Is Anemia Always Caused By Anorexia?

Types of Anemia

Anemia is a type of disorder which occurs when the red blood cell count in the body is low. This disorder can occur in those with an eating disorder such as anorexia as a result of an unhealthy or nonexistent diet. For those with eating disorders, anorexia treatment at an eating disorder treatment clinic is often very beneficial and can assist in preventing anemia. There are however a number of different forms of anemia which occur as a result of different circumstances. These types include:

  1. Aplastic Anemia – Aplastic anemia is a disorder which takes places when the body no longer makes enough blood cells. This rare disorder affects the body’s red and white blood cells as well as its platelets. Such a problem can occur as a result of drugs, certain chemicals, a viral infection, pregnancy, disease or treatment for cancer. One of the most common causes of aplastic anemia is autoimmune disease.
  2. Folate Deficiency Anemia – When a person has folate deficiency anemia, they are lacking folate, also known as folic acid, in their diet. This B vitamin is necessary for red blood cell production. Folate deficiency anemia can occur during pregnancy in the third trimester.
  3. Hemolytic Anemia – In this form of anemia, a person’s red blood cells have a shorter lifespan than most other people. This may occur for a number of reasons including sickle cell disease, sphenocytosis or a person’s own immune system destroying these cells. In an average person, red blood cells can live up to 100 days. For a person with hemolytic anemia, the bone marrow cannot create enough new blood cells to keep up with this rapid loss of the RBC’s.
  4. Iron Deficiency Anemia – As its name states, this type of anemia occurs due to a lack of iron in one’s diet. A reduction in the amount of iron in one’s diet can reduce the level of hemoglobin (a protein which primarily carries oxygen) in the red blood cells. Loss of blood or the body’s inability to absorb iron has also been known to cause iron deficiency anemia. This is the most popular type of anemia and can occur in those with the eating disorder anorexia.
  5. Sickle Cell Anemia – This form of anemia is inherited and results in deformed, curved red blood cells. Defective hemoglobin is the reason for resulting abnormal cells. Such cells are unhealthy because they do not have a long lifespan. Because of this short lifespan, there are not enough red blood cells for the body. Another problem associated with these sickle cells is their ability to block the flow of blood vessels in the body.
  6. Thalassemia – In this form of anemia, a person does not make enough red blood cells or hemoglobin. This hereditary condition can sometimes result in Cooley’s anemia.
  7. Vitamin Deficiency Anemia – This type of anemia, also known as megaloblastic anemia, occurs when the body lacks appropriate levels of vitamin B-12. Vitamin B-12 is necessary to create red blood cells and ensure proper working of the body’s nervous system. Those with intestinal disorders, autoimmune disorders or an eating disorder often develop this type of anemia. Vitamin deficiency anemia has been known to cause numbness in hands and feet, memory loss and vision complications.

Additional Forms of Anemia:

Anemia can also occur as a result of certain conditions such as Crohn’s disease, lymphoma, arthritis, leukemia, kidney failure and myelodysplasia.