I know you might be thinking about the image at first what This image has to do with Anemia it is deceiving, but believe there is nothing better then a glass of milk everyday. Hi everyone, Today I am here to talk about the general principles of anemia. In later Articles, we will focus on the causes of anemia and the different types but for now let’s focus on the basics [ What you should know about Anemia to prevent it ].
Now it is important to understand the basics of anemia before jumping how to differentiate between the anemias, so let’s first begin by talking about what is anemia? Anemia is described as a low hemoglobin, hematocrit or RBC mass. Which measure of blood levels you use will really depend on the culture at your hospital.
I will generally talk about hemoglobin.
Now hemoglobin measures the amount of oxygen carrying pigment that is present in the blood. This pigment is hemoglobin. Other measures of the blood include hematocrit and RBC mass. Hematocrit measures the percentage of the volume of whole blood that is made up of red blood cells. Finally red cell mass is defined as the number of red blood cells in a given defined volume.
Now that we know hemoglobin, hematocrit, and RBC mass are measures of how much blood we have let’s talk about the life of a red blood cell.
The body is able to recognize when there is not an adequate amount of red blood cells present. In order to increase the number of red blood cells the kidney releases a hormone called EPO or erythropoietin. EPO was made famous by many athletes who used it to increase the number of RBCs they had as to have a better oxygen carrying capacity and improve their endurance.
Now EPO tells the bone marrow to produce what are called erythrorid burst forming units or BFU-E and erythroid colony forming units or CFU-E. These cells convert to normoblasts which expel their nucleus. The loss of the nucleus allows for the biconcave shape RBCs have. This biconcave shape is very important because it allows RBCs to bend and fit through very small vessels to provide oxygen to your peripheral tissues. These new cells are called reticulocytes.
The reticulocytes are noticeable because they contain a visible ribosomal network to produce proteins. Remember ribosomes are enzymes that are involved in translation of RNA into proteins. Reticulocytes spend about 3 days in the bone marrow and one day in the blood stream before they mature to RBCs by getting rid of their ribosomal network. Once in circulation as mature RBCs they have a lifespan of about 120 days.
Old RBCs are filtered out by the spleen and are destroyed. Now anemia is when you have low blood levels. We define anemia as a hb less than 12 for women and 13 for men. Let’s talk about the how someone can develop an anemia. There are only three ways to develop low blood count.
Understanding how to differentiate these three processes is very important. We will talk about how to evaluate an anemia and the specific types of anemia in articles further. I hope you have now a much better understanding about Anemia now. If you did, then please share it everyone on Facebook and Twitter, because every life matters, and comment if you have any questions And finally do subscribe to our blog for more informational content.