Red blood cells contain haemoglobin, a protein that functions in carrying oxygen from the lungs to all parts of the body. Anemia is the condition where the number of red blood cells is reduced and the blood may not carry an adequate supply of oxygen to the tissues.



There are various causes but they can be grouped in three major categories:

  • Excessive blood loss (such as occurs with heavy menstrual flows)
  • Inadequate production of red blood cells (may occur in Vitamin B12 deficiency, Iron deficiency, Folate deficiency and some genetic disorders as Thalassemias)
  • Excessive destruction of red blood cells – Normally red blood cells live for about 120 days. They may be destroyed earlier due to intrinsic causes such as defective red blood cell structure and disorders in their metabolism, or extrinsic causes as infections (malaria) or autoimmune disorders like Lupus and rheumatoid arthritis

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