Everything You Need to Know About Microcytic Anemia

What Causes Microcytic Anemia?

Microcytic anemia occurs when there are too few red blood cells (RBC) or too many white blood cells (WBC). RBC are the body’s main blood cell type. They carry oxygen from your lungs to all parts of your body. WBC are another type of blood cell that fight infection and other harmful substances in the bloodstream.

In general, red blood cells have four types: A, B, AB and O. Each type carries different amounts of oxygen with it. If you had only one type of RBC in your body, then you would die because your body couldn’t get enough oxygen to everything else in your body.

When there are not enough RBC available to transport oxygen throughout the whole body, the person suffers from anaemia. Anaemia means lack of oxygen. When there are too many WBC present, they cause inflammation in the blood vessels and tissues. This causes pain and swelling in the affected area.

The reason why there are so many WBC is because when an individual develops anaemia, their body produces less red blood cells than normal. This results in a shortage of oxygen carrying capacity of the body’s blood system. In order to compensate for this, the bone marrow starts to produce more white blood cells in the hope of fighting infection.

As mentioned above, red blood cells come in four types. The most common types in adults are A and B. Most people actually have type A. In fact, if you are type A, then there is a good chance that you are allergic to type B. If you are type AB, then it means that your body doesn’t recognise or react to either type.

On the other hand, if you are type O, then it means that your body doesn’t recognise either A or B. Since there are more people with type O than with the other types, this is why group O is the most common in the human population.

Furthermore, each blood type contains different sub-type such as A1, A2, B1 etc. The various types of red blood cells will differentiate in terms of size and other traits. The exact reason why type A will always be larger than type B is still an ongoing discussion among medical professionals.

What are the different Types of Anemia?

There are several types of anemia. They include:

1. iron-deficiency anemia: Iron occurs naturally in foods like red meat, fish, and certain vegetables.

However, for a long time, humans didn’t have access to meat or fish on a regular basis. In fact, the human diet primarily consists of vegetables, roots, and cereals.

Severe loss of blood will result in iron-deficiency. In people with this type of anemia, the body doesn’t produce enough red blood cells. Instead of storing iron in a usable form, the body absorbs more than it needs. This makes the person susceptible to iron overload.

2. folic acid anemia: Folic acid is a B vitamin.

It is necessary to produce healthy cells. The body needs folic acid in order to make DNA, the genetic material in all cells.

If a person doesn’t consume enough folic acid over a long period of time, it can lead to folic acid anemia. Other reasons why a person can develop this type of anemia is due to excessive alcohol use or eating too few vegetables.

Sources & references used in this article:

Familial microcytic anemia. Observations on 6 cases of a blood disorder in an Italian family. by MB Strauss, GA Daland, HJ Fox – American Journal of Medical …, 1941 – cabdirect.org

Cure of Microcytic Hypochromic Anemia in Dogs with Crystalline “Factor I.” by PJ Fouts, OM Helmer… – Proceedings of the …, 1939 – journals.sagepub.com

Normochromic, microcytic anemia of baby pigs. by RB Talbot, MJ Swenson – American journal of veterinary research, 1963 – cabdirect.org

Reversal of aluminum-induced hemodialysis anemia by a low-aluminum dialysate by JA O’Hare, DJ Murnaghan – New England Journal of Medicine, 1982 – Mass Medical Soc