What is anemia?
Anemia is not having enough red blood cells Red Blood Cells The main components of blood include Plasma Red blood cells White blood cells Platelets read more or hemoglobin. Red blood cells carry oxygen from your lungs to all of your other organs. Hemoglobin is the substance inside your red blood cells that actually carries the oxygen.
When you have too few red blood cells or too little hemoglobin, your blood can’t carry all the oxygen your body needs
Anemia causes tiredness and weakness
There are many causes of anemia
It's important to test for anemia as you get older because it can shorten your life span
What causes anemia?
Causes of anemia include:
Losing a lot of blood because of an injury, heavy menstrual periods Abnormal Uterine Bleeding (AUB) Your uterus (womb) normally bleeds during your monthly period. Abnormal uterine bleeding is bleeding that's different from your usual period. You may have bleeding between periods, a period... read more , or digestive or urinary tract problems (chronic bleeding)
Not making enough red blood cells because your body lacks enough iron Iron Deficiency Iron deficiency is a common cause of anemia, a condition in which the number of red blood cells is low. Iron deficiency usually results from loss of blood in adults (including bleeding from... read more , vitamin B12 Vitamin B12 Deficiency Vitamin B12 deficiency can occur in vegans who do not take supplements or as a result of an absorption disorder. Anemia develops, causing paleness, weakness, fatigue, and, if severe, shortness... read more , or folate Folate Deficiency Folate deficiency is common. Because the body stores only a small amount of folate, a diet lacking in folate leads to a deficiency within a few months. Not eating enough raw leafy vegetables... read more , or because you have leukemia Leukemias or another cancer
Your body destroying too many red blood cells
What are the symptoms of anemia?
Symptoms depend on how severe your anemia is.
Mild anemia causes:
Feeling weak and tired
Severe anemia causes:
Feeling faint and dizzy
Weak, fast pulse
Lower leg cramps during exercise
Shortness of breath
How do doctors tell if I have anemia?
Doctors do a blood test to measure your levels of hemoglobin and red blood cells. They may do other tests to find the cause of your anemia.
How do doctors treat anemia?
If a health problem is causing your anemia, doctors treat that health problem. Treatment depends on the type of anemia you have. Doctors may treat anemia with:
Iron supplements, taken as pills or by IV (directly into your vein)
Other supplements, such as vitamin B12 or folate
Medicine that causes your body to make more red blood cells