Anemia is a condition where there you have lowered red blood cell count or less hemoglobin. There are many different types of anemia, and they can range in severity as well as temporary to chronic. It’s possible for people with anemia to experience no symptoms, while others may be very prone to fatigue and short of breath. Anemia is a common blood condition and is more likely to affect young children, women, or people with chronic illnesses or diseases.
Red blood cells are crucial to your health because they help transport oxygen to your body’s organs. Oxygen is crucial for proper body function. A lack of oxygen to your muscles, tissues and organs can lead to fatigue and breathlessness or more serious health issues.
3 Types of Anemia
There are hundreds of types of anemia, but they generally fall into 3 types of anemia.
Anemia from Low RBC Production. A lack of RBC in your body can be a result of a number of causes or conditions. You may have iron deficiency, folate or vitamin B12deficiency, sickle cell anemia, or a bone marrow or stem cell condition. Consider, too, that your vitamin deficiency could be caused by other conditions like Crohn’s disease, alcoholism, or events such as pregnancy or intensive physical training for a marathon or competition.
Anemia from Loss of Blood. You may develop this type of anemia from a variety of conditions, events or medications. If you have heavy menstrual bleeding, or have had multiple pregnancies, this could be a common reason for women. Ulcers, gastritis and hemorrhoids are other common culprits. If you are regular user of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen, you may have developed ulcers from these medications.
Anemia from RBC Destruction. Hemolytic anemia is a type of anemia where RBCs are weaker and unable to get through your circulatory system without rupturing. Again, there are a number of potential causes including clotting disorders, medication side effects, infection, liver or kidney disease, sickle cell anemia, thalassemia, certain foods, immune system attack of RBCs.
As you can see, how your body came to not have enough red blood cells could be due to many reasons, including ones that may not be listed above. It is always best to get accurate testing and diagnosis from your doctor.
Symptoms of Anemia
Paleness or yellow skintone
Fast or irregular heartbeat
Cold hands and feet
Dizziness or lightheadedness
Treatment for Anemia
Ask your doctor for the right treatment for your condition. It can range from vitamin B-12 shots, adjusted treatment for a condition or disease that is causing your anemia, or proper changes to your diet. Iron supplements or tablets are a great way to ensure you are getting daily iron. Ferrous iron can be taken with meals and/or orange juice. Note that caffeinated drinks or food and drink containing calcium may cause issues with the iron pills being absorbed properly. Be sure to schedule follow-up and regular appointments with your doctor to have him or her assess your progress.
If your doctor recommends a change in diet as your means of increasing your iron levels, here are some great sources of iron-rich food:
Dark leafy greens such as kale or spinach
Seafood (oysters, shrimp, sardines)
Meat (chicken, pork, beef, lamb)
Iron-fortified baby formula for infants
Iron-fortified cereals for children and adults
As we mentioned in our previous article on general iron deficiency, it is important that you get enough vitamin C as well as enough iron. Vitamin C helps your body absorb iron better, so be sure to get the best health results by pairing iron-rich foods with good sources of vitamin C such as citrus fruits, tomatoes or Brussels sprouts.
We hope this article has helped give you ideas and encouragement on how to better manage your anemia.