Anemia: What is it? And What You Need to Know

Anemia is a condition in which there is a deficiency of red blood cells or of hemoglobin in the blood, which results in weariness and pallor. Anemia is actually the most common blood condition in the US, affected about 3.5 million Americans.

What are some of the risk factors?

  • Some forms of anemia are hereditary and infants may have the condition from birth
  • Loss of blood from menstruation, or increased blood supply demands from pregnancy
  • Older adults have a greater risk of developing anemia from poor diet or other medical conditions.
  • A lack of B12, folate and iron in the diet

There are more than 400 types of anemia, but they are broken down into 3 categories: caused by blood loss, caused by destruction of red blood cells, and caused by decreased or faulty blood cell production.

Symptoms include:

  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Pale or yellowish skin
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Chest pain
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Headache

At first, symptoms might do unnoticed, but will worsen as the anemia worsens.

Treatment depends on the type and cause of anemia. Some treatments can include iron supplements, vitamin B supplements and blood transfusions.

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