Description, Causes and Risk Factors:
Normocytic anemias are a categorization of anemias defined as those anemias which display normal-sized erythrocytes (i.e. normal mean corpuscular volume or MCV) and low reticulocyte counts. In general, normocytic anemias are caused by failure of the bone marrow to conduct proper hematopoiesis; consequently, normocytic anemias typically occur in the context of an overall pancytopenia. Failure of the bone marrow may be due to inherent defects of the marrow itself as in aplastic anemia and the myelodysplastic syndromes, or may be due to exogenous infiltration of the bone marrow by malignant cells or infectious organisms.
Normocytic anemia is a type of anemia that is most commonly known to develop due to ageing - with studies showing that it is most likely to affect people over the age of 85. However, it is important to remember that the condition is not solely related to an individual's age and there are a number of instances in which an individual can be born with the condition as well. One of the other normocytic anemia causes is the presence of another medical condition already present in the body. This condition could be anything including kidney diseases, rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and certain cancers. An individual's diet is another factor that plays a huge role in the development of this anemia, with the lack of iron in the diet being the primary contributor although a lack of vitamins is also a very likely cause.
The causes of normocytic anemia can be divided into two groups according to whether the total reticulocyte count is high (for example > 147.5 x 109/L), with blood loss and hemolysis being the most likely culprits.
Other causes include hypersplenism, hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, hyperparathyroidism, hypopituitarism, hypogonadism, aplastic anemia, pure red cell aplasia, bone marrow infiltration, myelosuppression due to drugs, vitamin B12 deficiency, myelodysplastic syndrome.
Its prevalence increases with age, reaching 44 percent in people older than 85 years.
Normocytic anemia symptoms are not very prominent as the condition will usually tend to build up over a period of time. However, when it has fully progressed, the condition will see the individual experience a number of notable problems including weakness, looking very pale due to a lack of adequate blood flow and feeling dizzy or weak in sudden spikes in the seriousness of the condition.
Most often, normocytic anemia is found by routine tests that are part of a physical exam. It might be found by a blood test you get for some other reason. A complete blood count (CBC) can show if you have normocytic anemia.
Examination of the peripheral blood smear (PBS) is as essential as reticulocyte enumeration in the initial work-up of a normocytic anemia. Attention must be paid to all three cell lineages, as abnormalities in each may provide diagnostic clues. For example, many of the hemolytic anemias have characteristic peripheral blood features, such as sickle cells in sickle cell disease, spherocytes in hereditary spherocytosis (HS) and autoimmune hemolytic anemia (AIHA), schistocytes in microangiopathic hemolytic anemia (MAHA) and bite cells in glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency, and dysplastic features suggest underlying bone marrow disorders and require bone marrow examination.
Normocytic anemia treatment is more focused around the kind of lifestyle that one leads as well as controlling the factors that influence it in the first place. For instance if the condition is caused by some other medical condition then it is important for you to abide work towards healing that condition with the help of medication provide by the doctor. In cases where the effects of normocytic anemia are very prominent, your doctor may even have you get regular injections of erythropoietin. This is a substance that helps your bone marrow produce more blood cells - thereby helping all areas of your body receive more oxygen and get rid of issues like regular drowsiness as well as weakness and nausea.
The goal of anemia-directed therapy in patients with either renal insufficiency or inflammation is to improve the hemoglobin level, reduce the need for blood transfusion, and improve quality of life. Interestingly, data suggest that survival might also be improved in anemic patients with heart failure, but higher target hemoglobin levels increase adverse effects and death in patients with chronic kidney disease.
Three forms of recombinant erythropoietin are available: epoetin alfa (human recombinant erythropoietin), epoetin beta (NeoRecormon, which differs from epoetin alfa in terms of glycosylation and sialic acid content), and a longer-acting derivative of epoetin alfa (darbepoetin). All three products have amino acid sequences identical to those of endogenous human erythropoietin but differ from it as well as from each other in terms of glycosylation and the sialic acid content of the glycoprotein. All three brands of recombinant erythropoietin are safe and effective for treating anemia in patients with either renal insufficiency or chronic inflammation, but only the two types of epoetin alfa are available in the United States. The subcutaneous and intravenous routes of drug administration are roughly equivalent, and once-weekly subcutaneous administration of these three erythropoietin preparations appears to be adequate. Some data suggest that concomitant administration of intravenous iron is of incremental benefit even with adequate bone marrow stores. However, iron therapy is currently considered only if patients do not show the expected increase in their hemoglobin level after an adequate trial of erythropoietin therapy by itself. Erythropoietin therapy benefits both critically and chronically ill patients with anemia of inflammation caused by rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn's disease, and cancer. Currently, such therapy is formally approved by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) only for patients with either human immunodeficiency virus infection or cancer undergoing myelosuppressive therapy. In general, higher doses of erythropoietin are used in the setting of anemia of inflammation.
Treatment with recombinant erythropoietin is generally safe, and untoward drug effects are very rare. One rare complication (fewer than 200 cases reported) is pure red cell aplasia caused by neutralizing anti-erythropoietin antibodies, which are usually seen in patients with renal insufficiency. This complication may be more common with a formulation of epoetin alfa (Eprex) that is marketed only outside the United States. Pure red cell aplasia caused by erythropoietin usually responds to immunosuppressive therapy with corticosteroids or cyclosporine with no recurrence. Other side effects of erythropoietin therapy include a rise in blood pressure, reactions at the injection site, and very rarely, seizures.
A diet rich in vitamins, minerals and nutrients is very important when attempting to rid your body of such a physically draining medical condition. In the event that you are pregnant, it helps to increase your intake of vitamins significantly in order to ensure that the baby also gets its share of nutrition. This will help its immune system develop significantly in order to guard it against a number of medical illnesses when it starts to mature as a child.
Since this is a rather commonly faced condition all over the world, there are a number of normocytic anemia treatment options and home remedies that can be used effectively. For instance, one of the most highly touted home remedies when dealing with anemia of any kind is to consume a single ripe banana along with about 2 teaspoons of honey at least twice a day on a regular basis. Creating a mixture of apple juice and tomato juice is also known to be a very effective method of treatment. You can also try soaking about 10 black currants over night in some water and then remove the seeds and have the fruit first thing in the morning. Perform this home remedy religiously for a period of about 3 to 4 weeks for best results. Honey is widely regarded as being one of the most effective substances when it comes to dealing with problems like anemia. The primary advantage that honey offers is the fact that it increases the amount of hemoglobin in the blood - which is exactly what the condition of anemia prevents. Moreover, the fact that it is rich in manganese, copper and iron all contribute to the increase in red blood cell production as well as healthier bone marrow output. You could also try another very highly regarded home remedy for anemia where you are required to create a mixture of beetroot juice and a single cup of apple juice that has been mixed together with either sugar or honey. Drink this concoction at least twice a day, daily for over a month for it to be effective.
Avoid the excessive consumption of teas and coffee as these are known to reduce the body's ability to absorb iron - thereby leading to the development of the condition. In the event that the condition appears to be a hereditary one and runs in the family, it is essential that you discuss the concern with your doctor and ask for his/her views on how to successfully combat the problem.
NOTE: The above information is educational purpose. The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition.
DISCLAIMER: This information should not substitute for seeking responsible, professional medical care.