Anemia
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  Anemia



Anemia

    Anemia is a condition in which a deficiency in the size or number of erythrocytes (red blood cells) or the amount of hemoglobin they contain limits the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide between the blood and the tissue cells. Most anemias are caused by a lack of nutrients required for normal erythrocyte synthesis, principally iron, vitamin B-12, and folic acid. Others result from a variety of conditions, such as hemorrhage, genetic abnormalities, chronic disease states or drug toxicity.

RELATED TERMS
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Anemia
Anemia is a condition in which a deficiency in the size or number of erythrocytes (red blood cells) or the amount of hemoglobin they contain limits the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide between the blood and the tissue cells. Most anemias are caused by a lack of nutrients required for normal erythrocyte synthesis, principally iron, vitamin B-12, and folic acid. Others result from a variety of conditions, such as hemorrhage, genetic abnormalities, chronic disease states or drug toxicity.

Condition
The term "condition" has a number of biomedical meanings including the following: 1.An unhealthy state, such as in "this is a progressive condition." 2.A state of fitness, such as "getting into condition." 3.Something that is essential to the occurrence of something else; essentially a "precondition." 4.As a verb: to cause a change in something so that a response that was previously associated with a certain stimulus becomes associated with another stimulus; to condition a person, as in behavioral conditioning.

Erythrocytes
Red blood cells. Mature erythrocytes are non-nucleated, biconcave disks containing hemoglobin whose function is to transport oxygen.

Blood
The life-maintaining fluid which is made up of plasma, red blood cells (erythrocytes), white blood cells (leukocytes), and platelets; blood circulates through the body's heart, arteries, veins, and capillaries; it carries away waste matter and carbon dioxide, and brings nourishment, electrolytes, hormones, vitamins, antibodies, heat, and oxygen to the tissues.

Hemoglobin
Hemoglobin is a substance contained within the red blood cells and is responsible for their color. It has the unique property of combining reversibly with oxygen and is the medium by which oxygen is transported within the body. It takes up oxygen as blood passes through the lungs and releases it as blood passes through the tissues.

Oxygen
A chemical element essential for sustaining life.

Tissue
Biological tissue is a group of cells that perform a similar function.The study of tissues is known as histology, or, in connection with disease, histopathology.The classical tools for studying the tissues are the wax block, the tissue stain, and the optical microscope, though developments in electron microscopy, immunofluorescence, and frozen sections have all added to the sum of knowledge in the last couple of decades.

Nutrients
Proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, and minerals provided by food and necessary for growth and the maintenance of life.

Erythrocyte
An erythrocyte is more commonly known as a red blood cell, which is the most numerous type of blood cell. Erythrocytes contain the red pigment hemoglobin and are responsible for oxygen transport. In humans, the number of erythrocytes in the blood varies between 4.5 and 5.5 million per cubic millimeter. They survive for about four months and are then destroyed in the spleen and liver.

Iron
A mineral in the body that works with protein to make hemoglobin, essential for the blood.

Vitamin
Any of many organic substances that are vital in small amounts to the normal functioning of the body. Vitamins are found in food, produced by the body, and manufactured synthetically; along with minerals, they are known as micronutrients.

Hemorrhage
A general term for loss of blood, often profuse, brought about by injury to the blood vessels or by a deficiency of certain necessary blood elements such as platelets.

Genetic
Hereditary. Having to do with the genes.

Chronic
Ongoing or recurring. Chronic medical conditions include diabetes, epilepsy, and chronic fatigue syndrome.

Disease
Illness or sickness often characterized by typical patient problems (symptoms) and physical findings (signs). Disruption sequence: The events that occur when a fetus that is developing normally is subjected to a destructive agent such as the rubella (German measles) virus.



SIMILAR TERMS
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Anemia and triphalangeal thumbs
See: Aase-Smith syndrome II.

Anemia, Addison
A blood disorder caused by a lack of vitamin B12. Patients who have this disorder do not produce the substance in the stomach that allows the body to absorb vitamin B12. This substance is called intrinsic factor (IF).

Anemia, addisonian
A blood disorder caused by a lack of vitamin B12. Patients who have this disorder do not produce the substance in the stomach that allows the body to absorb vitamin B12. This substance is called intrinsic factor (IF).

Anemia, aplastic
See: Aplastic anemia.

