Being a student is hard work. But, learning about Anemias with Picmonic can make studying a little more, dare we say, light-hearted.
There are three ways to classify anemias including microcytic, normocytic, and macrocytic anemias. From the infographic below, you can learn how to categorize each anemia as well as their associated causes. With the color coded pathways, you can quickly identify that an iron deficiency or lead poisoning would be potential causes of microcytic anemia. Whereas, alcoholism, liver disease, or reticulocytosis are common causes of non-megaloblastic macrocytic anemia.
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Microcytic anemia: defined as an anemic state with a red blood cell MCV < 80 fL and is caused by a decrease in hemoglobin synthesis. Hemoglobin is composed of both heme, which contains iron and protoporphyrin, and globin chains, so anything that affects the synthesis of these precursors can cause a microcytic anemia. The most commonly tested causes of microcytic anemia include late-stage iron deficiency, anemia of chronic disease, thalassemias, lead poisoning, and sideroblastic anemia.
Normocytic hemolytic anemia: refers to an anemic state in which the average RBC volume is maintained with an MCV between 80-100 fL and hemolysis of red blood cells occurs intravascularly (occurring within blood vessels) or extravascularly (occurring in the liver or spleen, where macrophages consume abnormal RBCs or those tagged by antibodies).
Macrocytic anemia: defined by an anemic state in which mean corpuscular volume (MCV) is greater than 100 fL. Macrocytic anemias are classified as megaloblastic or non-megaloblastic. Megaloblastic etiologies for macrocytic anemia include folate and B12 deficiency, and orotic aciduria. Non-megaloblastic etiologies for macrocytic anemia include liver disease, alcoholism, and reticulocytosis.
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