Signs of Anemia
Signs of anemia can be rather vague with mild anemia or you may not even notice anything unusual, but the more serious anemia gets, the more symptoms and signs you will experience.
What is Anemia?
Anemia is when your blood count indicates that your blood has less number of red blood cells than normal, or when your blood cells don’t contain sufficient hemoglobin, which is essential for carrying oxygen to the cells in your body.
• Males and females have different levels of hemoglobin that are considered normal. Less than 13.5 g/100ml in men and less than 12 g/100ml in women generally point to anemia.
• Red blood cells are created in bone marrows and they have a life span of approximately 120 days. Anything- conditions, factors or diseases that may potentially disrupt the normal life span of a red blood cell may lead to anemia.
• Certain hereditary variations in a person’s genes can lead to incorrect or decreased production of red blood cells.
• A healthy and well-balanced diet containing foods that are rich in iron and B-vitamins is recommended to develop and maintain sufficient blood count and to avoid anemia.
• Anemia may occur because of an underlying more serious disease, so if you experience symptoms and signs of anemia, please see your doctor for evaluation.
Anemia has three main causes:
1. High levels of red blood cell destruction
2. Blood loss
3. Lack of red blood cell production
Signs of Anemia:
• Sensations of palpitations- irregular, hard or rapid heartbeats, especially after exercise.
• Pale skin
• Cold hands and feet
• Shortness of breath
• Chest pain
• Concentration problems
• Feeling of faintness due to inability of oxygen transfer into brain
• Sluggishness, weakness, tiredness, loss of energy, fatigue and exhaustion.
• Problems with memory
• Vomiting blood
• Loss of appetite
• Leg cramps
• Low blood pressure
• Tummy pain
More serious anemia symptoms include extreme numbness and coldness, shock, stroke, coma and death. Infections and bleeding can be life threatening in case of serious anemia.
If anemia is caused by iron deficiency, hunger for strange substancessuch as paper, ice and even dirt, and soreness of the mouth with cracks at the corners can be experienced.
Treatment of Anemia:
Anemia treatment varies greatly and it depends on the type and severity of anemia and the underlying cause, including nutritional deficiency, chronic illness, cancer, blood loss and inflammation.
Major cause of anemia is iron deficiency and if this is the case, anemia may be corrected by using iron supplements or increasing the intake of iron rich foods such as green leafy vegetables, peanuts, eggs, whole grains, dried fruits and sea food. Same approach works for anemia due to lack of vitamin B12 and folic acid, try the nutritional supplements or eat more foods that contain B12 and folic acid.
In more severe cases, patient may need hormonal injections or surgery. If anemia is related to blood loss from an injury or bleeding stomach ulcer, red blood cell transfusion in a hospital may be necessary to replace the lost blood.
Return from Signs of Anemia to Glycemic Index home page
Or take me back to Athlete Nutrition from Signs of Anemia
National Heart Lung and Blood Institute. Diseases and Conditions Index: Iron-Deficiency Anemia. May 2006
Little DR. Ambulatory management of common forms of anemia. Am Fam Physician. 1999 Mar 15;59(6):1598-1604