Anemia, congenital
See: Congenital anemia.

Anemia, Fanconi
See Fanconi anemia.

Anemia, iron deficiency
The most common known form of nutritional disorder in the world, iron deficiency results in anemia because iron is necessary to make hemoglobin, key molecule in red blood cells responsible for the transport of oxygen. In iron deficiency anemia, the red cells appear abnormal and are unusually small (microcytic) and pale (hypochromic). The pallor of the red cells reflects their low hemoglobin content.

Anemia, Mediterranean
Better known today as thalassemia (or as beta thalassemia or thalassemia major). The clinical picture of this important type of anemia was first described in 1925 by the pediatrician Thomas Benton Cooley. The name thalassemia was coined by the Nobel Prize winning pathologist George Whipple and the professor of pediatrics Wm Bradford at U. of Rochester because thalassa in Greek means the sea (like the Mediterranean Sea) + -emia means in the blood so thalassemia means sea in the blood. Thalassemia is not just one disease. It is a complex contingent of genetic (inherited) disorders all of which involve underproduction of hemoglobin, the indispensable molecule in red blood cells that carries oxygen. The globin part of normal adult hemoglobin is made up of 2 alpha and 2 beta polypeptide chains. In beta thalassemia, there is a mutation (change) in both beta globin chains leading to underproduction (or absence) of beta chains, underproduction of hemoglobin, and profound anemia. The gene for beta thalassemia is relatively frequent in people of Mediterranean origin (for example, from Italy and Greece). Children with this disease inherit one gene for it from each parent. The parents are carriers (heterozygotes) with just one thalassemia gene, are said to have thalassemia minor, and are essentially normal. Their children affected with beta thalassemia seem entirely normal at birth because at birth we still have predominantly fetal hemoglobin which does not contain beta chains. The anemia surfaces in the first few months after birth and becomes progressively more severe leading to pallor and easy fatigability, failure to thrive (grow), bouts of fever (due to infections) and diarrhea. Treatment based on blood transfusions is helpful but not curative. Gene therapy will, it is hoped, be applicable to this disease.

Anemia, pernicious
A blood disorder caused by a lack of vitamin B12. Patients who have this disorder do not produce the substance in the stomach that allows the body to absorb vitamin B12. This substance is called intrinsic factor (IF).

Anemia, refractory
Anemia (a shortage of red blood cells) unresponsive to treatment.

Anemia, sickle cell
A genetic blood disease due to the presence of an abnormal form of hemoglobin, namely hemoglobin S. Hemoglobin is the molecule in red blood cells that transports oxygen from the lungs to the farthest reaches of the body.

Anemia, sideroblastic, and spinocerebellar ataxia
ASAT. See: Pagon syndrome.

Anemic
Relating to anemia, the condition of having less than the normal number of red blood cells or less than the normal quantity of hemoglobin in the blood. The oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood is, therefore, decreased.



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Asthma
Asthma is a chronic, inflammatory lung disease characterized by recurrent breathing problems. People with asthma have acute episodes or when the air passages in their lungs get narrower, and breathing becomes more difficult. Sometimes episodes of asthma are triggered by allergens, although infection, exercise, cold air and other factors are also important triggers.

Anemia

Artery
A blood vessel that carries blood from the heart to the body.

Arrhythmia
An abnormal heart rhythm, or heartbeat. The rhythm can be too fast, too slow, or irregular (beating at an off-beat rhythm). Some arrhythmias aren't a problem, but more serious arrhythmias can mean the heart is working less effectively, and may cause symptoms of palpitations, weakness, dizziness, chest pain, and shortness of breath.

Asbestosis
Disease caused by inhalation of asbestos fibers. It usually strikes workers in the textile, cement and insulating industries. Asbestos fibers are microscopic and virtually indestructible. When they are inhaled into the lung, the lung's defense cells try to destroy the asbestos fibers, but the body's defense mechanisms cannot break down asbestos. The result is that the asbestos fibers remain in the lungs and cause scarring and the inflammation continues for decades. This thickening and scarring prevents oxygen and carbon dioxide from traveling between the tiny air sacs of the lungs and into the blood stream, so breathing becomes much less efficient.

Adenosine triphosphate
The primary fuel used by cells to generate the biochemical reactions essential for life.

ATP
Adenosine triphosphate.

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