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An Extensive Guide To Understand Anemia and Its Symptoms

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Due to its initial mild symptoms, iron deficiency anemia is mostly overlooked by everybody. But did you know, it has affected more than 1.62 billion people globally? Also, there are more than 400 types of Anemia? Surprisingly, this deficiency condition is not just limited to humans, but it can also affect dogs and cats. It is the most common blood disorder which happens because of a decreased number of red blood cells circulating in the body.


It usually starts with making a person feel fatigued and worsens if not given the proper attention. A person suffering from this condition or having a low blood count is called anemic. So, red blood cells play a significant role in defining and curing anemia.

Red blood cells are produced through a complex process inside the human body. They are made in the bone marrow and after proper maturation are released into the blood. Hemoglobin is a type of protein found in the red blood cells and is responsible for carrying oxygen to the tissues. There are multiple reasons why a body goes low in RBCs. The primary one is that your body usually has low levels of iron, folate or vitamin B12.

Secondly, women may lose red blood cells during their period every month. In addition to the above factors, low RBC count may happen because of intestinal bleeding due to inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis. And apart from these, there are chances that a human body itself may destroy the red blood cells. This condition is usually referred to as hemolytic anemia and commonly seen in the Mediterranean population.

The condition can be cured taking supplements but may vary depending on the deficiency level. But the question that remains is, how would the person know if S/He is anemic or not? What are the signs and symptoms?
Here is the article which focuses mainly on the common signs of anemia:

Fatigue:

Misunderstood as lack of sleep, a person cannot get out of the first gear throughout the day. A person is not able to focus on the work, feels sluggish and sleepy. When these signs become excessive it indicates that the person is suffering from anemia.

Paleness:

A healthy person’s skin colour when observed by pulling down the eyelid is slightly pinkish. A person suffering from very low iron deficiency will have a light pink to white colour of the eye-lid skin. The paleness usually occurs due to inadequate iron consumption in the diet, which further leads to the low production of iron-rich hemoglobin from the bone marrow.

Weakness:

Imagine a young body constantly struggling to walk up even 30 stairs! A person is unable to make it through the workouts and continuously juggles in completing the day in and day out tasks. Along with this, they may feel their muscles are running out of the stream while suffering from this deficiency. A person who is suffering from anemia may experience any of the above symptoms.

This is the most common symptom of anemia, and the hemoglobin level goes down due to multiple reasons like low iron, low folate or low Vitamin B12. A study shows, 12 million people are suffering from vitamin B12 deficiency.

Strange cravings for eating clay, ice and dirt;

It may sound weird but it’s true that, if the person is having Anemic condition, craves to eat non-nutritive substances like clay, dirt and ice. The condition in medical terminology is often referred to as “pica”. The symptoms are usually observed when the iron level goes drastically low in the human body. It is advisable for the person to visit the doctor at the earliest. 

Cold Hands and Feet

Anemic people prefer to keep wearing socks no matter what season it is. They want to keep their feet warm even if it is summer. Persons who feel sluggish throughout the day or who have low-thyroid function often experience cold hands and feet symptoms. The common base for both conditions is the inadequacy of iron in the body. 
 
Hair Fall

People often get shocked by seeing their own hair clogging the shower drain. But little do they know about Anemia symptoms, it is often overlooked. People suffering from anemia symptoms feel dryness, frailness in hairs and the hairs start looking tattered. The person suffering from the symptoms, should undergo the Ferritin test at the laboratories and get the iron levels checked. If it is above 60-70, they are not having iron-deficiency. But, if the levels fall under single digits, they may observe the hair fall and other symptoms. 

 
Brittle Nails

A normal human body produces optimal levels of stomach acids that are necessary for producing intrinsic factor, which is necessary for absorbing vitamin B12  and iron in the human body. If the person observes a nail spoon in a convex shape, they are probably low on iron levels. 

Tongue Swelling and Soreness

The inadequacy of iron in the body may show some uncommon symptoms like swollen or sore tongue. It is many times accompanied by cracks on the sides of the mouth. 

Headaches

Headaches are considered normal and usually associated with body exertion or less sleep. But, even iron deficiency can cause headaches and migraines during menses. The symptoms are significantly observed more in females who have low iron levels compared to healthy ones. 
 
Dizziness

In most of the cases, low blood sugar levels cause dizziness. But, to add to your list, low iron levels also cause dizziness accompanied by different other symptoms mentioned on the list. It is advised that the person should see a doctor if the multiple symptoms remain persistent for a long time.

There are many ways by which the deficiency and the symptoms of anemia can be mitigated. A diet with food containing a high content of iron, folates, and Vitamin B12 is recommended. Supplements might give a short-term cure, but for long term results, you need to maintain a healthy diet.

For diagnosing anemia, the person should go for a blood test that gives complete blood count (CBC). Undergoing this test, a person gets to know about the overall health or any other diseases like leukemia and kidney disease. After looking at each of the components of the CBC report, a physician will be able to guide better. We advise, do not treat the deficiency condition by yourself. If misguided, it may lead to severe complications. The severity may rise to liver damage or leading to constipation. Talk to your doctor for any guidance.

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