Anemia is a condition that affects a large portion of our population, yet often goes undiagnosed. In essence, anemia is a medical condition whereby a person suffers from a deficit of red blood cells. When this occurs, oxygen is not able to circulate properly throughout the body. One of the main factors contributing to anemia is iron-insufficiency. When your red blood cells lack iron they similarly lack a protein called hemoglobin: which acts as a carrier of much-needed oxygen throughout your body.
People suffering from anemia are sure to feel the effects of this tripartite deficit; namely, the deficit in red blood cells, iron and oxygen. Indeed, anemic will often complain of fatigue and being run down. Eventually these aspects of the condition begin to erode an anemic’s overall health.
Anemia: The Giveaways
There are a number of giveaways that—taken either independently or collectively—suggest that you may be suffering from anemia. The most salient symptom of anemia is fatigue. The problem is that the many of us experience excessive tiredness: especially in our culture of busier is better.
Nonetheless, anemics will feel fatigued after tasks that are not terribly rigorous, and after shorter periods of activity. Moreover, as a person’s anemia becomes increasingly serious, other symptoms may also crop up. Among these are included paleness of the skin and brittle nails.
Other symptoms related to anemia are:
- Respiratory Difficulties
- An increase in irritability and moodiness
- Loss of strength
- Circulatory abnormalities resulting in cold extremities
- Difficulty reasoning or concentrating for extended periods of time
- Dysfunction in one’s sexual life (sex drive, performance etc.)
During the beginning stages of anemia, these symptoms tend to be quite faint and will perhaps go completely unnoticed. In fact, because our bodies have an incredible ability to adapt and regenerate on their own, they will endeavor to compensate for their lack of oxygen in other ways. But as anemia advances, its symptoms will eventually become impossible to ignore.
Arriving at a professional diagnosis of anemia will involve several things.
- First, your doctor will conduct a complete blood count, or CBC, to assess and measure the various components of your blood.
- Your physician will also likely look into your family history. If your family has a record of anemia, this is a good indicator that you too might be anemic.
- A physical exam. As mentioned, anemia can disrupt your respiratory and circulatory functions. This physical exam will assess whether your breathing or heartbeat have been negatively affected by your condition.
- Blood tests that assess iron and vitamin levels.
If you are feeling chronically fatigued, or are experiencing any of anemia’s other symptoms it is important that you make an appointment to see a doctor. He or she can help you assess whether your symptoms constitute a diagnosis of anemia, or if they are indicative of something else altogether.