Anemia refers to a state that occurs when there aren’t enough good red blood cells that can provide adequate oxygen to the tissues of your body. Anemia, which is also known as low hemoglobin, may make you feel exhausted and weak.
There are many types of anemia. Each has its own reason. Anemia can be short-term or chronic and ranges from mild to very severe. In the majority of cases, anemia is caused by multiple causes. Consult your physician if you suspect you may be suffering from anemia. It could be a warning sign for serious disease.
Treatments for anemia depend on the reason and can range from taking supplements to undergoing medical procedures. It is possible to avoid certain types of anemia through a balanced and varied diet.
- Aplastic anemia
- Anemia caused by iron deficiency
- Sickle cell anemia
- Vitamin deficiency anemia
The signs and symptoms of anemia depend on the severity and cause of the anemia. In the event of the reason for the anemia, you may not experience any symptoms.
The signs and symptoms, if they do happen, may include:
- Skin that is pale or yellowish
- Uncoordinated heartbeats
- Breathing shortness
- Lightheadedness or dizziness
- Chest pain
- Cold feet and hands
In the beginning, anemia can be so subtle that you do not even notice it. But the signs get worse when anemia gets worse.
When is the best time to see a doctor?
Schedule an appointment with your physician if you feel tired and don’t know what is causing it.
Fatigue is caused by a variety of factors other than anemia, so don’t think that because you’re tired, you’re deficient in iron. There are people who discover that their hemoglobin levels are low, which is an indication of anemia after they decide to donate blood. If you’re told you’re not able to donate blood due to low hemoglobin, you should make an appointment with your doctor.
Anemia could be the result of an illness that is present from birth (congenital) or an illness it develops (acquired). Anemia is a sign that your blood isn’t stocked with sufficient red blood cells.
This could occur If:
- The body cannot produce enough red blood cells.
- The process of bleeding causes the loss of red blood cells faster than they are able to be replaced.
- Your body’s body is destroying red blood cells.
What are red blood cells and what do they do?
The body creates three kinds of blood cells: white blood cells that fight infections, platelets that help the blood clot the red blood cell that transport oxygen through your lungs to other parts of your body. They also carry carbon dioxide from your body back to your lung.
The red blood cells have hemoglobin, an iron-rich protein that makes blood red. Hemoglobin helps these red cells transport oxygen out of your lungs into every part of your body. They also transport carbon dioxide from other areas of your body to your lung for exhalation.
The majority of blood cells, including those that make up red blood cells, are created frequently within your bone marrow which is a spongy substance located in the cavities of a lot of your bones. In order to produce hemoglobin as well as red blood cells your body requires iron folate, vitamin B-12, and vitamin B12, and other nutrients found in the food you consume.
Anemia is caused by a variety of causes
Different types of anemia are caused by diverse reasons. They can be caused by:
- Anemia due to iron deficiency. This form of anemia results from a deficiency of iron within your body. Your bone marrow requires iron in order to create hemoglobin. If you don’t have enough iron, your body won’t produce enough hemoglobin to make the red blood cells. Without iron supplements, the condition is seen in a lot of pregnant women. It can also be due to blood loss like bleeding during menstrual cycles; gastric ulcers or in the small bowel or tumors of the large bowel and frequent use of medications for pain without prescription, including aspirin. Aspirin can cause irritation in the stomach’s lining, resulting in the loss of blood. It is essential to identify the cause of iron deficiency in order to avoid any recurrence of anemia.
- Anemia due to vitamin deficiency. In addition to the iron content, you require folate and vitamin B12 to make enough healthy red blood cells. A diet deficient in these, as well as other important nutrients, can result in decreased production of red blood cells. Certain people who consume sufficient B-12 don’t get the vitamin. This could lead to vitamin deficiency anemia. It’s sometimes referred to as pernicious.
- Anemia is caused by inflammation. Certain illnesses, such as HIV/AIDS, cancer Rheumatoid arthritis diseases, Crohn’s, and other chronic or acute conditions that cause inflammation — may hinder the creation of blood red cells.
- Aplastic anemia. This rare, life-threatening condition happens when the body is unable to make enough blood red cells. The causes of aplastic anemia are illnesses, certain medications or autoimmune conditions, and exposure to harmful chemicals.
- Anemias related to bone marrow disorders. Many illnesses, like myelofibrosis and leukemia, may cause anemia due to the effect of blood flow in the bone marrow. The results of these types of cancer and other cancer-like conditions range from minor to life-threatening.
