There could be multiple causes for anemia like poor or restrictive diets, inflammatory bowel disease, or increased requirements during pregnancy.
Anemia is a condition defined by a low amount of red blood cells in the body. The red blood cells carry oxygen to the body's tissues. Anemia can be caused by multiple reasons like iron deficiency, poor nutrition, lack of vitamin B12, chronic disease, kidney disease, and more. The most common type is the iron deficiency one where the body doesn't have enough iron mineral.
You could experience iron deficiency due to poor diet or restrictive diets, inflammatory bowel disease, increased requirements during pregnancy and blood loss through heavy periods or internal bleeding, according to Healthline. When you don't have enough iron your body won't produce enough hemoglobin, the substance in red blood cells that helps them carry oxygen. Without enough iron, you could be left with fatigue and shortness of breath. You can easily rectify this by having enough iron supplements.
There are many factors behind the symptoms of anemia like how severe it is, age, and state of health. Here are seven signs you need to be aware of:
This could happen all over the body or in one part. It looks like a patch of an abnormally light bit of skin if it is only in one part of the body. People with paleness due to anemia will also have pallor in the linings of the eyes, inside of the mouth, and on the surface of the tongue, according to MedicineNet. In dark-skinned people, paleness can be figured out when the mucous membranes are examined.
Tiredness is one of the most common symptoms of anemia and it affects more than half the people suffering from it, according to Healthline. With less oxygen reaching your tissues and muscle they are deprived of energy. Meanwhile, your heart has to work harder to move oxygen-rich blood around your body, which is further tiring for you. However, it can be hard to diagnose with fatigue alone as people tend to have busy lives. Along with tiredness, you could also be experiencing weakness, irritability, and difficulty concentrating.
While there could be multiple reasons for headaches, if you are experiencing frequent headaches, dizziness, and lightheadedness, it could be anemia. This happens because enough oxygen is not reaching your brain. The low hemoglobin level means that the blood vessels in your brain could swell causing pressure and headaches.
A low iron level can lead to brittle nails, according to UPMC. However, this is a less common symptom called koilonychia. In the beginning, you will see your nails chip and crack easily. In extreme cases of iron deficiency, spoon-shaped nails can occur. The middle of the nail dips and the edges are raised. However, this only happens in the most severe cases of iron deficiency-induced anemia.
With a low level of hemoglobin, there will be less oxygen levels too. This means that there will be less oxygen for the muscles to do basic, normal activities like walking. This could lead to increased breathing rate so that your body gets more oxygen. This makes shortness of breath a common symptom. If normal activities like climbing the stairs or working out are making you out of breath, you should see your doctor.
The iron deficiency leads to limited oxygen traveling to organs and body tissues, which affects your hair and skin. It leads to dry and damaged skin and hair. In more severe cases of iron deficiency, there has been hair loss as well. Losing a few strands while washing or combing is normal, however, if you're losing hair in clumps it could be because of anemia.
You could be having a bunch of bizarre food or non-food items cravings. It is more obvious in children. If the child craves for ice, clay, dirt, chalk or paper, that could be a sign of iron deficiency. This condition is called pica. Women might experience it during pregnancy. Less iron in the bloodstream can also lead to feelings of anxiety and colder extremities. It can also lead to a compromised immune system leading to frequent infections.
If you notice any of these symptoms, consult your physician and get proper medication.