Blood is actually a liquid made up of several different cell types. One of the most important and most numerous cell types is the red blood cell. The purpose of the red blood cell is to deliver oxygen to the body. Anemia describes the condition in which the number of red blood cells in your blood is low. For this reason, doctors sometimes describe someone with anemia as having a low blood count. A person who has anemia is called anemic.

Many medical conditions cause anemia. Common causes of anemia include the following:
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  • External bleeding: Loss of blood through heavy menstrual bleeding, wounds, as well as stomach ulcers can cause anemia.
  • Iron deficiency: The bone marrow needs iron to make red blood cells.
  • Anemia of chronic disease: Any long-term medical condition can lead to anemia.
  • Kidney disease: The kidneys help the bone marrow to make red blood cells.
  • Pregnancy: Water weight gain during pregnancy dilutes the red blood cells.
  • Poor nutrition:Vitamins and minerals are required to make red blood cells.
  • Alcoholism: Poor nutrition and lack of vitamins and minerals are associated with alcoholism.

Uncommon causes of anemia include bleeding disorders, liver disease, thalassemia, infection, cancer, arthritis, enzyme deficiency, sickle cell disease, hypothyroidism, toxins, or hereditary conditions.

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