What Is Anaemia?
Most people will have heard of anaemia. But what exactly does it mean? How do you get it? How can you avoid it? And what can you do if you do get it?
This article will cover all of that.
Anaemia can usually be caused by blood loss due to periods, during childbirth or for those with a deficiency of iron. But, there are plenty of other causes, including a poor diet! In simple terms, anaemia is a lack of red blood cells containing iron and haemoglobin in the blood. An anaemic person will have less oxygen in their blood compared to a person that does not suffer from anaemia.
After reading this article, you'll know everything you should about anaemia. And you'll be able to make better decisions about avoiding it. Although sometimes, it's out of our control, there are preventative steps we can take.
Signs Of Anaemia
Firstly, we need to address some of the most common signs of anaemia. If you notice any of these, it might be worth talking to your doctor.
We all have lazy days where we're too tired to do much. But when "one of those days" happens every day, that's when we have a problem.
If every day you want to rest for the entire day, or you don't have the energy to do all the things you should, that's not a good sign.
The second sign of anaemia is that you're often dizzy or light-headed.
With blood unable to get into your brain, you're likely to struggle to concentrate on anything. The lack of brain energy also contributes to tiredness.
If you've just run 5 miles, it's understandable that you'd be out of breath.
But, when even light exercise makes you breathe heavily, that's a sign your body isn't working as it should, and your energy levels are too low.
Iron running through your body helps to keep it warm. But, if you find that you're wearing jumpers when everyone else is in t-shirts, that's a sign you may have anaemia.
And finally, headaches.
Poor blood flow to the brain can cause your head to hurt - a sign of anaemia.
If you believe you may have an iron deficiency, take one of our at-home blood tests, click here to learn more.
Why Do Our Bodies Need Iron?
It might seem strange to some that our bodies need metal- we're humans, not robots.
But, without iron, your blood won't work as it should.
Our red blood cells work because haemoglobin holds onto oxygen from the lungs and disperses it throughout the body. Myoglobin does the same, but it delivers oxygen to muscles.
One of the critical ingredients in haemoglobin and myoglobin is iron. Without iron, oxygen will not be able to pass from the lungs to the rest of your body.
Causes Of Anaemia
There is more than one cause of anaemia. Please note that the following list is not all-inclusive, but it should cover the most common causes.
Lack Of Iron Or B12
A good diet ought to contain enough food with iron and vitamin B12. We get everything that we need to survive from the food we eat. So, if you're getting symptoms of anaemia, it may be time to rethink what you're eating.
Unable To Absorb Iron
Maybe you're getting enough iron into your diet, but your body is struggling to absorb it. Such a struggle could be because of a medical condition or a poor diet. But, if you're eating enough iron-rich foods but still showing signs of anaemia, talk to your doctor about it.
Sometimes, the causes of anaemia are out of our control. For example, those with sickle cell disease may struggle to absorb or use the iron they get in their diet.
Other diseases such as diabetes can have similar effects.
If you're in an accident and lose a lot of blood, plenty of iron will be lost. This is why women ought to eat slightly more iron than usual on their periods.
And finally, there may be some drugs or medications that prevent your body from being able to absorb iron. If you notice you've become more tired since starting the new medication, talk to your doctor about the side effects.
How To Prevent Anaemia
If you have a medical condition, anaemia is unavoidable. But, if you don't, here's some advice on reducing the chances of anaemia.
This is all about diet.
Some foods are naturally high in iron. These include tofu, leafy greens, red meat, lentils, beans, and cereals.
Other foods are high in vitamin B12, which helps the body better absorb iron. These include beef, liver, fish, cheese, and eggs.
It would be best if you also tried to eat food with folic acids- such as leafy greens, peanuts, sunflower seeds, fruit, and whole grains.
Make sure to get enough vitamin C too!
And finally, don't drink too much tea or coffee. Caffeine can impact iron absorption.
How To Manage Anaemia
We recommend talking to a doctor to find the best solution if you have anaemia. What works for one person may not work for another. But, we do have some general rules that may make your life easier.
Firstly, follow the rules above. It won't do you any harm to do your best to have as much iron as you can in your body.
Secondly, think about using iron supplements. The extra iron from these pills could be incredibly beneficial to your body.
Avoid doing too much strenuous exercise. Light exercise is good for you, but make sure not to overdo it and become painfully tired.
And finally, try to keep yourself warm. If you're cold, put on a few extra layers.
Please remember that your doctor's advice trumps what this blog says if you have anaemia. But, this advice is here to make things slightly more manageable for you.
The Etymology Of Anaemia
To better understand what anaemia is, it will help to look at the etymology. We can better grasp what words mean today by looking at where words come from.
The word "anaemia" is the Latinized version of the Greek word "Anaimia",- meaning lack of blood.
This word comes from the Greek "Anaimos", which means bloodless.
"An" in Greek means "without". Anarchy is without government. Anaemia is without blood.
And "Emia" is the Latin word that describes the condition of your blood. It comes from the Greek "Haima", meaning blood.
Anaemia can be a challenge, both to avoid and to live with. But this article should have given you a slightly better understanding of what it is and how you can either prevent or overcome it.
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