Anemia : What is it?

anemia what is it
3 min read

Anemia describes the condition in which the number of red blood cells or Hemoglobin in the blood is low. Doctors describe a person with anemia as having low blood count. A person who has anemia is called anemic.The normal level of hemoglobin is generally different in males and females. For men, normal hemoglobin level is defined typically as a level more than 13.5 gram/100 ml, and in women hemoglobin of more than 12.0 gram/100 ml is considered normal.

Anemia

anemia

How does the body make blood?

Blood is made up of of two parts: a liquid called plasma and a cellular part. The cellular part contains several different cell types. One of the most important and also the most numerous are red blood cells. Other than that blood also contains white blood cells and platelets. Only the red blood cells are discussed here in this article. The function of the red blood cell is to supply oxygen from the lungs to all other parts of the body.

blood

Red blood cells

Red blood cells are developed through a series of specific and complex steps. They are developed in the bone marrow (inner part of the femur and pelvic bones that make most of the cells in the blood), and when all the steps in their maturation are complete, they are released into the blood stream. The hemoglobin molecule is the functional unit of the red blood cells and is a complex protein structure that is inside the red blood cells. Contrary to most cells in the human body, red blood cells do not have a nucleus (metabolic center of a cell).

anemia red blood cells

• Red blood cells live about 100 days, so the body is constantly trying to replace them. In adults, red blood cell production occurs in the bone marrow. Doctors try to determine if a low red blood cell count is caused by increased blood loss of red blood cells or from decreased production of them in the bone marrow. Knowing whether the number of white blood cells and/or platelets has changed also helps determine the cause of anemia.

bone marrow
Created for the National Cancer Institute, http://www.cancer.gov
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