Youíre feeling fatigued and weak. After some blood work, your healthcare provider tells you that youíre anemic. So what does that even mean?
Firstly, red blood cells and hemoglobin work hand-in-hand. Hemoglobin is the iron-rich protein that helps our red blood cells transport oxygen around our bodies, so without the two working together, weíre in dire straits. When RBCs arenít able to do the job effectively, this is called anemia. There are several types of anemia, each having their own causes, signs and symptoms.
According to the Mayo Clinic, anemia can be due to RBCs being destroyed, the body not making enough RBCs, or the body losing RBCs faster than it can make them (bleeding).
These three causes may be due to:
∑ Heavy periods in women
∑ Poor diet (not rich in iron, folic acid and/or Vitamin B12)
∑ Blood diseases and disorders
Signs and Symptoms
According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, common signs and symptoms of anemia include:
∑ Fast/Irregular Heartbeat
∑ Shortness of Breath
∑ Often feeling cold
How to Treat It
We can combat so much with a balanced diet! In many cases, the body is just waiting for us to give it what it needs so that it can do the work that it needs to for us. Diets rich in iron, vitamin B12 and folic acid are highly recommended for anemia sufferers.
∑ Green, leafy veggies (kale, spinach, etc)
∑ Citrus fruit
If you arenít able to get what you need through the food you eat, your healthcare provider may suggest supplementation through a multivitamin or iron supplement. Just be sure that if s/he does, you are taking in an appropriate (ask them what would be for you) amount of fluid, as too much iron can be constipating.
As always, if you have any questions or concerns, run it by your healthcare provider, and see what s/he has to say. They are familiar with you and your medical history, and can provide great advice as to how to take the best possible care of your body.
Shari Grant is a Registered Nurse in South Florida, where she was raised in a (very!) Jamaican home. Some of the loves of her life are words (both reading and writing them) and missions work. She enjoys spending time with friends and family while living for a good laugh - one that makes her belly ache and her eyes water. Her bottom line goal in life is to make the Lord smile and maybe even serve Him up a chuckle from time to time, too.