Top 5 Red Blood Cell Diseases
Red blood cells or erythrocytes are crucial and important for the proper functioning of the circulatory system. These cells are responsible for carrying the oxygen to all the organs of the body. Proper supply of oxygen to all the body parts will help them stay healthy. However, many people suffer from red blood cell disorders and they can develop due to the poor functioning of these cells.
Proper diet can help a person overcome this condition completely. Autoimmune hemolytic anemia cannot be treated completely by following a proper diet regularly and it can only be cured through splenectomy or blood transfusions. Other diseases such as hemochromatosis and iron deficiency anemia can be controlled with the help of diet. Read on to know more about the various red blood cell diseases and diet plan that will help in overcoming them.
Red Blood Cell Disorders
The following are a the most commonly observed red blood cell disorders.
When the blood capacity to carry oxygen is lowered, anemia occurs. Low count of red blood cells, abnormality of both hemoglobin or red blood cells is considered as the major cause.
- Sickle-cell disease: This genetic disease usually occurs when the shape of hemoglobin is abnormal. When they release the oxygen they carry, they become extremely insoluble. This results in the formation of abnormally shaped erythrocytes. The blood cells appear as sickle-shaped and are rigid. These often block the blood vessels causing pain, stroke and tissue damage.
- Iron deficiency anemia: This is considered as the most common anemia. When iron dietary intake is lowered or iron absorption is insufficient in the body, hemoglobins cannot be formed further resulting in causing the condition of iron deficiency anemia.
This is also considered as a genetic disease. The hemoglobin subunits have an abnormal ratio in the hemoglobin molecule.
- Spherocytosis: As a genetic disease Spherocytosis causes defect in the cytoskeleton of red blood cells. Thus, the cells become small, fragile and sphere-shaped instead of becoming flexible and donut-shaped.
- Pernicious anemia: This is considered as an autoimmune disease where the body lacks certain factors that are generally required to absorb B12 vitamin from food we eat. Vitamin B12 is needed to produce hemoglobin.
This condition usually occurs when the bone the bone marrow looses its ability to produce red blood cells.
- Hemolysis: Hemolysis means excessive breakdown of the erythrocytes. This can often lead to anemia.
- Pure Red Cell Aplasia: When the bone marrow loses its capacity to produce red blood cells, it is termed as pure red cell aplasia.
- Polycythemias (or erythrocytoses): This disease is characterized by the presence of more number of erythrocytes. Increase in the amount of red blood cells will increase the blood viscosity. A person suffering from this condition may experience number of symptoms. When such a situation occurs due to some bone marrow abnormalities, it is named as the polycythemia vera.
Inherited hemolytic anemias
These are generally caused due to membrane abnormalities in the erythrocytes. These constitute of a group of inherited disorders and they are:
- Hereditary spherocytosis (HS) syndromes
- Hereditary elliptocytosis
- Hereditary pyropoikilocytosis
- Hereditary stomatocytosis
Hemolytic transfusion reaction
Red blood cells donated may get destroyed following a transfusion. This is mediated by host antibodies when a mis-match occurs in the blood type. This results in causing hemolytic transfusion reaction.
Diet for Iron Deficiency Anemia
- Iron is the most essential nutrient for the proper functioning of the red blood cells.
- The main component of these cells is hemoglobin and this plays a major role in carrying the oxygen to various parts of the body.
- For this it requires plenty of iron and low iron levels can eventually result in developing iron deficiency anemia.
- A person suffering from this condition may experience dizziness, headaches, weakness and fatigue.
- This condition can be treated by eating foods that are rich in iron. For this you can opt for iron supplements and they can be found in any health store or you can even include iron rich foods.
- Include foods such as leafy vegetables, seeds, nuts and red meat for increasing the iron levels in the blood.
- Include foods that are rich in vitamin C along with the foods mentioned above. Foods like strawberries, broccoli, oranges and bell peppers are rich in vitamin C.
Diet for Hemochromatosis
- Make sure you will not include excess iron in your diet as this can again lead to the condition of hemochromatosis.
- This condition is again categorized into abdominal pain, impotence and arthritis.
- Excess iron levels in the blood can also damage vital organs of the body such as heart or liver further leading to other health complications.
- This can be lowered or treated by avoiding foods rich in vitamin C. You can do this by consuming juices or drinks which have vitamin C between meals. This will help in preventing the accumulation of excess iron in the body.
The above mentioned red blood cell disorders can be treated by eating healthy foods and by following a proper diet regularly.