Iron-deficiency Anemia

Sickle cell Anemia






Anemia is referred to a lack of red blood cells– erythrocytes, which is the oxygen-carrying cell in the blood that contains the pigment hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is the iron-containing protein found in erythrocytes produced in the bone marrow, that combines with oxygen from the lungs and is carried and distributed to the cells and tissues of the body. There are several kinds of anemia, produced by a variety of underlying causes. These types are classified by the size of the red blood cell present in the body: decreased size(microcytic), normal size(normocytic) or enlarged size (macrocytic or megaloblastic).

Microcytic Anemia
The most common type of microcytic anemia (where blood cells measure under under 80 femtoliters) is iron-deficiency anemia. Other types of microcytic anemias result from hemoglobinopathies, which are genetic defects that result in the abnormal structure of one of the globin chains of the hemoglobin molecule. The most common of these disorders are sickle cell anemia and thalassemia.

Normocytic Anemia
Normocytic anemia (blood cell size of 80-100 fl), is primarily caused as a side effect of acute blood loss, renal failure, or liver failure. A rarer type of normolytic anemia is aplastic anemia, or bone marrow failure, caused by the inability of the bone marrow to produce blood cells. Aplastic anemias are much rarer than dietary deficiency or genetic defect anemias, and progress much more rapidly.

Macrocytic Anemia
Macrocytic anemia (blood cell size greater than 100 fl) is most commonly caused by a deficiency on vitamin B12, folic acid, or both. This is due to inadequate intake or absorption. Pernicious anemia is caused by is an autoimmune condition where the body lacks intrinsic factor, a glycoprotein produced by cells in the stomach, which is required to absorb vitamin B12 from food. Another way to obtain macrocytic anemia is chronic alcoholism.

Paleopathology of the Anemias
The paleopathology of the first agricultural populations has created alot of interest recently, since the answer to the question of whether or not the advantages of an agricultural way or life outweight the disadvantages can be easily found in the remains of those populations. Most skeletal changes involved with anemia consists of cranial vault bone thickening, trabecular bone coarsening, thinning of the cortical bone, and metaphyseal widening (Ortner, 2003). J. L. Angel hypothesized that the diploic thickness present in crania diagnosed with anemia must reflect a red cell production by the hyperostotic bone almost twice of the normal diploe (J. L. Angel, 1966)