Fatigue, shortness of breath, pale skin, headaches, and dizziness – all complaints that most of us complain of from time to time.
We usually think of these symptoms as being due to relatively minor issues which are treatable almost instantly, such as dehydration, lack of sleep, or poor diet.
However, would you believe that these are also the most common signs of a serious blood disorder?
Affecting over 30 percent of humans, anemia is the world’s most common blood disorder.
What is anemia you ask? And what aspects of these prevalent ailments should I watch out for?
Anemia is defined as the decreased level ofhaemoglobin or red blood cell count in the bloodstream or the inability of the blood to carry sufficient oxygen around to body to the organs for them to function properly.
As introduced, the most common signs of anemia are these frequent complaints, which can vary in severity.
Fatigue is the most common sign of anemia. In fact, it is the most common sign of many illnesses.
With anemia-related fatigue, it occurs as there are not enough red bloods cells to carry oxygen to the different parts of the body, especially the brain.
With oxygen being necessary for the body to carry out its metabolic functions to produce energy, a decreased amount of oxygen in the blood lowers metabolism and therefore energy levels also.
Are you generally fit and healthy, but feel tired and short of breath after walking up the stairs at work?
If this becomes a regular occurrence, it is a clear sign that something is up, and should be checked out.
This can be a sign that your body isn’t getting the oxygen it needs, and while potentially due to other issues, such as asthma, anemia should not be ignored as a potential cause.
When your organs don’t get enough oxygen, the lungs try to compensate by bringing more oxygen into the blood, and putting them under increased pressure which leads to shortness of breath or wheezing.
Headaches can occur for a number of reasons, such as from dehydration and tension. It can even be down to the weather. However, if you feel you are getting headaches on a regular basis, and nothing you do to alleviate the headaches will work, it could be a signs of anemia. As explained already, a lack of oxygen flowing to particular parts of your body can cause issues. The head is no different, and a lack of oxygen in the brain results headaches and dizziness.
Does your skin look paler than usual? The human skin becomes paler when blood flow, red blood cells in particular, to the skin is reduced.
There are a number of areas in the body where one can easily tell if this is anemia. By checking the palms of your hands, under your fingernails, or, in particular, at the mucous membranes under your eyes, you can get a good indication of whether any paleness may be due to anemia. This is due to these parts of the body being more vascular, so they show up quicker than other body parts if not getting enough red blood cells. Usually red in colour, these body parts become pale when anemic.
The circulation of blood in the body leads gives a healthy colour to the skin, therefore any blood conditions do an impact on the complexion of the skin.
Iron deficiency anemia is the most common form of anemia. Iron is needed to produce the haemoglobin that transports oxygen in the blood. When you are anemic, the heart is put under more pressure to pump blood around the body to ensure that blood is pumped to the areas of the body that need it most. This in turn leads to the heart beating faster, and to heart palpitations. Many people panic when they get heart palpitations, and it is difficult not to given that the heart is such a vital organ. Keeping your iron levels at a consistent level is one of many ways to keep your heart healthy.
While these are some of the main symptoms of anemia, there are also many more, including brittle nails, tongue swelling or soreness, and numbness. If experiencing more than one of these conditions, it is vital to see your doctor. Anemia can be diagnosed with a simple blood test and can be treated relatively easily once the cause is determined.
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