- Hemolytic anemias. The anemia group is caused by red blood cells that are destroyed more quickly than bone marrow could replace them. Certain blood disorders increase the destruction of red blood cells. The risk of inheriting hemolytic anemia or might be diagnosed later on in the course of.
- Anemia of the Sickle Cell. This rare and often fatal condition is known as hemolytic anemia. It is caused by a deficient form of hemoglobin which causes red blood cells into an unusual shape, a crescent (sickle) form. These blood cells that are irregular are dying prematurely, leading to a constant lack of blood red cells.
These elements put you at a higher risk of getting anemia
- A diet is deficient in certain minerals and vitamins. A diet that is consistently deficient in iron folate, vitamin B-12, and copper may increase the likelihood of suffering from anemia.
- Intestinal disorders. A digestive disorder that hinders absorption of nutrients by the small intestine such as Crohn’s or celiac disease could lead to anemia.
- Menstruation. It is generally accepted that women who haven’t experienced menopausal symptoms are more likely to develop anemia due to iron deficiency than men and women who are postmenopausal. Menstrual cycles cause an increase in red blood cell count.
- Pregnancy. If you are pregnant and don’t take a multivitamin supplement with folic acid and iron, can increase the risk of developing anemia.
- Chronic diseases. If you suffer from kidney disease, cancer, or any other chronic condition you may be at risk of having anemia from chronic illness. These conditions can cause the deficiency of red blood cells.
The slow, continuous loss of blood caused by an ulcer or any other sources within your body could decrease the amount of iron, resulting in anemia due to iron deficiency.
- Family background. If your family history includes an inheritance history of anemia, like sickle cell anemia, then you are also at risk of being at an increased chance of developing the disease.
- Other causes. An infection history blood diseases, blood disorders, and autoimmune diseases increase the risk of developing anemia. Drinking alcohol, exposure to harmful chemicals and the use certain medications can alter the production of red blood cells, which can result in anemia.
- Age. Over 65-year-olds are at a higher risk of anemia.
If not treated, anemia may lead to a myriad of health problems including:
- Extreme fatigue. Anemia severe can leave you exhausted and unable to do the things you normally need to do.
- Pregnancy complications. Pregnant women who suffer from folate deficiency anemia are more susceptible to complications, like premature birth.
- Heart issues. Anemia may cause fast or irregular rhythm (arrhythmia). If you’re suffering from anemia, your heart pumps blood to compensate for the lack of oxygen in your blood. This can result in increased heart size or failure.
- Death. Certain inherited anemias like sickle cell anemia can cause life-threatening complications. The loss of blood rapidly can result in severe and acute anemia, which may cause death. For older adults, anemia is associated with a greater risk of dying.
A variety of forms of anemia cannot be avoided. However, you can reduce the risk of anemia due to iron deficiency and vitamin deficiency anemias by consuming the right diet, which includes various minerals and vitamins, which includes:
- Iron. Iron-rich foods include beef, other meats as well as lentils, beans as well as iron-fortified cereals as well as dark green leafy veggies, and dried fruits.
- Folate. This nutrient, as well as its synthetic form, folic acids is present in fruit and juices as well as dark green leafy vegetables green peas, peanuts, kidney beans, and grain products that are enriched such as pasta, bread, cereals, and rice.
- Vitamin B-12. Foods that are high in vitamin B12 include dairy products, meat as well as fortified cereals and soy products.
- Vitamin C. Foods high of Vitamin C are citrus fruit, juices as well as broccoli, peppers, melons, tomatoes, and strawberries. They also aid in increasing the absorption of iron.
If you’re worried about getting enough nutrients and vitamins from food Ask your physician if the multivitamin could help.
In order to diagnose anemia, your physician will likely inquire about your medical history and family background, conduct an exam of the body and perform the tests listed below:
- The complete count of blood (CBC). The CBC will measure the number of blood cells present in the blood sample. If you have anemia, your doctor is likely to be looking at the number of red blood cells that are within the blood (hematocrit) as well as the hemoglobin levels in your blood.
Normal values for adult hematocrit differ based on medical practice however, they are typically between 40 to 50% for males and between 35% and 43 percent for women. Normal adult hemoglobin values range from typically 13.6 or 16.9 grams for deciliters males and 11.9 up to 14.8 grams per deciliter for women.
