Anemia is a common medical condition, caused by the reduced ability to transport oxygen from the blood.
This is secondary to the inadequate amount of red blood cells in the body, or the reduced level of hemoglobin that has the ability to transport oxygen to various parts of the body.
Anemia can be classified into several types according to the appearance and condition of red blood cells in the affected individual.
Hypochromic microcytic anemia is a type of anemia characterized by the appearance of red blood cells of abnormally small size with little oxygen transport capacity since it has a low concentration of hemoglobin.
It is caused mainly by the interruption in the production of hemoglobin and red blood cells in the bone marrow.
Hypochromic microcytic anemia is a common blood disorder seen in a large population.
In these cases, the average volume of cells or VMC of red blood cells is less than 80. The most common symptoms of this type of anemia are dizziness, fatigue, lack of energy, fatigue, decreased resistance, pale skin etc.
Causes of Hypochromic Microcytic Anemia
Iron deficiency in the body is the main cause of hypochromic microcytic anemia. Iron is an essential element required by the body to produce hemoglobin.
Low levels of iron in the body lead to a reduced level of hemoglobin, which reduces the oxygen carrying capacity of the blood to the body.
In the absence of an adequate amount of iron in the body, the red blood cells produced appear smaller and paler than normal red blood cells.
The most common causes of hypochromic microcytic anemia are those described below:
Excessive blood loss: There may be excessive and recurrent blood loss due to internal bleeding due to several reasons. Ulcers, inflammatory bowel disease, hemorrhoids and other disorders in the gastrointestinal tract are the most common reason for internal bleeding.
Prolonged use of aspirin and other anti-inflammatory medications can also cause gastrointestinal bleeding over a period of time.
An excessive loss of blood can also be observed in women with heavy bleeding during menstruation. In some women, excessive blood loss can be caused by uterine hemorrhage secondary to fibroids.
Other causes include haemorrhage from trauma, accidents, or other underlying coagulation disorders. With excessive loss of blood, there is loss of iron from the body that leads to anemia.
Poor diet: The daily requirement of iron should ideally come from the diet. A daily intake of 1 mg of iron is recommended for the normal functioning of the body. Following a diet deficient in iron can cause anemia and other medical problems.
Therefore, it is recommended to follow a diet rich in iron. Food rich in iron includes green leafy vegetables, red meat, beans, chickpeas, lentils, etc.
The amount of iron required by the body during the growing years and the healing time is always increasing. Depending on the individual’s requirements, iron supplements can be taken after consulting a doctor.
Underlying systemic condition that causes hypochromic microcytic anemia: Iron levels in the body can be drastically reduced in the presence of certain systemic and chronic medical conditions. These include the presence of infections, inflammations and carcinoma.
These conditions, over a period of time, can cause an interruption in the production of red blood cells and can also cause the red blood cells to have a shorter life.
In some cases, there is an interruption in the normal recycling of red blood cells that leads to inadequate iron levels in the body. In most of these cases, the condition begins as normocytic anemia that eventually progresses to microcytic anemia.
Lead poisoning : Lead poisoning can have serious consequences on the body, including iron deficiency.
In these cases, the body’s iron level does not improve even after taking iron supplements. This is a very serious condition and should be addressed as soon as possible.
The treatment for hypochromic microcytic anemia depends on the underlying cause of iron loss. Depending on the cause of the condition, the following treatment option is considered.
Treatment for blood loss that causes hypochromic microcytic anemia: Once the cause of the bleeding is determined, measures must be taken to stop the loss of blood at its source.
In case of gastrointestinal hemorrhage, specialized studies such as abdominal ultrasound, upper gastrointestinal endoscopy and computed tomography of the abdomen are performed to identify the source and cause of bleeding.
In general, affected people are referred to a gastroenterologist for further evaluation and treatment of the condition.
In premenopausal women with abundant flow, hormone therapy (such as birth control pills) is considered. In cases of uterine fibroids and other similar conditions, surgery or radiation therapy may be considered.
Food supplements for the management of hypochromic microcytic anemia: In most cases, doctors recommend the intake of iron supplements and vitamin C. Iron supplements help replenish lost iron; while vitamin C increases the individual’s ability to absorb iron better.
Blood transfusion: In extreme cases, predominantly when the patient is at risk of developing cardiac complications, blood transfusion can be considered.
Prevention of microcytic hypochromic anemia
Modifying the diet is the best way to prevent any form of anemia, including hypochromic microcytic anemia.
It is recommended to follow a diet rich in iron to avoid deficiency in the iron level. In addition to this, a higher intake of foods rich in vitamin C also helps to increase the absorption of iron by the body.
If nutritional needs are not met through diet, additional supplements of iron and vitamin C may be considered. However, these should be taken only after consulting an experienced doctor.
The most common food that is rich in iron includes:
- Red meat such as beef, lamb, lamb, liver, etc.
- Poultry products
- Dark leafy vegetables such as spinach; and pulses such as beans, red beans, etc.
- Dried fruits like apricots and raisins.
Foods rich in vitamin C include:
- Citrus fruits like lemon, oranges, grapefruit, etc.
- Other fruits like strawberries
- Vegetables such as kale, red peppers, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, etc.
Hypochromic microcytic anemia is a common form of anemia caused mainly by the fall in the iron level below the normal acceptable level.
It can be caused by multiple reasons; Iron deficiency is the most common cause. Probably associated with an unhealthy lifestyle, dietary deficiency or the presence of other underlying systemic conditions.
It is a serious health condition and, therefore, it is advisable to follow up with an experienced doctor as soon as possible for early diagnosis and to determine the exact cause of the condition.
Depending on the underlying cause, a treatment module is planned that may include modifications in lifestyle and diet.