All About Anemia

Anemia is a condition where the body does not produce enough red blood cells or your blood cells don’t have enough protein (hemoglobin), which leads to low oxygen in tissues and organs.  Anemia is a very prevalent condition that affects more than 3 million Americans.  There are a couple different types of anemia and symptoms, such as:

  • Iron Deficiency Anemia – This is the most common type of anemia.  It happens when your body doesn’t get enough iron, or has difficulty absorbing iron, which leads to a lack of protein in blood cells.  This can be due to diet, blood loss, or conditions such as Crohn’s Disease and Celiac Disease.
  • Vitamin Deficiency Anemia – This type is due to your body not getting enough vitamin B12, which is necessary for red blood cell production.  This can be due to diet, intestinal problems, or autoimmune diseases.
  • Anemia as a result of other diseases – Some diseases, such as kidney disease, prevent the body from creating red blood cells or result in large amounts of blood loss – due to treatments or otherwise, which can lead to anemia.
  • Hereditary Anemia – Certain blood diseases are passed down through family genes, such as
    • Sickle Cell Anemia – body produces hard, curved cells that can get stuck in blood vessels
    • Thalassemia – body produces less red blood cells and hemoglobin than normal
    • Aplastic Anemia – body stops making enough new blood cells

Symptoms of Anemia include:

  • Fatigue (tiredness)
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Numb or cold hands and feet
  • Low body temperature
  • Irritability
  • Poor concentration
  • Etc

So, how do you treat or prevent anemia?  One major way is to make sure to eat foods that are high in protein and iron (spinach, kale, fish, tofu, lean red meat, etc), doctor prescribed supplements, increase fruit juice intake to help with iron absorption.

For more information about anemia, testing, and how to prevent it, visit:
Avoiding Anemia – NIH
Anemia Fact Sheet – Women’s Health
About Anemia – Kids’ Health

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