Who is at Risk for Anemia?

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Mar 29, 2012

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Anemia is a medical condition in which the number of red blood cells or hemoglobin is decreased (which causes lower supply of oxygen to the tissue). Listed are factors which increase the risk of anemia. Read to know who is most at risk of developing  anemia.

  • Children and women: The risk of anemia is higher in young children and premenopausal women (women in child bearing age group). The risk is lowest in adolescent, adult men and postmenopausal women.
  • Diet deficient in iron and certain vitamins: People eating foods deficient in iron, vitamin B-12 and folate are at higher risk of anemia. Nutritional deficiencies are most prevalent in people from lower socio-economic groups.
  • Intestinal disorders: Intestinal disorders which affect the absorption of nutrients such as Crohn's disease and celiac disease, or surgical removal of your small intestine where nutrients are absorbed increases the risk of developing anemia.
  • Menstruation: Women in the child bearing age group are at greater risk of iron deficiency anemia than men and postmenopausal women as menstruation leads to loss of red blood cells. If the menstruation is heavy -  the risk of anemia increases.
  • Pregnancy: Pregnant women are at increased risk of iron deficiency anemia as the mother’s iron stores have to meet her as well as the baby’s demand of iron for hemoglobin synthesis.
  • Chronic conditions: Chronic diseases like cancer, kidney or liver failure, or several other chronic conditions, increase the risk of anemia (called anemia of chronic disease).
  • Family history: People with family history of an inherited anemia, such as sickle cell anemia, thalassemia are at increased risk of developing the condition.

These are some of the conditions that increase the risk of anemia. Several other factors like certain infections, blood diseases and autoimmune disorders, exposure to toxic chemicals, some medications can cause anemia.


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