Anemia occurs when you do not have sufficient red blood cells to carry oxygen to the tissues of your body. Also known as low haemoglobin, this makes you feel weak and tired. The condition may be temporary or last longer and this can range from mild to severe. You need to visit a doctor when you suffer from this condition and this may be a warning sign of serious disease. The treatment will depend on the exact cause and may range from taking supplements to undergoing medical treatments. You can avoid some kinds of anemia by eating a well-balanced and healthy diet.
Different kinds of anemia
- Vitamin deficiency anemia – The body requires vitamin B-12 and folate to produce sufficient red blood cells. If your diet lacks them and other key nutrients, then this may lead to decreased production of red blood cell. Some people who take sufficient B-12 cannot absorb the vitamin which causes vitamin deficiency or pernicious anemia.
- Aplastic anemia – This life-threatening condition takes place when the body cannot produce sufficient red blood cells. Some causes of aplastic anemia include –autoimmune diseases, infections, exposure to toxic chemicals and certain medicines.
- Iron deficiency anemia – This occurs due to iron shortage in the body. Your bone marrow requires iron to make haemoglobin and without sufficient iron, the body fails to produce sufficient hemoglobin for red blood cells. This kind occurs for many pregnant women. It occurs due to loss of blood such as – small bowel, ulcer in stomach, heavy menstrual bleeding, cancer of large bowel and use of pain relievers regularly. This may lead to inflammation of tstomach lining causing blood loss.
- Sickle cell anemia – This serious condition is hemolytic anemia which occurs from defective form of haemoglobin. This forces red blood cells to assume unusual sickle shape. These irregular blood cells die out prematurely causing extreme shortage of red blood cells.
Signs and symptoms
This depends on the cause and severity of anemia. Some signs and symptoms are the following:
- Yellowish or pale skin
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Lightheadedness or dizziness
- Irregular heartbeats
- Cold hands and feet
Causes of Anemia
It can occur due to some birth control or a condition you develop later. This happens when:
- The body cannot make sufficient red blood cells
- The body destroys red blood cells
- Bleeding causes to lose red blood cells quickly than they can be replaced
- Diet without some vitamins and minerals – A diet which is low in Vitamin B-12, copper, folate and iron increases the risk of anemia.
- Intestinal disorders – If you have intestinal disorder, then this may affect the absorption of nutrients in your small intestine like celiac disease and Crohn’s disease may put you at greater risk.
- Menstruation – Women who have not had menopause are at greater risk of iron deficiency anemia than men and postmenopausal women. Menstruation leads to loss of red blood cells.
- Pregnancy – When you are pregnant and do not take a multivitamin with iron and folic acid, this increases the risk of getting this condition.
- Chronic conditions – When you suffer from kidney failure, cancer or other severe condition, you might be at greater risk of anemia of chronic disease. Such conditions cause shortage of red blood cells.
- Family record – If your family has a past history of inherited anemia like sickle cell anemia, then you might be at increased risk of this condition.
- Other factors – The history of blood diseases, autoimmune disorders and certain infections might increase the risk of getting this condition. Alcoholism, some exposure to toxic chemicals and taking certain medications may affect the production of red blood cell production and cause anemia.
- Age – People who are above 65 years have greater chances of suffering from this condition.
If you do not treat the condition on time, then this may lead to several health problems. This will include:
- Extreme fatigue – Severe anemia makes you extremely tired and you fail to do your daily works.
- Pregnancy issues – Pregnant women who have folate deficiency anemia are more likely to face complications such as premature birth.
- Heart problems – It may cause irregular or uick heartbeat (arrhythmia). When you become anemic, your heart will pump more blood to make up for lack of oxygen in your blood. This causes heart failure or enlarged heart.
- Death – Certain inherited anemia may be risky for your life. Losing a lot of blood can lead to acute anemia which may be fatal. In case of old people, it is related to increased risk of death.
When you need to visit a doctor
When you feel tired and do not know the reason behind it, you need to book a private GP appointment in London right away. Fatigue can occur when you have low haemoglobin which denotes anemia.
If you are extremely worried about getting sufficient vitamins and minerals from food, then you should see a doctor and find out if a multivitamin can help in your case.