What Is Anemia?

What Is Anemia?

Anemia can be fairly common and millions of people deal with the condition. Getting a diagnosis of anemia, since it’s so common, might not seem like it’s a problem, but it can be if you ignore it.

Anemia is a medical condition in which the body doesn’t have as many red blood cells as it needs. For whatever reason, the person is not producing enough or there’s a reduction in production.

A person can have anemia if there isn’t enough hemoglobin. This is the protein that colors the blood cells and this is the protein that has the iron the body needs. Hemoglobin enables the red blood cells to do their job.

Your red blood cells provide important duties throughout the body. They work to bring oxygen where it’s needed and they take away carbon dioxide. If they don’t have enough hemoglobin, they can’t properly take the oxygen through the body.

Since there are different types of anemia, addressing this highly treatable condition depends on the type that you have. Your doctor will do blood work, such as a complete blood count, that will show how many, how big or small and how much hemoglobin are contained in your red blood cells.

And since the body is supposed to store iron, your ferritin level may also be tested. Ferritin is the protein that sticks to iron. If your ferritin is low, it means your body has a low amount of stored iron.

Once you receive a diagnosis and know what’s causing the anemia, the cause is first addressed. The next step is to treat by raising the red blood cell count or hemoglobin deficiency.

Anemia is treated by taking supplements – such as by taking iron supplements containing ferrous iron (called ferrous sulfate). Some doctors prescribe prenatal vitamins – even for patients who are not pregnant – because of how iron rich the prenatal vitamins are. If the anemia persists, it’s treated with injected iron and in severe cases, a blood transfusion may be done.

There are some things you can do at home to help treat (and prevent) anemia. You can make sure that your diet includes plenty of iron rich foods. These are fruits with vitamin C that help to up the iron level in the body.

Fruits such as melons, strawberries, oranges and cantaloupe help as do vegetables like sweet potatoes or leafy green foods. Meat, (particularly red meat) and the yolks of eggs are also rich in iron. When you eat iron rich foods, you want to make sure that you avoid drinking tea – because tea has tannin which can prevent the body from taking in the iron in foods.

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