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Anemia is a condition that pertains to red blood cells and Hemoglobin which is a molecule within the red blood cell.
Hemoglobin is the part of the cell that oxygen molecules bind to. As the red blood cells are circulating through the body, the oxygen is given over to the cells on a need-to basis. Any condition which lowers the amount of red blood cells in the body or the amount of hemoglobin can cause anemia.
There are many different types and causes of anemia:
• Hereditary and congenital anemia’s such as: sickle cell anemia and Thalasemia’s
• Anemia of Chronic disease: many chronic diseases including Malignancy can cause anemia.
• Diet deficiency: Iron, Vitamin B12, Folate
• Gastrointestinal conditions: Ulcers, Hemorrhoids, gastritis, celiac disease, Crohn disease
• Pregnancy and child birth
• Blood Loss: Trauma, Menstruation
Common Anemia Symptoms:
The symptoms are usually slow to develop and vary by person and the extent of the Anemia.
• Bad mood
• Increased fatigue and weakness with activity, exercise
• Light headedness and headache
• Pale skin
• Brittle nails
Iron deficiency anemia is the most common of the anemias, and it is most commonly due to a decrease in Iron and increased blood loss.
Women of child bearing age are most susceptible this type of anemia.
• This is also the anemia that athletes often have to deal with, especially women.
• It is an awful feeling to not be able to complete a work out due to uncontrollable fatigue, dizziness or weakness.
• If you are feeling fatigued go to the doctor and have blood tests done, a simple blood test can show anemia and its severity.
• Diet: meat, chicken, turkey, fish, green leafy vegetables, soy beans, lentils and beans are high in Iron
• Multi-Vitamins, Iron supplements, Vitamin B12 and Folate
During menstruation the levels of hemoglobin can drop 1 to 2 points in the body depending on the amount and duration of bleeding, this relatively sudden loss of hemoglobin causes many women to lack energy, and feel tired during their periods.
Women can prevent this by taking iron and vitamin supplements starting a week prior and continuing until one week after her menstruation.
It is always good to consult a physician during this time, as there are other causes for fatigue and anemia and a thorough work up may be necessary.
If you’ve got the symptoms, talk to your doc about it!