ANEMIA AND FATIGUE

Anemia occurs when the body does not have enough red blood cells (RBCs).  The RBCs carry oxygen from the lungs to the tissues in your body.  Hemoglobin is a protein that is found in red blood cells and carries oxygen to body tissues.  When red blood cells are destroyed, your body may make fewer red blood cells. Hemoglobin levels may fall.  Anemia results if hemoglobin is low.  Anemia can cause extreme tiredness or fatigue, and may affect your quality of life.  Here are a few things about anemia and things you can do about it.

  • Have a fast heart rate
  • Are light-headed
  • Are short of breath
  • Have headaches
  • Are dizzy
  • Feel faint
  • Are sensitive to cold
  • Are more pale than normal
  • Lose skin tone
  • Are not able to do the things you are used to doing do during the day such as work, spend time with other people or have fun.
  • .  Iron from animal products is easy for your body to absorb.  Iron from vegetables, fruits, grains, and vitamins are harder for the body to absorb.
  • some lean meat, fish, or poultry with beans or dark leafy greens at a meal.  This will help you to absorb the iron from vegetables up to three times more than alone.  Foods rich in vitamin C also increase iron absorption.
  • This can be a simple way to help increase the amount of iron in your diet
      • cereals with iron added
      • dried beans
      • whole grains
      • eggs (egg yolks are good)
      • dried fruits
      • dark leafy green vegetables
      • liver
      • lean red meat (beef)
      • poultry, dark meat
      • tuna fish
      • salmon
      • lamb
      • pork
      • shell fish
      • whole grains such as wheat, millet, oats, and brown rice
      • legumes: lima beans, soybeans, dried beans and peas, kidney beans
      • seeds such as almonds and Brazil nuts
      • dried fruits: prunes, raisins, and apricots
      • vegetables: broccoli, spinach, kale, collards, asparagus, dandelion greens

When Do You Need to Seek Help?
If any of the symptoms listed above occur for several weeks or bother you, call your doctor or nurse.  A simple blood test called a complete blood count (CBC) can easily be done.  This test can tell you if you have anemia. Your doctor may prescribe a medicine to help you fight anemia.

Useful websites:
Fatigue and Anemia
Anemia causes and treatment

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