Anemia is a condition when the affected person is not having enough healthy RBCs or Red Blood Cells to carry oxygen throughout the body.
There are several forms of anemia and there are a lot of symptoms of anemia. In this article, we will take a look at some of the silent symptoms of anemia you should never ignore. Hope this would be a beneficial read for you.
10 Silent Symptoms Of Anemia You Should Never Ignore:
Anemia is usually a mild or temporary condition, however, some types of anemia are severe and long-term. Anemia is also the most common blood disorder in the United States, affecting more than 3 million individuals at any particular time.(1)
Some individuals, like those who are suffering from conditions like thalassemia or sickle cell anemia, are anemic from their birth. Such people’s bodies genetically inherit difficulty in producing RBCs or specific parts of RBCs. But, the greatest number of the people suffering from this condition of anemia become anemic over time because of not consuming foods that are rich in vitamin B12 or iron, both of which, along with folate, is required for the production of healthy RBCs. Let us read about some of the silent symptoms of anemia you should never ignore.
You Feel Too Much Tired:
One of the symptoms of anemia is a general feeling of tiredness or exhaustion. You can feel fatigued at times if you have anemia. However, the challenge of fatigue in anemia is that every person has a different experience of how they experience and notice it. Some people simply feel more tired, while others feel the tiresomeness when they perform physical activity. Without enough vitamin B12 or iron, there is not enough hemoglobin, and when there is not enough hemoglobin, you don’t have enough oxygen to fuel the body. Thus, you feel too tired when you have anemia.
Shortness Of Breath Or Feeling Dizzy:
Your body cannot produce enough hemoglobin or a specific type of protein, which is essential for the functioning of the RBCs or red blood cells if you do not have enough iron or vitamin B12. Hemoglobin, which contains lots of iron, gives blood the red color, allows oxygen to bond to the body’s cells so the cells can carry it in the bloodstream throughout your body. When you don’t have enough iron or vitamin B12 in your body to create adequate amounts of hemoglobin, certain parts of your body will not receive the oxygen that they require. This in turn results in shortness of breath. In addition to this, getting a little oxygen to your head would make you feel lightheaded or dizzy.
Pain In The Chest:
One of the major silent symptoms of anemia you should never ignore is pain in the chest. When you have fewer healthy RBCs circulating, your heart has to work even harder for moving them through your body. Thus, the heart beats faster than usual and you might start feeling the strain as a pain in your chest.
It is reported by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute that when the heart has to work harder, it can cause irregular heartbeats, an enlarged heart, a heart murmur, or even heart failure.(2) We must mention that these chest pains are something that you might mistake for a heart attack.
Your Skin Looks Paler:
If you do not have enough healthy Red blood cells or RBCs to fuel your bodily organs with oxygen, you cannot expect your skin or the largest organ of your body, to look healthy. Without enough iron or vitamin B12, there might not be enough supply of blood to your skin, and thus your skin might look paler, and even shallow-looking. This has been explained by the U.S. National Library Of Medicine.
You Are Pregnant Or Losing Too Much Of Blood:
Even if you are consuming an adequate amount of iron-rich foods, you might also suffer from anemia if you are losing blood for any other reason. Pregnant women are, in particular, susceptible to anemia, since their body should produce more blood than normal for supporting the growth and development of the growing baby in their womb, and without enough iron, vitamin B12, or folate, only a fewer healthy RBCs can be made. However, it is not just in the case of pregnant women, rather, women who are not pregnant, children, and even men who are experiencing gastrointestinal conditions like hemorrhoids, ulcers, inflammation of their stomach, and cancer, can also experience an increased risk of anemia, especially if their health conditions result in chronic bleeding.
Your Hands And Feet Are Cold:
If you are experiencing your hands and feet are chillier than normal, then this could be a sign of iron deficiency or anemia. When you are suffering from anemia, you do not have enough healthy RBCs or red blood cells in your body. Iron aids these RBCs deliver heat and nutrients to the rest of the cells of your body. Thus, when you have a deficiency, your hands and feet are colder.
You Have Irregular Heartbeat Or Heart Palpitation:
One of the silent symptoms of anemia you should never ignore is that you have an irregular heartbeat or heart palpitation. This is a noticeable symptom of iron-deficiency anemia. Anemic people have low levels of hemoglobin in their blood, and this hemoglobin is the protein in RBCs that helps transport oxygen to other parts of your body. This means, when you do not have enough hemoglobin, your heart has to work harder for carrying oxygen. This would result in a feeling like your heart is beating irregularly or rapidly. These are the symptoms of heart attack that are most frequently misdiagnosed.
You Suffer Lot Of Headaches:
Most people suffer from headaches every once in a while, because of lack of sleep, stress, and illnesses. But, if you suffer from a more abnormal amount of headaches than normal, you must check your iron levels. The headaches in case of anemia can be mild or can be severe as a migraine headache. Low levels of iron mean that your brain is not getting enough oxygen.
You Are Craving Non-Nutritional Or Strange Foods:
One of the most unusual and silent symptoms of anemia you should never ignore, is you crave non-nutritional foods, such as, ice cubes, baking soda, or even pencils. Interestingly, doctors and researchers are still unknown about the fact why patients crave eating or chewing such strange foods.
You Have Low Appetite:
One of the silent symptoms of anemia you should never ignore is having a low appetite. This symptom is experienced by people suffering from iron deficiency anemia.
A study published in PLOS ONE in the year 2020 has found that patients with iron deficiency anemia have reduced appetite, and thus also have an increased risk of malnutrition, because, iron influences the hormones ghrelin and leptin, which are the appetite-regulating hormones.(3)
If someone is experiencing any of these silent symptoms of anemia, then they should consult with a doctor for a proper diagnosis to know about the exact type of anemia that they might be suffering from. This would also help in a better and quicker treatment of the condition.
- What Causes Anemia and How Can It Be Treated?
- How to Diagnose Anemia?
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- Anemia During Pregnancy: Risks, Types, Signs, Symptoms, Treatment, Prevention