Anemia is a condition that can develop in anyone, of any age, for a variety of different reasons. It happens when a person’s blood lacks enough healthy red blood cells or hemoglobin – which is important because it binds oxygen to the blood and helps it circulate around the body. A lack of hemoglobin can damage your cells and your organs, and potentially cause a lot of serious health issues. So, it’s important to know. Are you anemic? Check on the various symptoms and signs below to help find out.
Are You Anemic?
With a disease that has so many different symptoms, it can be hard to tell whether you’re anemic or not, but there are a few key things to watch out for. There are seven types of anemia, and all have slightly different symptoms.
Iron Deficiency Anemia
This is the most common form of anemia and is most prevalent in women. It is usually a side effect of chronic bleeding from menstruation, fetal demands during pregnancy, or in young children or teens of both genders during growth spurts.
The disease is treated with iron supplements and, in more serious cases, with iron injections.
The general symptoms include tiredness, weakness of the limbs, shortness of breath and a fluttering heartbeat. In some rare cases, people might have cravings for strange foods such as coal, starch and mud. It’s weird, but true!
This form of anemia is quite rare and also quite serious. It occurs when a person’s bone marrow doesn’t create enough new blood cells to keep up with the body’s demands. It has a number of possible consequences including internal bleeding, infections, enlarged heart, arrhythmia and even heart failure in some instances.
Over 50% of sufferers of Aplastic Anemia don’t have any direct associated cause, but it can be a result of exposure to pesticides, benzene, radiation, diseases like hepatitis and autoimmune disorders like HIV, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis.
Symptoms include fatigue, shortness of breath, headaches, vertigo, coldness in your extremities, and chest pains.
This form of anemia is a dangerous one that can lead to an enlarged heart, arrhythmia, and even heart failure in severe cases. It’s a condition that leads to the destruction and eradication of the body’s red blood cells before their normal cycle is completed.
It can be inherited and acquired without any genetic predisposition. The main symptoms include jaundice, non-specific pains in the upper abdomen area and leg ulcers.
Alpha and Beta Thalassemia is an inherited form of anemia which causes the body to produce less red blood cells than what would be considered normal. Strangely enough, it’s mostly only found in individuals of Middle Eastern, Italian, Greek, Asian or African ancestry.
As well as the usual anemia symptoms, people with Alpha or Beta Thalassemia can have symptoms like a loss of appetite, very dark colored urine, delayed onset puberty and jaundice.
Sickle Cell Anemia
This form of anemia is a very serious illness. It causes the body to start growing ‘C’ shaped red blood cells. The body usually produces round ‘O’ shaped red blood cells that easily flow in the blood stream. The sickle-shaped ‘C’ shapes tend to clump and flow poorly, leading to poor oxygen transfer.
As well as that, sickle-shaped cells die off much faster than regular shaped red blood cells, meaning the body can’t keep up with the demand. This can cause severe pain throughout the body.
Athletes especially need to be aware if they have sickle cell anemia because there can be dire results if they don’t train properly with awareness towards their disease!
Its usual symptoms include the standard anemia issues – fatigue, vertigo, coldness in the extremities and chest pains.
This form of anemia causes the body to produce less healthy red blood cells by blocking the absorption of the vitamin B12, which is absorbed from various foods. This is due to a lack of a protein caused ‘intrinsic factor’ in the stomach. Pernicious anemia can also be caused by not eating enough foods with Vitamin B12.
It can have quite serious symptoms, including the ones normally associated with anemia. These include nerve issues, dementia, depression, bloating & gas problems and unexplained weight loss.
It can be treated with B12 supplements.
This form of anemia is quite rare and inherited. It prevents your bone marrow from making healthy blood cells and can lead to serious medical conditions like leukemia. The average lifespan for someone born with Fanconi Anemia is between 20 and 30 years. The symptoms – including the regular symptoms of anemia – include bone marrow failure, birth defects, and developmental impairments.
Many types of anemia can be managed with supplements or other lifestyle tweaks. The answer to the question “are you anemic?” can be answered with some common sense and most importantly, a trip to your local medical professional. After asking about your family and medical history, performing a physical exam, your doctor will absolutely test your blood, as it’s a blood disorder.