When the blood lacks healthy red blood cells or hemoglobin, anemia can develop. We need hemoglobin to bind oxygen. When a person has too few red blood cells or hemoglobin is abnormal, then the cells in the body do not get enough oxygen. Anemia is the most common blood condition in the U.S., affecting nearly 5.6% of the population. This condition is marked by fatigue because the organs are not getting the oxygen they need to function properly. Persons more susceptible are women, children, and people with chronic conditions. Infants can be affected from the time of birth is based down genetically. Women during pregnancy are more susceptible due to increased blood supply demands. Older adults are also risk because of medical conditions and poor diet.
There are actually different types of anemia, reaching nearly 400 kinds. The most common type is iron deficiency anemia which is very treatable. Iron supplements and diet modifications can be made. The three main groups of anemia are categorized according to causality. These include anemia caused by blood loss, anemia caused by destruction of red blood cells, and anemia caused by lack of or faulty red blood cells. Blood loss can be caused by gastrointestinal issues, anti-inflammatory drugs, and menstruation. Having low or faulty red blood cells can result from a lack of vitamins or mineral, sickle cell anemia, or bone marrow or stem problems. Sickle cells anemia occurs when the crescent shape of the red blood cells, which is a genetic condition, break down so quickly that the red blood cells cannot deliver the oxygen to organs. It is common among African Americans and Hispanics. When a person is deficient in vitamin B12 and folate, the body is not able to make red blood cells.
Symptoms of anemia depending on causality. The most common symptoms include weakness, fatigue, shortness of breath, headache, and cold hands and feet. The role of red blood cells has become disrupted in the body. Red blood cells contain hemoglobin, which give them their color. Hemoglobin is what allows red blood cells to carry oxygen to the lungs and to all parts of the body and to also carry carbon dioxide from other parts of the body to the lungs to be exhaled.
The recipe the body needs to make red blood cells includes iron, folate, vitamin B12, and then other nutrients from one’s diet. The best food sources include animal products (red meat having more), white beans, cooked oysters, lentils, spinach, organ meats like liver, fortified cereals, sardines, tofu, and soybeans. Vitamin C helps with iron absorption so often times it is recommended when taking an iron supplement and/or trying to benefit from the irons in the food you are consuming.
Anemia should not be left untreated. It can result in rapid or irregular heartbeat, inability to complete daily tasks due to extreme fatigue, and complications with pregnancy. Healthy blood is needed for a healthy body, so be sure to seek help is your energy is zapped and you can’t seem to figure out why.