Are You Anemic? The Signs to Look For

In anemia, red blood cells are lacking and sufficient oxygen cannot reach the body tissues. Anemia indicates low hemoglobin in the blood, and the result is fatigue. Anemia falls under several types, and the symptoms can be different. Ulcers, cancers, and menstrual problems are some types, and the symptoms can be specifically distinct. In mild anemia, no symptoms may occur. Specific symptoms seem to be familiar to the different types of anemia −

  • Concentration is difficult

  • Headache and shortness of breath

  • Fast heartbeat

  • Loss of energy

  • Sleeplessness

  • Feeling dizzy

  • Cramps in the leg

  • Paleness of skin

Some Types of Anemia

  • Vitamin Deficiency Anemia

  • Aplastic Anemia

  • Iron Deficiency Anemia

  • Thalassemia

  • Sickle Cell Anemia

Likely Causes of Anemia

Congenital anemia is a condition by birth inherited from parents. Acquired anemia is a condition that develops later. In both cases, the absence of adequate red blood cells ( or RBC) to carry oxygen around the body is a severe problem. However, the causes differ according to the anemia type. In pregnancy or menopause and after, anemia or iron shortage may result, usually due to bleeding during periods. It is better to be sure about the cause.

Peptic ulcers lead to blood loss according to the severity of the ulcer. Iron supplements are prescribed. Kidney disease could be the cause. It is the kidneys that help the bone marrow in making RBCs. Chronic ailments over the long term lead to anemia too. A diet lacking vitamins, minerals, and vital nutrients would lead to anemic conditions. Energy is lacking, and the making of RBCs is weakened. Excessive alcohol intake often results in anemia too.

Anemia Caused by Iron Deficiency

What is the cause of iron deficiency? It is the most common type of anemia when the body lacks iron. The bone marrow manufactures hemoglobin, and much iron is required. If iron is short, It will hamper red blood cell production. Pregnant women often suffer anemia due to a lack of iron supplements.

Some other causes are blood loss, as happens from menstrual bleeding. Cancer of the large bowel and stomach or small bowel ulcers are other possible causes. Aspirin could inflame the stomach lining resulting in blood loss.

Vitamin Deficiency

Healthy blood cell production requires Vitamin B12 and folate in addition to iron. Red blood cells suffer if food and nutrition do not include these essentials. Even though Vitamin B12 is consumed, it may not be absorbed. The result is also called pernicious anemia.

Hemolytic Anemia

It develops when red blood cells ( RBCs) are destroyed faster than the bone marrow can produce them. As a result of some blood diseases, red blood cells are destroyed. Hemolytic anemia may be genetic or acquired later in life.

Sickle Cell Anemia

It could be a severe condition that is inherited by birth. This hemolytic anemia form results from defective hemoglobin. The red blood cells become abnormal in shape and resemble a sickle or crescent shape. Since these blood cells die early, there is a significant shortage of red blood cells.

Aplastic Anemia

This condition is rare but can be life-threatening. The cause is that the body does not make ample red blood cells. Several reasons could be responsible. Some of them are infections and toxic chemicals. Others could be autoimmune diseases and certain medicines.

Bone Marrow Disease

Several diseases could hamper red blood cell production in the bone marrow. Some of them are leukemia and myelofibrosis. According to the health condition, such ailments could be mild or endangering life. They are cancerous or cancer-like conditions.

Anemia resulting from inflammation

Several diseases get in the way of the average production of red blood cells. Cancer and HIV/AIDS are some of the severe conditions. Some others are rheumatoid arthritis, kidney disease, and Crohn's disease.

Can Anemia be Prevented?

Certain types of anemia have no prevention. A diet that includes essential vitamins and minerals minimizes the chances of anemia. Make sure that the diet consists of ample iron, folate, Vitamin B12, and Vitamin C. Multivitamin supplements often combine several kinds of vitamins. Iron comes from meats and beans, dry fruit, and green leafy vegetables. Folate and synthetic folic acid are derived from fruits and peanuts, grain products, green peas, and kidney beans. Vitamin B12 comes from meat, dairy, cereals, and soy products. Vitamin C is found in fruits and broccoli, peppers, and tomatoes.

Guard Against the Risk Factors

A diet lacking iron, Vitamin B12, copper, and folate increases the risk of anemia. Intestinal ailments prevent the assimilation of nutrients and the further risk increases. Crohn's disease and celiac disease affect the stomach. Compared to men, women before menopause face more significant risks of anemia through blood loss. After menstruation, the risk is no longer there. Pregnant women need to take a multivitamin with iron and folic acid to counteract anemia. Cancer, kidney failure, and such chronic diseases lead to a shortage of RBCs. A family history of anemia could increase the risk. After the age of 65, greater chances of anemia are found.

Complications Resulting From Neglected Anemia

If neglected and left untreated, severe anemia can be disastrous. Take early action through a healthcare professional and the testing prescribed. Anemia can lead to heart problems like arrhythmia or irregular heartbeat. In anemia, the heart sends out more blood because of a lack of oxygen. That can lead to heart failure or an enlarged heart.  Life can be at risk from inherited anemia, especially among the elderly. The loss of blood in severe anemia can turn fatal.

Folate shortage in pregnant women can lead to the premature birth of the child.

Work and productive life may not be possible because of the extreme fatigue of severe anemia.

Iron deficiency is universally known to be the most common cause of anemia. The characteristics are evident too like tiredness. Ensure the essential vitamins and minerals are regularly included in the diet. An easy solution is the multivitamin supplements prescribed by doctors. Don’t forget to include fresh fruits and vegetables in the diet. Regular health checkups make sure that problems are not gradually developing. Instead of getting lost in nightmares, minimize anemia risks through positive actions and some expense.