Anemia is characterized by the lack of healthy red blood cells or hemoglobin in the blood. It is a very common condition in teenage girls and women and may also be seen in children and men. Anemia is defined as hemoglobin levesl less than 12g/100ml in women, and less than 13.5g/100ml in men. There are different types of anemia based on the actual cause for the reduction in red blood cell levels. Anemia may also be a sign of an underlying medical condition, so proper diagnosis and treatment are very important.
The symptoms of anemia may vary according to the cause, type, and other health problems. Anemia that develops over a long period of time may remain asymptomatic.
Some of the most common symptoms of this condition are:
- Loss of energy
- Feeling tired easily
- Rapid heart beat
- Shortness of breath
- Headaches, particularly with physical activity like exercise
- Inability to concentrate
- Leg cramps
- Pale skin
Apart from the above-mentioned symptoms, each type of anemia has a specific set of symptoms. When anemia is caused by an iron deficiency, people may have strange cravings for substances like paper and ice. Iron deficiency anemia is also characterized by cracks at the corners of the mouth and upward curvature of nails.
If anemia is due to vitamin B12 deficiency, symptoms include:
Symptoms seen in anemia caused by lead poisoning include:
Symptoms of sickle cell anemia are:
- Extreme tiredness
- Increased frequency of infections
- Delayed growth and development
- Pain in joints and abdomen
If anemia is caused by sudden destruction of red blood cells, the symptoms are:
- Abdominal pain
- Changes in the color of urine
- Symptoms of kidney failure
If you are feeling fatigued without any apparent reason, do remember to meet the doctor. Anemia may be one of the symptoms of many other health conditions and it is important to diagnose the reason as soon as possible. It may also be a warning sign of increased blood loss from the body. If you are having a very heavy menstrual flow, it is important to get an appointment with the doctor.
- There are several different types of anemia.
- Anemia has to do with low levels of red blood cells in the blood.