Information for Patients
If you have anemia, your blood does not carry enough oxygen to the rest of your body. The most common cause of anemia is not having enough iron. Your body needs iron to make hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is an iron-rich protein that gives the red color to blood. It carries oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body.
Anemia has three main causes: blood loss, lack of red blood cell production, and high rates of red blood cell destruction.
Conditions that may lead to anemia include
- Heavy periods
- Colon polyps or colon cancer
- Inherited disorders
- A diet that does not have enough iron, folic acid or vitamin B12
- Blood disorders such as sickle cell anemia and thalassemia, or cancer
- Aplastic anemia, a condition that can be inherited or acquired
- G6PD deficiency, a metabolic disorder
Anemia can make you feel tired, cold, dizzy, and irritable. You may be short of breath or have a headache.
Your doctor will diagnose anemia with a physical exam and blood tests. Treatment depends on the kind of anemia you have.
NIH: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
The B vitamins are
- B1 (thiamine)
- B2 (riboflavin)
- B3 (niacin)
- B5 (pantothenic acid)
- B7 (biotin)
- Folic acid
These vitamins help the process your body uses to get or make energy from the food you eat. They also help form red blood cells. You can get B vitamins from proteins such as fish, poultry, meat, eggs, and dairy products. Leafy green vegetables, beans, and peas also have B vitamins. Many cereals and some breads have added B vitamins.
Not getting enough of certain B vitamins can cause diseases. A lack of B12 or B6 can cause anemia.
Transcobalamin deficiency Transcobalamin deficiency is a disorder that impairs the transport of cobalamin (also known as vitamin B12) within the body. Cobalamin is obtained from the diet; this vitamin is found in animal products such as meat, eggs, and shellfish. An inability to transport cobalamin within the body results in cells that lack cobalamin, which they need for many functions including cell growth and division (proliferation) and DNA production. The absence of cobalamin leads to impaired growth, a shortage of blood cells, and many other signs and symptoms that usually become apparent within the first weeks or months of life.The first signs of transcobalamin deficiency are typically a failure to gain weight and grow at the expected rate (failure to thrive), vomiting, diarrhea, and open sores (ulcers) on the mucous membranes such as the lining inside the mouth. Neurological function is impaired in affected individuals, and they can experience progressive stiffness and weakness in their legs (paraparesis), muscle twitches (myoclonus), or intellectual disability.People with transcobalamin deficiency often develop a blood disorder called megaloblastic anemia. Megaloblastic anemia results in a shortage of red blood cells, and the remaining red blood cells are abnormally large. Individuals with transcobalamin deficiency may also have a shortage of white blood cells (neutropenia), which can lead to reduced immune system function. Decreased cellular cobalamin can lead to a buildup of certain compounds in the body, resulting in metabolic conditions known as methylmalonic aciduria or homocystinuria.