Anemia is the most common blood condition in the U.S. It has an effect on 3.5 million Americans every year. You may be asking, “What exactly is anemia?” Well, anemia is a disease in which your body cannot produce the amount of healthy red blood cells it needs to carry oxygen to your tissues or if you have low or abnormal hemoglobin. This disease has many different symptoms for the different causes. The symptoms anemia could cause are fatigue, pale skin, a fast or irregular heartbeat, shortness of breath, chest pain, dizziness, cognitive problems, cold hands and feet, or headaches. Anemia can also be temporary or long-term depending on the cause.
There are more than 400 types of anemia. There are three main causes which include blood loss, red blood cell production has decreased or become abnormal, and destruction of red blood cells. Your lifestyle could also have had some effect on your diagnosis with anemia. For example, if you have a diet lacking in certain vitamins, if you had an intestinal disorder, when ladies bleed a lot during their period, being pregnant can cause it if you are not taking in enough iron, if you are in chronic conditions such as having cancer or liver failure, it can also be genetic. Some other factors would include a history of certain infections and disorders such as alcoholism or autoimmune disorders.
The way you can diagnose whether you have anemia or not is if you go to your doctor and they will take blood tests, ask you questions about your diet, medical history, and alcohol intake. By letting your doctor do the blood test, it will not only confirm that you have anemia; it will most likely point out the underlying cause as well. The blood tests you will have to do might include complete blood count, blood iron level and serum ferritin level, B vitamin and folate levels, special tests that help doctors detect rare causes of anemia such as an immune attack on your red blood cells, red blood cell fragility, defects of enzymes, hemoglobin, and clotting, and also reticulocyte count, bilirubin, and also some other urine or blood tests to see if you have a hemolytic anemia where your red blood cells have a shorter life span than normal. In very rare cases, doctors might have to remove some bone marrow to try and determine the cause of your anemia.
Anemia is a disease that can be treatable. For anemia caused by blood loss, the treatment would be drinking fluids, a blood transfusion, oxygen, and possibly iron to help your body make new red blood cells. If you had chronic blood loss, the main point is to find the source of the bleeding quickly and stop the bleeding as soon as possible. If you have anemia caused by a decreasing in red blood cell production, the treatment would be for the unique cause of the decreasing in red blood cells production. Anemia caused by iron deficiency your doctor will most likely provide iron supplements in the form of ferrous because your body can absorb this kind more easily. Timed-release iron supplements are not a good choice for most people with this problem because iron supplements are mostly absorbed in the upper part of the digestive tract. If you must take iron supplements for your type of anemia please be cautious of these things: do not take more of your iron supplements than prescribed. This can lead to fatigue, vomiting, diarrhea, headache, irritability, heart disease, and joint problems. Iron supplements, like all medication, should be kept out of reach of children. Iron poisoning is actually the most common type of accidental poisoning in children. Even when children just accidentally eat a few tablets can be fatal in a matter of hours. Here are some things to look for: if the child is dizzy, vomiting, confusion, nausea, and diarrhea. While taking iron supplements, like all medications, there are possible side effects. These side effects include nausea, diarrhea, constipation, and stomach pain. Taking your iron with food may help relieve the side effects. Watch for drug interactions, also. If you are being treated for another condition and taking other medications let your doctor know. Also, the body absorbs iron best when taken in a mildly acidic medium, such as drinking a glass of orange juice with your iron.
In conclusion, if you think you or a loved one might have anemia, just remember the symptoms I have listed above and talk to your doctor so you can get blood tests done to be 100% positive. If you do not have anemia and just read this to learn more about it, I hope this was helpful for you on learning about anemia.