Anemia is the most common blood-related disease in the world. That’s why it’s important to know how to recognize the symptoms of anemia. Although anyone can develop anemia at some point in their life, young children are most at risk.
There are different types of anemia, but all have an unusually low number of red blood cells circulating in the human body. In some cases, anemia can occur due to the breakdown of these red blood cells at a rapid rate or because the body’s ability to produce new red blood cells is impaired.
In general, the symptoms of anemia fall into three categories:
- Anemia caused by blood loss Blood loss can be both chronic and acute. Chronic blood loss can be seen in stomach ulcers and some types of cancer. Severe blood loss can occur due to injury or surgery.
- Anemia caused by the destruction of red blood cells Red blood cells usually last about four months, but in some cases this period is shortened. An example is autoimmune hemolytic anemia, in which the body’s immune system attacks and destroys red blood cells.
- Anemia caused by improper production of red blood cells Various conditions can lead to poor red blood cell production such as leukemia.
Anemia has many symptoms. Lack of energy, for example, is observed in all kinds of diseases. Unusually dark urine is characteristic of hemolytic anemia. Learn about 12 symptoms of anemia that should not be underestimated:
lack of energy
Fatigue or lack of energy is the most common symptom of anemia and occurs in every type. Red blood cells are responsible for carrying oxygen throughout the body, so if their number is small, it will make a person feel tired. Of course, chronic fatigue can also be caused by stress, insomnia, and other health problems.
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Shortness of breath
Shortness of breath is also one of the most common symptoms of anemia. An anemic person will suffocate even from something like climbing stairs. In some cases, dizziness and lightheadedness are accompanied by shortness of breath in anemia.
Unusually pale skin is another symptom of anemia. A lack of enough red blood cells will not make the skin, gums, and tongue look paler than usual.
There are many reasons that can cause headaches. However, if a person has other symptoms of anemia besides headache, they should see a doctor. Sometimes the headache may be accompanied by dizziness and a feeling of fainting. Frequent headaches can be a sign of iron deficiency anemia – the most common type of anemia.
Jaundice may only be a symptom of some types of anemia. Jaundice, in which a person’s skin and eyes acquire a yellowish tinge, is common in hemolytic anemia. In hemolytic anemia, the body destroys red blood cells faster than it can produce new ones, which in turn leads to an unusual amount of bilirubin. Jaundice can also occur with sickle cell anemia.
Hair loss can be a symptom of iron deficiency anemia. Hemoglobin in red blood cells stimulates hair growth, so a lack of hemoglobin leads to hair loss. In general, with anemia, hair can not only fall out, but also become thinner.
restless leg syndrome
Restless legs syndrome is another symptom associated with iron deficiency amenorrhea. The condition is characterized by unpleasant sensations such as itching or throbbing in the legs, accompanied by involuntary movements. People usually experience these unpleasant symptoms at night, and their severity depends on the severity of the anemia.
Swelling of arms and legs
Painful swelling in the hands and feet is a symptom of sickle cell anemia, the most common hereditary blood disorder.
Chest pain can be a symptom of anemia. A lack of red blood cells means the heart has to work harder to send nutrients into the body. In addition, the heart does not receive the amount of oxygen it needs to function normally. Therefore, people with anemia may experience pain and tightness in the chest. Anemia can also cause the heart to beat faster.
Confusion is a symptom of anemia associated with a deficiency of vitamin B9, vitamin C, or vitamin B12. In pernicious anemia, which mainly occurs in people over the age of 60, the body cannot absorb the vitamin B12 needed to produce healthy red blood cells. . Vitamin B12 is also essential for the nervous system, so pernicious anemia can cause symptoms such as an impaired ability to focus or remember.
numbness and coldness in the extremities
When there is no blood in the body, it will send the available blood to the vital organs. Therefore, the amount of blood that reaches the extremities will decrease, which will lead to tingling and coldness in the hands and feet.
This symptom is common in patients with iron deficiency anemia. A lack of adequate iron prevents the immune system from working normally. Therefore, a person with anemia will be less able to resist infection and will be sick for a longer time.