Types of Anemia

Different types of anemia are discussed here in detail. There are many causes of anemia. The most common type of anemia is due to iron deficiency.


After rapid hemorrhage the body replaces the plasma within 1 to 3 days, but this leaves a low concentration of red blood cells.

In chronic blood loss, a person frequently cannot absorb enough iron from the intestines to form hemoglobin at the rate at which hemoglobin is lost. Red cells are then produced with too little hemoglobin inside them, giving rise to microcytic hypochromic anemia.


Bone marrow aplasia means lack of a functioning bone marrow. For instance, a person exposed to gamma ray irradiation from nuclear bomb blast is likely to sustain complete destruction of bone marrow, followed in a few weeks by lethal anemia. Like wise excessive X ray treatment, certain industrial chemicals, and even drugs to which the person might be sensitive can cause the same effect.


Loss of vitamin B12, folic acid, and intrinsic factor can lead to slow production of the erythroblasts in the bone marrow. As a result, these grow too large with odd shapes, and are called megaloblasts. Thus, atrophy of the stomach mucosa, as occurs in pernicious anemia or loss of the entire stomach as the result of total gastrectomy can lead to megaloblastic anemia. Because the erythroblasts can not proliferate rapidly enough to form normal numbers of red blood cells, the cells that are formed are mostly oversized, of bizarre shapes and have fragile membranes. These cells rupture easily, leaving the person in dire need of an adequate number of cells.


Different abnormalities of the red blood cells, many of which are hereditarily acquired, make the cells fragile, so that they rupture easily as they go through the spleen. Even though the number of red blood cells formed is normal, or even much greater than the normal in some hemolytic diseases, the red cell life span is so short that serious anemia results.

Some of these types of anemia are the following:

In Hereditary Sperocytosis -

the red cells are very small and spherical, rather than being biconcave discs. These cells can not be compressed because they do not have the normal loose, bag like cell membrane structure of the biconcave discs. On passing through the splenic pulp, they are easily ruptured by even slight compression.

In Sickle Cell Anemia -

the cells contain an abnormal type of hemoglobin molecule Hb-S, caused by abnormal beta chains of the hemoglobin molecule. When this hemoglobin is exposed to low concentrations of oxygen, it precipitates into long crystals inside the red blood cell. These crystals elongate the red cell and give it the appearance of being a sickle rather than a biconcave disc. The precipitated hemoglobin also damages the cell membrane, so that the cell becomes highly fragile, leading to severe anemia.

In Erythroblastosis Fetalis -

Rh- positive red blood cells, in the fetus are attacked by antibodies from an Rh-negative mother. These antibodies make the cells fragile, leading to rapid destruction and causing the child to be born with serious anemia. The extremely rapid formation of new red cells to make up for the destroyed cells that occurs in erythroblastosis fetalis causes a large number of early blast forms of red cells to be released into the blood.

Hemolysis also occasionally results from transfusion reactions, malaria and reaction to certain drugs.

Consult your doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment modalities for these different types of anemia.

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