Anemia is a condition of the blood in which the number of healthy red blood cells is very low to meet the oxygen requirements of body tissues. It is mainly classified on the basis of erythrocyte morphology, physiology and probable etiology. The classification based on morphology of red blood cells takes into account the size of erythrocytes. Under this category microcytic anemia occurs if the red blood cells are smaller than normal.
Normocytic anemia is present if the red blood cells have the normal size but lower in number whereas macrocytic anemia occurs when the red blood cells are larger than normal. Based on etiology, various conditions are considered which result in either blood loss, excessive destruction of red blood cells and decreased or impaired production of red blood cells. On the same note, the physiological classification is based on hemoglobin level and occurs in three stages. These include the mild stage in which the Hb level is 110-90g/l, moderate stage in which Hb level is 90-70g/l, and severe stage in which Hb level is Laboratory criteria (Makama, 2010).
The three types of anemia are iron-deficiency anemia caused by blood loss such as in cases of heavy or prolonged menstrual periods, insufficient iron supply or underutilization of iron in the body. Aplastic anemia is caused by inability of the bone marrow to produce enough erythrocytes, platelets and white blood cells. Sickle-cell anemia is caused by a hereditary defect which affects Hb production in which the red blood cells assume an abnormal crescent shape.
It is worth noting that the most common type of anemia in the United States is iron-deficiency anemia since most women are of child bearing age and experience excessive blood loss during menses. Similarly, the signs and symptoms of this type of anemia are pale skin, fatigue, headache, dizziness, gastrointestinal disturbances, and dry mouth. Its treatment involves intake of iron rich diet including iron supplements (bodyandhealth.canada.com, 2009).
DIC is an acronym that stands for disseminated intravascular coagulation. It is a serious disorder in which proteins which control blood clotting become abnormally active resulting in formation of blood clots within blood vessels. The clogging of blood vessels cuts off blood supply to various organs such as the brain, liver and kidneys. DIC can be caused by certain types of blood cancer, blood infection by fungus or bacteria and blood transfusion reactions. Clinical manifestations include excessive hemorrhage, hypertension, and blood clots. DIC can be treated by using plasma transfusions to replace blood clotting factors. Also heparin may be used to prevent blood clotting (nlm.nih.gov, 2010).
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