Anemia is a condition in which there are less circulating red blood cells, hemoglobin, or volume of red blood cells; which occurs when the hemoglobin content is less than necessary to supply the oxygen that the body needs. This disorder is caused by various underlying diseases and ends up causing the body’s tissues and organs to not function properly because of lower amounts of oxygen.

Anemia is caused by many things because it is a symptom of other diseases. People with diseases, such as Chronic Kidney Disease, Diabetes, Cancer, Heart Disease, Rheumatoid Arthritis, and Inflammatory Bowel Disease, are much more likely to develop Anemia. People over the age of 65, people with HIV/AIDS, and patients undergoing surgery are also more at risk for this condition. In other cases, anemia is caused by serious disease, vitamin or iron deficiencies, blood loss, genetic or acquired defects or disease, and side effects of medication. Those are only a few of the about one hundred causes of anemia.

Not everyone displays the symptoms of anemia. Most of the time though, anemic people will have extreme fatigue, weakness, shortness of breath, confusion or loss of concentration, dizziness or fainting, pale skin, (including decreased pinkness of the lips, gums, lining of the eyelids, nail beds and palms), tachycardia (rapid heart beat), feeling cold, and sadness or depression; and they may show any combination of these symptoms, from all of them to one or two to none of them.

Anemia is diagnosed only by a doctor. The doctor uses a patient’s medical history, physical exam and blood tests, (including a complete blood count) to diagnose a person with anemia. Usually, a normal hemoglobin range is between 12 and 18 g/dL, and anemia occurs when it is below that range.

Iron deficiency anemia is one major type of anemia. Although many types of anemia can\'t be prevented iron deficiency anemia is one type that can be avoided by eating a healthy, varied diet that includes foods rich in iron, and vitamin C (to help with iron absorption).

Causes of low iron levels include:

Lack of iron in the diet – mainly in children and young women who drink a lot of milk and don\'t eat iron-rich foods or change diets often.

Growth spurts – young children who grow fast and their bodies may not be able to keep up with the amount of iron they need.

Pregnancy – pregnant women or women who are breast feeding need 2˝ times as much iron as men

Blood loss – common reason for iron deficiency anemia in adults:

Heavy periods

Blood loss

Stomach ulcer, ulcerative colitis, cancer, or taking aspirin or other medicine for a long period of time can cause internal bleeding.

Treating anemia can depend on the type and severity of it. Some common treatment options of anemia include:

diet modification

nutritional supplements

medication, if needed

treatment of the underlying disease*

*Usually this is the first thing doctors will concentrate on if it is a treatable disease.