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Anaemia is a health condition when the body lacks from sufficient haemoglobin in red blood cells or has too few healthy red blood cells to carry oxygen from the lungs to all of the other parts of the body. Haemoglobin is the protein present in red blood cells responsible for binding to oxygen and it also gives blood its red colour.

By Able Health I Medically reviewed by Dr. Alireza Estedlal

Page last reviewed: February 2024 I Next review due: February 2026

Different types of anaemia

  • Aplastic anaemia- This occurs when the body cannot produce sufficient new red blood cells.
  • Iron deficiency anaemia- This is the most common type of anaemia it exhibits a deficiency of healthy red blood cells due to lack of iron available to the body.
  • Sickle cell anaemia- This type of anaemia is genetic and effects the shape of the red blood cell causing it to become sticky and reducing the amount of oxygen that it can carry.
  • Thalassemia- This type of anaemia is genetic and results in less haemoglobin being produced in the body.
  • Vitamin deficiency anaemia- This type of anaema is generally caused by low levels of vitamin B12 in the body. This results in fewer healthy red blood cells in the blood.


The some of the common symptoms of Anaemia are:

  • Breathing shortness
  • Fatigue
  • Pale skin
  • Heart palpitations
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Chest pain


Anaemia can develop in patients with specific chronic diseases like:

  • Thyroid disease
  • Liver disease
  • Kidney disease
  • IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease)
  • Cancer
  • Autoimmune diseases

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Risk factors

The following increase the risk of anaemia:

  • Poor diet- Leading to low vitamin and mineral uptake by the body
  • Small intestine-related problems- Leading to poor absorption of nutrients by the small intestine.
  • Menstrual periods- Experiencing heavy menstrual periods during every cycle can result in significant loss of red blood cells.
  • Pregnancy- During pregnancy, if there is a low intake of multivitamin with iron and folic acid, you may become anaemic.
  • Ongoing chronic conditions- Chronic diseases or conditions like diabetes, kidney failure and cancer significantly increase the risk of anaemia.
  • Family history- Some types of anaemia are genetic.
  • Age- People over 65 years of age are more at risk of developing anaemia.
  • Other factors- Excessive alcohol consumption, taking certain medications and working in environments with a high exposure toxic chemicals are all other risk-inducing factors.


If you don’t seek treatment quickly, it can lead to serious complications such as:

  • Severe tiredness
  • Pregnancy complications
  • Heart failure
  • Death


Certain anaemia types are not preventable. However, with healthy eating habits prevention of vitamin deficiency anaemia and iron deficiency anaemia is possible. The doctor may reccomend:

  • Iron- Foods which are high in iron content such as red meats, dried fruits, dark green leafy vegetables, iron-fortified cereals, lentils and beans.
  • Folate- folic acid is available in fruit juices, fruits, grean peas, kidney beans, dark green leafy vegetables and grain products like rice, pasta, cereal and bread.
  • Vitamin B12- Vitamin B12-fortified foods like soy products, cereals, dairy products and meat.

Vitamin C- Foods contain Vitamin C like strawberries, melons, tomatoes, broccoli, peppers, juices and citrus fruits


  • Immunosuppressants- if anaemia occurs as a result of an auto-immune disorder, then this medication may prevent the immune system from destryoying.


  • Blood transfusion for replacement of red blood cells
  • Stem cell or bone marow transplant to substitute the damaged stem cells with healthy stem cells
  • Surgery to treat internal bleeding causing anaemia

When to see a doctor

If you experience shortness of breath or severe tiredness for a few days without any reason then it is better to visit a doctor. You will be referred to a Haematologist if nescessary.