What is anemia?
Iron deficiency is the most common nutritional shortfall globally. While there are several types of anemia, a low hemoglobin level or a low concentration of red blood cells within the blood which carries oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body is often the case in those diagnosed (iron deficiency anemia). There may also be a problem with the oxygen molecules adhering to the red blood cells, and thus transportation of oxygen within the body is the root of the problem. Other types of anemia may be due to a massive loss of blood or a variety of other problems.
Who might have anemia?
Many people are susceptible including those with celiac disease, women of childbearing age, those with low vitamin D levels (possibly due to living far north or working indoors all day) are pregnant or have poor eating habits, as well as vegetarian & vegans. Those with cancer, hemorrhoids, stomach ulcers, gastritis or other gastrointestinal inflammation or are taking NSAIDS can experience blood loss which can also result in anemia.
Could I have anemia?
- Feeling fatigued, even after exerting yourself to a level which wouldn’t ordinarily drain all your energy?
- Dizziness, a feeling of weakness (possibly to the point of fainting), depression and irritability are all symptoms of anemia.
- Some anemics report sexual dysfunction, or have difficulty concentrating.
- A simple finger prick is enough to test the levels of iron in your blood, but there are often exhausting symptoms to clue you in that something may be amiss.
If this sounds like you, request bloodwork from your family doctor of naturopath. By the time the symptoms are bad enough for most to warrant a trip to the doctor the anemia is likely quite bad. Often it is something that creeps up, slowly getting worse so that it is difficult to notice the symptoms as they have become the norm.