Feeling tired and sleepy all the time? Know if you are suffering from Anemia: Causes, Symptoms & Types

Do you feel tired and sleepy all the time? Well, you could be anemic and it’s important to know everything about it. Read below the symptoms of anemia.
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A lot of us feel tired, sleepy and in no mood to do work. We neglect these small symptoms, which could lead to a serious disorder. Anemia is the most common blood disorder and currently affects more than 3 million Americans. Globally, 1.62 billion people suffer from anemia that accounts for 2.48% of the population. 

What is Anemia?

Anemia is a condition in which there is a decrease in the number of red blood cells in the body. You do not have enough red blood cells to carry oxygen to the body’s tissues. The main symptom of anemia is fatigue because your organs are not getting enough oxygen to function properly. 

Anemia can be temporary as well as long term. It can range from mild to severe. More than 400 types of anemia have been identified. Certain forms of anemia are hereditary and infants may be affected from the time of birth. Older adults have greater chance of developing anemia because of poor diet and medical conditions. 

Anemia

Symptoms of Anemia

The signs and symptoms of anemia may vary depending on the cause of your anemia, the type of anemia and the severity. The most common symptom is lack of energy.

Some of the common symptoms include:

  • Fatigue
  • Pale skin
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain

Anemia

  • Poor appetite
  • Brittle nails
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Soreness of tongue
  • Irregular heartbeats 
  • Leg cramps

Anemia is mild at first so the symptoms go unnoticed. However, with time the symptoms become worse. 

Causes of Anemia 

There are various causes of anemia with different symptoms. Our body has three different kinds of blood cells – white blood cells, platelets and red blood cells. These red blood cells contain haemoglobin that enables the red blood cells to carry oxygen from your lungs to other parts of the body.

A decrease in these red blood cells causes anemia. Here are the different types of anemia and their causes.

  1. Anemia caused by Blood Loss – The red blood cells lost through bleeding leads to shortage of iron. When the body loses blood, it pulls water from the tissues outside the bloodstream to keep the vessels filled. This dilutes the red blood cells. Chronic blood loss is one of the common causes of anaemia. 

Causes of chronic bleeding:

  • Gastrointestinal conditions such as stomach ulcers, cancer and gastritis.
  • Menstrual Bleeding
  • Use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin and ibuprofen. 

  1. Anemia caused by decreased or faulty red blood cell production – In this type of anaemia, the body produces very little red blood cells or the red blood cells do not function correctly. This happens due to abnormal red blood cells or lack of minerals and vitamins needed for the proper functioning of red blood cells.

Causes of this type of anemia:

  • Sickle Cell Anemia – The red blood cells break down very quickly and assume an abnormal crescent (sickle) shape. These irregular cells die prematurely, leading to shortage of red blood cells
  • Vitamin-Deficiency Anemia – This occurs when vitamin B12 and folate are deficient. These two vitamins are essential in the production of red blood cells. This leads to shortage of red blood cells. Examples: megaloblastic anemia and pernicious anemia. 
  • Iron-Deficiency Anemia – Lack of iron in the body leads to decreased production of red blood cells. This is due to menstruation, poor diet, frequent blood donation and certain digestive conditions. 
  • Bone marrow and stem cell problems – When there are no or very few stem cells present, it leads to aplastic anemia. Thalassemia occurs when red blood cells cannot grow and mature properly.

Anemia

  1. Anemia caused by Destruction of Red Blood Cells – When the red blood cells are fragile and cannot withstand the routine stress of the circulatory system, they may rupture. This is called hemolytic anemia, where the body’s immune system treats its own red blood cells as foreign invaders and attacks them.

Causes of excessive hemolysis:

  • Snake bite
  • Infections
  • Severe hypertension
  • Clotting disorders
  • Enlargement of spleen
  • Advanced liver or kidney disease
  • Certain drugs

If you notice any of the symptoms, consult your doctor at the earliest. A proper diagnosis through appropriate tests can solve your problem. Follow a healthy diet, especially a diet rich in iron. Iron-rich diet can help to alleviate the symptoms of anemia.

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