Anemia is the prevalent blood disorder in the United States and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute reports that 3 million Americans suffer from the condition. It is caused by a lack of red blood cells (hemoglobin) in the body and common symptoms include fatigue, fast/irregular heartbeat, dizziness, pale skin, etc. Here are 5 things you absolutely need to know about anemia:
- The most common type of anemia is iron deficiency anemia. It happens when the body doesn’t have enough iron to produce hemoglobin, the protein that enables red blood cells to transport oxygen through the body.
- There are about 400 different causes of anemia and they range from not consuming enough vegetables to more serious concerns like blood cancers.
- People with kidney, liver, and thyroid diseases; as well as inflammatory bowel syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, and cancer are at highest risk of anemia. The same goes for pregnant women (the World Health Organization reports that 40% of pregnant women worldwide suffer from anemia).
- The fatigue, shortness of breath, dizziness, and headache that comes with anemia is caused by a lack of oxygen. Anemia also has a surprising health benefit; people with the condition rarely suffer from infections.
- Anemia causes a strange craving to chew substances that have no nutritional value e.g. ice, paper, and dirt. This condition is called Pica and it is indicative of iron deficiency anemia.
Anemia can be treated with vitamins and iron supplements. When the red blood count is too low, a transfusion or bone marrow transplant may be required. If you constantly feel tired, dizzy, and have an irrational craving for non-nutritional items, you may be suffering from anemia.
If you live or work in the Greater Houston Area, visit a PCP for Life clinic. Call 281-968-4096 for any inquiries.