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10 Common Symptoms of Anemia

Condition:

Anemia is where your blood lacks plenty of healthy red blood cells. It is a very common condition with more than 3 million cases diagnosed each year in the United States.

Without enough red blood cells, Anemia is unable to flow needed oxygen to your body's organs. Treatment can include iron and Vitamin B supplements, blood transfusions, and medications.

Condition:

Anemia is where your blood lacks plenty of healthy red blood cells. It is a very common condition with more than 3 million cases diagnosed each year in the United States.

Without enough red blood cells, Anemia is unable to flow needed oxygen to your body's organs. Treatment can include iron and Vitamin B supplements, blood transfusions, and medications.

Symptom 1: Shortness of Breath

Do you suffer from shortness of breath, especially during exercise? It may be because anemia makes your heart work harder to shift oxygen-rich blood throughout your body.

In a Patient.info forum, an anemic patient posted: “About two months ago I got my blood test done which showed very low levels of hemoglobin and hematocrit. I then got my serum iron test done too and I was diagnosed with iron deficiency anemia. I started a regular ferrous sulphate supplement from a local company. Although some symptoms (such as tingling in legs) have gone, I have started to feel shortness of breath and especially from evening onwards it increases. This shortness of breath is there since the last three days. I had this feeling earlier but then it subsided. Is it possible that my supplement isn’t working and that I need a more effective one?”

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Symptom 1: Shortness of Breath

Do you suffer from shortness of breath, especially during exercise? It may be because anemia makes your heart work harder to shift oxygen-rich blood throughout your body.

In a Patient.info forum, an anemic patient posted: “About two months ago I got my blood test done which showed very low levels of hemoglobin and hematocrit. I then got my serum iron test done too and I was diagnosed with iron deficiency anemia. I started a regular ferrous sulphate supplement from a local company. Although some symptoms (such as tingling in legs) have gone, I have started to feel shortness of breath and especially from evening onwards it increases. This shortness of breath is there since the last three days. I had this feeling earlier but then it subsided. Is it possible that my supplement isn’t working and that I need a more effective one?”

Symptom 2: Fatigue

Do you feel extremely tired, even though you get a good night’s rest? Are you so tired that it is difficult to perform simple and basic tasks and activities?

Anemia causes fatigue because your body lacks enough red blood cells that carry oxygen to body parts and organs. Also, your body may make red blood cells that have less hemoglobin, which is an iron-rich protein in red blood cells.

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Symptom 2: Fatigue

Do you feel extremely tired, even though you get a good night’s rest? Are you so tired that it is difficult to perform simple and basic tasks and activities?

Anemia causes fatigue because your body lacks enough red blood cells that carry oxygen to body parts and organs. Also, your body may make red blood cells that have less hemoglobin, which is an iron-rich protein in red blood cells.

Symptom 3: Rapid Heartbeat

Do you have a rapid or irregular heartbeat, especially during exercise?

If you're anemic, then your heart must pump more blood due to a lack of oxygen in your blood. This is done to compensate for an increase in cardiac output. Also, you may be anemic due to an iron deficiency.

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Symptom 3: Rapid Heartbeat

Do you have a rapid or irregular heartbeat, especially during exercise?

If you're anemic, then your heart must pump more blood due to a lack of oxygen in your blood. This is done to compensate for an increase in cardiac output. Also, you may be anemic due to an iron deficiency.

Symptom 4: Cramps

Do you get cramps in your legs? When anemia becomes severe, you can experience painful lower leg cramps, especially during exercise.

According to the Mayo Clinic, “People who are deficient in iron often develop anemia and can potentially suffer from fatigue and an insufficient immune system. An iron deficiency can also cause cramps in your leg muscles or restless leg syndrome, which causes discomfort in your legs when you're lying down or sitting.” 

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Symptom 4: Cramps

Do you get cramps in your legs? When anemia becomes severe, you can experience painful lower leg cramps, especially during exercise.

According to the Mayo Clinic, “People who are deficient in iron often develop anemia and can potentially suffer from fatigue and an insufficient immune system. An iron deficiency can also cause cramps in your leg muscles or restless leg syndrome, which causes discomfort in your legs when you're lying down or sitting.” 

Symptom 5: Insomnia

Are you unable to fall asleep? And stay asleep? Anemia or iron deficiency can cause insomnia. Fatigue and chronic drowsiness go along with insomnia caused by anemia. Also, Restless Leg Syndrome due to anemia can affect alertness.

According to a post on Healthboards.com, one anemic patient stated: “I've been searching this anemia board for days now, but I can't find any specific post on dealing with insomnia caused from anemia. When I was first diagnosed a few weeks ago I begin supplementing with Floradix and eating lots of high iron foods and my sleeping begin to improve. Previously I was either not able to fall asleep at all or I would wake up at 4:00 in the morning and not be able to fall back asleep. But now, even though I am eating my iron foods and still taking the Floradix, I am not sleeping at all. This has gone on for 2 weeks now and once again ... I am off work and all the symptoms which had vanished, fatigue, dizziness, weakness, heart palpitations, are all back. I guess I'm just asking how you deal with the insomnia? I don't want to take prescription sleeping pills. I've used them in the past and you wake up sick and feeling strange all day. What has worked for you? They want to put me on anti-depressants. I'm NOT depressed, I'm tired and frustrated!!”

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Symptom 5: Insomnia

Are you unable to fall asleep? And stay asleep? Anemia or iron deficiency can cause insomnia. Fatigue and chronic drowsiness go along with insomnia caused by anemia. Also, Restless Leg Syndrome due to anemia can affect alertness.

