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Is It Anemia?

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Is It Anemia?

One of the most complex and important tasks your body performs every day is transporting oxygen-rich blood throughout your body. When problems with your blood interfere with this task, you may have anemia. 

People with anemia do not have a sufficient amount of red blood cells or their blood cells are not functioning properly. As a result, these people are lacking in hemoglobin, a component of red blood cells that delivers oxygen to the entire body through the blood.

"Several factors, including blood loss, contribute to anemia," said Dale L. Wing, MD, primary care physician at Archbold Primary Care - Thomasville. "Young women are more likely to develop anemia than men, and blood loss during heavy periods can cause anemia over time."

How Are Iron and Anemia Related? 

When people think of anemia, they often think about low iron levels. Iron is an essential mineral that is necessary for hemoglobin creation. Most people who have anemia have iron-deficiency anemia (IDA), which occurs when iron is lost through bleeding, an iron-deficient diet or when a disease, such as celiac disease, interferes with the body's ability to absorb iron. 

Finding The Cause

The signs of anemia often overlap with those of other illnesses. In fact, some people with anemia may even experience difficulty concentrating and symptoms of depression and anxiety. Common warning signs associated with anemia include:

  • Chest pain, shortness of breath or a rapid heartbeat
  • Cravings for ice, which is often associated with IDA
  • Dizziness
  • Feeling tired, weak or cold
  • Headaches

Anemia is typically diagnosed during a routine blood test, and treatment depends on the type of anemia present. Women with IDA, for example, may need to eat iron-rich foods, such as lean red meat, fortified breads and cereals, fish, and green, leafy vegetables. In addition, they may need to take an iron supplement. Physicians may also perform additional tests to see if an underlying illness may be contributing to anemia or to better understand the cause of heavy menstrual bleeding, for example. 

A primary care provider can help diagnose and manage anemia. Find a provider at