There is a possibility that numbers are less for those who are engaged in vigorous physical activities and are pregnant or older years. Smoking cigarettes and living at high altitude could lead to higher numbers.
- Test to determine the dimensions and form of red blood cell. Certain red blood cells may also be tested for abnormal dimensions, shapes and colors.
Diagnostic tests for additional diagnostics
If you are diagnosed of anemia, the doctor may order additional tests to find out the cause. Sometimes, it is essential to analyze the bone marrow to identify anemia.
Treatment for anemia depends on the root of the problem.
- Anemia is caused by iron deficiency. Treatment for this kind of anemia is usually supplementing with iron and altering your diet. For some, it could mean getting iron via the vein.
If the reason for iron deficiency is the loss of blood — apart from menstrual bleeding, the cause of the bleeding has to be identified and the bleeding must be stopped. This may require surgery.
- Anemia is caused by vitamin deficiency. Treatment for vitamin C and folic acid deficiency is to take supplements from your diet and a boost in the amount of these nutrients you consume in your diet.
If you find that your digestion is having difficulty absorbing vitamin B-12 from the foods you consume and you are in need of Vitamin B-12 injections. In the beginning, you may get shots once a day. In time, you’ll require shots every month, or perhaps for the rest of your all life, depending on the situation.
- Anemia from chronic disease. There’s no particular treatment for this kind of anemia. Doctors concentrate on treating the disease that is causing it. If symptoms are extreme, a blood transplant or injection of the synthetic hormone that is normally created by the kidneys (erythropoietin) could help to stimulate the production of red blood cells and help ease fatigue.
- Aplastic anemia. Treatment options for this type of anemia could include blood transfusions that boost levels of red blood cell. It is possible to require an organ transplant to replace bone marrow if your bone marrow isn’t producing healthful blood cells.
- Anemias linked to bone marrow disorders. Treatment for these different ailments can involve medications chemotherapy or bone transplantation of the bone marrow.
- Hemolytic anemias. Management of hemolytic anemias entails avoidance of medications that are suspect, treatment for infections, and taking medications that suppress the immune system, which might be attacking the red blood cells of your body. Hemolytic anemia that is severe usually requires regular treatment.
- Anemia of the Sickle Cell. Treatment may include painkillers, oxygen, and intravenous and oral fluids to ease discomfort and to prevent complications. Doctors may also suggest blood transfusions, supplements with folic acid as well as antibiotics. A cancer medication called Hydroxyurea (Droxia, Hydrea, Siklos) can be used to treat sickle cell anemia.
- Thalassemia. The majority of cases of thalassemia is moderate and do not require treatment. The more severe forms of thalassemia typically necessitate blood transfusions supplements with folic acid and medications, as well as elimination of the spleen or a bone marrow stem cells transplant.
Making preparations for your appointment
Set up the appointment to see your primary healthcare physician in case you experience long-term fatigue or other symptoms or signs that make you anxious. He or she may refer you to a doctor who specializes in treating blood disorders (hematologist), the heart (cardiologist) or the digestive system (gastroenterologist).
Here are some tips to help you prepare for your appointment.
What can you do
Before you go to your appointment, create an agenda of the following:
- The symptoms you are experiencing and the time they started
- Personal information that is important to you, such as the most significant stresses, medically implanted equipment, contact with toxic substances or chemicals, or the most recent life-altering changes
- All medicines, vitamins, and other supplements you consume and the dosages
- Questions you can ask your doctor
For anemia, the most important questions you should ask your doctor are:
- What’s the likely reason for my symptoms?
- Are there any other causes that could be a factor?
- Do I require tests?
- Is my anemia likely to be temporary or is it long-lasting?
- What are the available treatments and which you would you recommend?
- What kind of side effects should I anticipate from this treatment?
- I have other health problems. How do I handle them all?
- Do I have to limit my diet?
- Do I have to add certain foods to my diet? How often do I have to eat these food items?
- Are you able to provide brochures or other printed material I could use? Which websites would you recommend?
What should you expect from your doctor?
Your doctor will likely inquire about your health like:
- Are your symptoms intermittent? Do they fluctuate or are they consistent?
- What is the severity of your symptoms?
- Does anything appear to ease your symptoms?
- What is it that appears to aggravate your symptoms?
- Are you a vegetarian?
- How many servings of fruit as well as vegetables are typically consumed each day?
- Do you consume alcohol? If yes what is the frequency, and how many drinks do typically consume?
- Are you a smoker?
- Have you recently given to more than one time?