Anemia is a barrier to better health

Question

I’m tired frequently and I have some chronic health issues I can’t seem to resolve.

Answer

Although multiple factors can cause both tiredness and chronic health issues, anemia should always be investigated. Unresolved anemia will thwart your journey to better health.

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Anemia prevents normal function

Blood delivers oxygen to cells in the body and brain so they can function normally. Anemia starves the blood of oxygen. As a consequence function, maintenance, regeneration, and healing in the body is impaired.

Iron-deficiency anemia

More than 400 types of anemia exist, however the most common form is iron-deficient anemia. This often is due to inadequate diet or poor absorption of nutrients caused by compromised intestinal health (leaky gut)—often seen in those with celiac disease or a gluten intolerance. Other causes are uterine fibroids, internal bleeding, chronic disease, liver disease, or genetic disorders.

B-12 anemia

Another common form of anemia is B-12 anemia due to inadequate diet or compromised intestinal health causing poor absorption of B-12.

Pernicious anemia

Pernicious anemia is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks intrinsic factor in the stomach, a substance necessary for the absorption of B-12. Pernicious anemia is often found in those with other autoimmune diseases, particularly the autoimmune thyroid disease Hashimoto’s.

Symptoms of anemia

Symptoms of anemia include fatigue, pale skin, a fast or irregular heartbeat, shortness of breath, chest pain, dizziness, cognitive problems, cold hands and feet, and headaches. Symptoms of B-12 anemia can include a pins-and-needles sensation in the hands or feet, a loss of sense of touch, clumsiness, and a wobbly gait. Some people with iron-deficiency anemia also develop pica, a craving for ice, dirt, paper, chalk, or other non-foods.

photo credit: Derek E-Jay

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