According to a post on Healthboards.com, one anemic patient stated: “I've been searching this anemia board for days now, but I can't find any specific post on dealing with insomnia caused from anemia. When I was first diagnosed a few weeks ago I begin supplementing with Floradix and eating lots of high iron foods and my sleeping begin to improve. Previously I was either not able to fall asleep at all or I would wake up at 4:00 in the morning and not be able to fall back asleep. But now, even though I am eating my iron foods and still taking the Floradix, I am not sleeping at all. This has gone on for 2 weeks now and once again ... I am off work and all the symptoms which had vanished, fatigue, dizziness, weakness, heart palpitations, are all back. I guess I'm just asking how you deal with the insomnia? I don't want to take prescription sleeping pills. I've used them in the past and you wake up sick and feeling strange all day. What has worked for you? They want to put me on anti-depressants. I'm NOT depressed, I'm tired and frustrated!!”

Symptom 6: Skin Pallor

Is your skin pale? Anemia causes a reduced amount of oxyhemoglobin in your skin or mucous membrane. 

Also, paleness can be caused by reduced blood flow and oxygen or fewer red blood cells in your body. Paleness is most evident on your face and palms.

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Symptom 6: Skin Pallor

Is your skin pale? Anemia causes a reduced amount of oxyhemoglobin in your skin or mucous membrane. 

Also, paleness can be caused by reduced blood flow and oxygen or fewer red blood cells in your body. Paleness is most evident on your face and palms.

Symptom 7: Lightheadedness

If you take iron supplements for anemia, you may feel lightheaded. Anemia can also impact your balance and make you stagger.

In a posting on Patient.info, a patient stated: “Hi I have now been taking iron tablets 3 times a day for 3 weeks although I do feel a bit better I still have almost constant lightheadedness and dizziness each day which makes me feel I could pass out any minute and is causing a lot of anxiety for me. I was at my doctor today who said this probably is just because my levels won't be in a normal range yet. Has anyone else experienced this even after been on iron for a few weeks.”

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Symptom 7: Lightheadedness

If you take iron supplements for anemia, you may feel lightheaded. Anemia can also impact your balance and make you stagger.

In a posting on Patient.info, a patient stated: “Hi I have now been taking iron tablets 3 times a day for 3 weeks although I do feel a bit better I still have almost constant lightheadedness and dizziness each day which makes me feel I could pass out any minute and is causing a lot of anxiety for me. I was at my doctor today who said this probably is just because my levels won't be in a normal range yet. Has anyone else experienced this even after been on iron for a few weeks.”

Symptom 8: Dizzy

Do you feel dizzy? There are different types of anemia, but they all have something in common – dizziness!

Livestrong.com states, “Hemoglobin, a component of the red blood cells, carries oxygen and delivers the oxygen to the body tissues. The Merck Manual Home Edition explains that when the level of hemoglobin drops or stays consistently low, the body gets deprived of oxygen, causing physical symptoms. Dizziness stems from the brain’s shortage of oxygen or can stem from low blood pressure resulting from poor oxygenation of the heart muscle and blood vessels.”

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Symptom 8: Dizzy

Do you feel dizzy? There are different types of anemia, but they all have something in common – dizziness!

Livestrong.com states, “Hemoglobin, a component of the red blood cells, carries oxygen and delivers the oxygen to the body tissues. The Merck Manual Home Edition explains that when the level of hemoglobin drops or stays consistently low, the body gets deprived of oxygen, causing physical symptoms. Dizziness stems from the brain’s shortage of oxygen or can stem from low blood pressure resulting from poor oxygenation of the heart muscle and blood vessels.”

Symptom 9: Weakness

Do you lack energy? Feel weak? Unable to do everyday tasks? Are your legs and knees weak?

On Medicinenet.com, one patient stated: “It has been a couple of months that I have been feeling that I was running a low-grade fever, was very weak and tired, I was always suffering from a headache and I felt very irritable. I went to my doctor and he told me it was stress. It wasn't until I asked him to refer me to a dermatologist, because I had been noticing a lot of hair loss and tiny red dots on my skin, that I was told that my count was 7. It has been two and a half months now and I have been taking Palafer (and iron supplement) with orange juice (Vitamin C helps absorption of iron) and I still don't feel my usual self. I still have the weakness and dizziness and my hair won't stop shedding which is now a big concern for me.”

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Symptom 9: Weakness

Do you lack energy? Feel weak? Unable to do everyday tasks? Are your legs and knees weak?

On Medicinenet.com, one patient stated: “It has been a couple of months that I have been feeling that I was running a low-grade fever, was very weak and tired, I was always suffering from a headache and I felt very irritable. I went to my doctor and he told me it was stress. It wasn't until I asked him to refer me to a dermatologist, because I had been noticing a lot of hair loss and tiny red dots on my skin, that I was told that my count was 7. It has been two and a half months now and I have been taking Palafer (and iron supplement) with orange juice (Vitamin C helps absorption of iron) and I still don't feel my usual self. I still have the weakness and dizziness and my hair won't stop shedding which is now a big concern for me.”

Symptom 10: Headache

Does your head hurt? Mild to severe headaches can be caused by anemia.

According to SteadyHealth, “Anemia is decreased number of red blood cells or hemoglobin. This condition results in lower amount of oxygen reaching tissues, so the brain as well is hypooxigenated. Any lowering of oxygen level in the brain can cause a swelling of the arteries of the area, causing headaches.”

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