Understanding the Causes of Anemia and How it Affects Those Who Have It

Anemia Photo

Everyone feels run-down at times. Sometimes, this is simply a matter of getting too little sleep, having the sniffles or battling too much stress. When you can’t identify a reason for your fatigue, however, there could be an underlying cause for it. One such cause is anemia.

Anemia is a fairly common condition, affecting approximately 3 million Americans each year. There are several types of anemia, but the common thread among them is that either the body’s red blood cell count is lower than normal or the hemoglobin level within the cells is lower than normal. Hemoglobin is responsible for transporting oxygen through the blood to the body’s tissues. If there aren’t enough blood cells containing hemoglobin, or hemoglobin levels are too low, oxygen is not being transported throughout the body efficiently.

When our bodies aren’t getting enough oxygen, we become fatigued. Certainly, this means that the body may feel weak and tired, but it can also mean that you experience:

  • Headaches and dizziness
  • Chest pains
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Shortness of breath
  • Pale skin
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Cognitive problems

When you first begin to suffer from anemia, the symptoms may not be severe; if left untreated, the lack of oxygen will cause the symptoms to worsen over time.

Each of the different types of anemia has a different cause. Some types are caused by low iron levels or vitamin deficiencies. Others, like sickle cell anemia, are inherited and are the result of misshapen blood cells. Still others stem from chronic diseases or diseases of the bone marrow, a tissue in the body that creates red blood cells.

The only definitive way to know if you have anemia is to have a blood test. Tests like the anemia panel can evaluate the components of your blood and related vitamin levels to determine if they are within normal ranges. Also, the sickle cell screen can determine if you are at risk for the inherited form of anemia.

Until such a test is performed and the type of anemia is established, treatment can’t be provided. Because each form of anemia has a different cause, each needs to be addressed differently. Treatments range from simple solutions, like getting more vitamins in your diet, to more complex medical procedures, like blood transfusions.

If you’ve been feeling fatigued or have been experiencing any of the other symptoms associated with anemia, come in to Any Lab Test Now to request your blood test and start learning how to regain your lost energy.

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