Do you feel breathless or light headed especially upon exertion such as climbing up stairs?
Do you have memory or concentration issues?
Do you go through the feeling of a sudden urge to eat?
If your answer to all of these questions is YES, then it’s time to wake up and get your health checked! The reason being you might be suffering from anemia.
Anaemia is the most common nutritional disorder across the world. It is known to affect an estimated of 2.36 billion individuals worldwide with high prevalence in women and children. As of 2010, the global prevalence of anemia was approximately 32.9%. It remains particularly pervasive in India and is the largest cause of countrywide disability. As per the 2005-06 round of India’s National Family Health Survey (NFHS) survey reports, approximately 55% of women and 24% of men aged 15 to 49 years suffer from anemia. The prevalence of anaemia among adolescent girls in India were 56% and this amounts to an average 64 million girls at any point in time. So to help you know about the condition, we have shed light on the top 10 symptoms of anemia that everyone needs to be aware of.
10 Symptoms Of Anemia Which You Might Be Ignoring
Anemia is a condition characterized by a decreased number of red blood cells, which are responsible for carrying oxygen throughout the body. It can lead to serious implications on the health right from impairment in cognitive development to a decreased productivity in adults and children. There are many causes of anemia like blood loss by means of injury or excess flow of blood in the menstrual cycle, but iron deficiency is the most common cause.
Anemia symptoms are often subtle and vague therefore we start ignoring them, but such symptoms can leave devastating effects later if ignored. Have a look at these 10 major symptoms of anemia in order to maintain your health.
In anemia, there is a lack of red blood cells in the body which affects the oxygen supply to the other parts of the body. As the RBCs do not carry ample amount of oxygen to all the body parts it may ultimately lead to fatigue. Hence, if you have been experiencing fatigue even after a good night’s sleep or feel tired more often than not, then it’s time to consult your doctor at the earliest and get tested to know the cause of it.
2. Shortness of Breath
If you feel loss of breath or face difficulty in breathing, especially when climbing stairs, during exercise or lifting something, then do not ignore it. This is because, shortness of breath is one of the common symptoms of anemia. It is clearly due to the lack of sufficient supply of oxygen in the body which leads to breathing difficulty when the body is exerted.
3. Brittle Nails
If you notice your nails are becoming thinner and breaking easily, then do not think it could be due to poor nail hygiene or lack of vitamin deficiency. Instead, it could be a sign of iron deficiency and may indicate anemia. So do not ignore even the simple changes that happen to your nails as it could be a sign of any underlying disease such as anemia.
4. Pale Skin
Insufficient blood supply to the skin can result in pale and dull skin. This could be caused due to lack of Vitamin B12 or iron and may indicate anemia. So keep a tab on your skin and any changes in the skin colour and texture mean you should book an appointment at your doctor’s clinic.
5. Strange Cravings
It is not just during pregnancy that a woman experiences cravings. It could also be due to a deficiency. If you feel to have items without any nutrients such as ice cubes, baking soda, clay, chalk or pencils, it can be identified as a symptom of iron deficiency anemia.
6. Chest Pain
A mild but a constant chest pain can also be a tell-tale sign of anemia. This is attributed to lack of oxygen supply to the heart. It is a key sign which should never be ignored as it could also indicate heart disease.
Numbness is a feeling of pins and needles in your hands and feet. If you are also suffering from such feelings, you may be anemic. The reason behind numbness of hands and feet is anemia resulting from lack of Vitamin B12 and inadequate supply of oxygen to the extremities.
8. Black Stools
Anemia could also be diagnosed by black stools, blood in stools, or rectal bleeding. In such a condition, you should consult with your doctor immediately as these can be signs of gastrointestinal disorders.
9. Heavy Periods and Irregular Bleeding
Women are the most prone victims of anemia when it comes to menstrual flow. Anemia can also result from excessive, irregular, and painful blood loss due to the presence of fibroids in the uterine cavity. Get in touch with your gynaecologist to know the exact cause of heavy periods and irregular bleeding.
10. Restless Legs Syndrome
If you are suffering from an urge to move your legs constantly, especially at night during sleep then you might be suffering from iron deficiency. So head straight to your doctor’s clinic and get tested as it could mean you might have anemia.
Anemia can be treated with simple at-home tips and tricks such as taking a lot of Vitamin C or drink orange juice regularly, including beetroots, dates, pomegranate in your diet as they are rich in folic acid and eating lots of spinach. Your doctor may advise you to take some iron and vitamin supplements to fight anemia. Early diagnosis can help in treating the condition and prevent health complications caused due to anemia. So eat healthy to stay healthy!
(The article is reviewed by Dr. Swati Mishra, Medical Editor)
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