What is anemia?
Anemia is a condition in which you lack enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen to your body’s tissues. Put simply, a person is anemic when the number of red blood cells circulating through their body is lower than normal.
There are many forms of anemia, each with its own cause. Anemia can be temporary or long term, and it can range from mild to severe.
The most common type of anemia, also known as iron-poor blood, is a common disorder that occurs when your body doesn’t produce enough red blood cells due to lack of iron. Without iron, your red blood cells may become low in a protein called hemoglobin, which carries oxygen from the lungs to every cell in the body. Without oxygen, you essentially begin to suffocate from within.
Anemia Signs and Symptoms
People who are anemic most often experience fatigue. While it’s normal to feel tired after a long day at work or a heavy exercise session, when you’re anemic, you feel weary after shorter and shorter periods of exertion as your body’s cells become starved for oxygen.
As anemia worsens, your body can experience visible physical changes — your skin could become pale, your nails brittle and cuts may take longer to stop bleeding.
Other symptoms associated with anemia include:
- Shortness of breath
- Weakness of the muscles
- Cold hands and feet or a sensation of numbness and tingling
- Racing or irregular heartbeat
- Inability to concentrate or think clearly, confusion and forgetfulness
- Chest pain
- Sexual dysfunction
- Loss of appetite
- Mood changes
- Low blood pressure
These symptoms are likely to be very light at first, especially if you have mild or moderate anemia. Our bodies are very adaptable and will try to compensate for the loss of oxygen in the blood. As anemia advances, your body will be less able to adapt, and the symptoms will become more obvious.
What causes anemia?
A number of factors can cause your body to produce too few red blood cells, or red blood cells lacking in sufficient hemoglobin.
- Diet. If your diet is lacking in foods containing iron, folic acid, vitamin B12, and other essential nutrients, your red blood cell production can falter.
- Medical Conditions. Chronic illnesses like leukemia (blood cancer), diabetes, kidney disease, and HIV/AIDS can interfere with the body’s ability to produce red blood cells. Women who are pregnant also can become anemic.
- Genetic Disorders. Children can inherit conditions, like aplastic anemia, that prevent them from producing enough red blood cells. Inherited conditions like sickle cell anemia and hemolytic anemia also can prompt the body to destroy red blood cells.
- Increased red blood cell destruction due to an illness that affects your spleen, the organ that normally removes worn-out red blood cells from your body. A diseased or enlarged spleen can begin removing more red blood cells than necessary.
- Blood loss. When the amount of blood lost is greater than your body’s ability to replace the lost red blood cells, you can become anemic. Women who experience heavy menstrual periods, for example, and people who have internal bleeding due to ulcers or other digestive problems are at the greatest risk for anemia. Sometimes this type of blood loss is silent and unrecognized until anemia shows up on a blood test. External bleeding from surgery or trauma also can cause anemia.
- Low production of red blood cells. Even if you’re not bleeding, old red blood cells constantly need to be replaced with new ones.
If a blood test indicates that you have anemia, the following supplements help:
Opti-Fe+; Opti-iron contains all the cofactors; Vitamin C, Vitamin B12, and Folic acid which all aid to build blood. The iron in Opti-Fe+ is in the bis-glycinate form which is the most absorbable form of iron that causes less constipation and digestive upset.
Iron Response; Women require more iron than men and are more likely to develop iron deficiency anemia‚ since women lose blood during their menstruation. As a result‚ women who suffer from heavy periods may need to take an iron supplement like Innate Response Formulas’ Iron Response.
B12 5-MTHF; Vitamin B12 deficiency anemia means that your body doesn’t have enough healthy red blood cells because you’re low in vitamin B12. MTHF is the methylated form of folic acid that makes it readily available to the body.
If you have anemia or think you may have anemia, call Doctor’s Nutrition today at 1-800-824-0194 for a complete blood test.