancy. A poor diet, or certain intestinal diseases that affect how the body absorbs iron, can also cause iron-deficiency anemia.
  2. Vitamin deficiency anemia: Lack of essential vitamins like vitamin B12 and folic acid can impede the production of red blood cells. Vitamin B12 and folate perform several important functions in the body, including keeping the nervous system healthy.
  3. Hemolytic anemia: In this type, red blood cells are destroyed prematurely, either due to an inherited condition or other factors like infections or certain medications. It can develop quickly or slowly, and it can be mild or serious.
  4. Aplastic anemia: This rare type occurs when the bone marrow fails to produce enough red blood cells. Viral infections that affect the bone marrow can contribute to aplastic anemia. Viruses associated with aplastic anemia include hepatitis, Epstein-Barr, cytomegalovirus, parvovirus B19, and HIV.
  5. Sickle cell anemia: An inherited disorder where red blood cells become abnormally shaped, reducing their ability to carry oxygen efficiently.

Common Causes:

Understanding the underlying causes of anemia is crucial in its management and prevention. Some common causes include:

  1. Poor diet: A lack of iron, vitamin B12, and folic acid in the diet can lead to anemia. The best sources of iron are meat, poultry, fish,green leafy vegetables, beans and iron-fortified foods. If you don’t eat these foods regularly, or if you don’t take an iron supplement, you’re more likely to develop iron-deficiency anemia.
  2. Chronic diseases: Certain chronic conditions like autoimmune diseases, kidney disease, inflammatory disorders, and cancer can interfere with red blood cell production. Anemia of chronic disease occurs when you have an autoimmune disease or other disease that lasts for more than three months and causes inflammation.
  3. Pregnancy: Pregnant women may experience anemia due to increased demands for iron and other nutrients.
  4. Blood loss: Bleeding from injuries, surgeries, or menstruation can deplete the body’s iron stores and lead to anemia.
  5. Genetics: Some forms of anemia, such as sickle cell anemia, are inherited.

Recognizing the Symptoms:

Anemia can manifest in various ways, and its symptoms may vary depending on its severity. Common signs of anemia include:

  • Fatigue and weakness: Due to a lack of oxygen in the body’s tissues.
  • Pale skin and cold extremities: Reduced red blood cells can cause paleness and a feeling of coldness in hands and feet.
  • Shortness of breath: Insufficient oxygen supply to the body can lead to breathlessness, especially during physical activities.
  • Dizziness and headaches: Decreased oxygen to the brain can cause dizziness and frequent headaches.
  • Rapid or irregular heartbeat: The heart compensates for the lack of oxygen by beating faster, resulting in palpitations.


If you suspect anemia, it’s essential to visit a healthcare professional for proper diagnosis. A blood test called a Complete Blood Count (CBC) and peripheral smear is the primary diagnostic tool. The CBC measures various components of the blood, including hemoglobin levels and red blood cell count. Further tests may be conducted to identify the specific type and cause of anemia.

Treatment Options:

The treatment of anemia depends on its type and underlying cause. Common treatment approaches include:

  1. Iron supplements: For iron-deficiency anemia, iron supplements may be prescribed to replenish iron levels in the body.
  2. Vitamin supplements: In cases of vitamin deficiency anemia, supplements of vitamin B12 or folic acid may be recommended.
  3. Blood transfusions: In severe cases or certain types of anemia, a blood transfusion may be necessary to rapidly increase red blood cell levels.
  4. Medications: For certain forms of anemia, such as hemolytic anemia, medications may be prescribed to suppress the immune system or address underlying conditions.


Anemia is a prevalent condition that can affect anyone, but with the right knowledge and proactive approach, it can be managed effectively. Understanding the types, causes, symptoms, and treatment options is crucial for early diagnosis and appropriate care. If you suspect you have anemia or experience symptoms, don’t hesitate to seek medical advice to maintain your overall health and well-being.


1.Lopez, A., Cacoub, P., Macdougall, I. C., & Peyrin-Biroulet, L. (2016). Iron deficiency anaemia. The Lancet, 387(10021), 907-916.

  2.Kalaivani, K. (2009). Prevalence & consequences of anaemia in pregnancy. Indian Journal of Medical Research, 130(5), 627-633.  

  3.Cartwright, G. E., & Lee, G. R. (1971). Annotation: the anaemia of chronic disorders. British Journal of Haematology, 21(2), 147-152.

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, having slightly uneven breasts is considered normal for many women and is generally not a cause for concern. It is more common than having perfectly symmetrical breasts.

In most cases, having uneven breasts does not affect breastfeeding. Both breasts can produce milk, and a baby can still latch onto both nipples. If you have concerns about breastfeeding, consulting a lactation consultant can be helpful.

In some cases, wearing a properly fitted bra or using breast inserts can help create the appearance of more symmetrical breasts. However, non-surgical methods may have limitations in correcting significant size differences.

While it may not be possible to prevent saggy breasts entirely, wearing a supportive bra, maintaining a healthy weight, avoiding smoking (which can decrease skin elasticity), and practising good posture can help minimise sagging.

While exercise can strengthen the chest muscles and improve overall breast appearance, it may not significantly lift saggy breasts. However, it is still beneficial for overall health and may improve the breasts' overall appearance.

Reviewed by

Dr Ankita S


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Everything you need to know about Anaemia

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