Anemia results from decrease in the number of red blood cells or hemoglobin levels. It can give rise to serious health conditions. Knowing the symptoms beforehand may help.
A lot of times, symptoms of severe anemia appear to be the same as those seen in cardiac problems. This is because, in order to make up for the reduced capacity of the blood to transport oxygen, especially in case of very low hemoglobin levels, the body makes the heart work harder by making it pump higher volumes of blood per minute. This increased cardiac output leads to palpitation, angina, pain or tiredness in the legs due to poor circulation, and, in extreme cases, even heart failure.
A drastic reduction in the number of red blood cells or the amount of hemoglobin in the blood is a medical condition, known as anemia. It is one of the most common blood disorders. Normal life span of red blood cells is about 120 days. If this normal life span gets, somehow, disrupted, then it can lead to anemia. Major types of anemia are iron-deficiency anemia, sickle-cell anemia, aplastic anemia, and anemia of chronic disease. In aplastic anemia, production of blood cells in the bone marrow totally stops. This type of anemia is extremely severe and can be seen in both adults as well as children. Anemia is caused by reduced production of hemoglobin or red blood cells, destruction of blood cells, or loss of blood. Other causes of anemia are blood loss due to gastrointestinal bleeding, gastric ulcers, hemorrhoids, hemophilia, and hookworm infestation.
Iron deficiency or menstrual bleeding can cause a mild anemia, accompanied by the symptoms such as weakness, fatigue and pallor. If anemia is due to major blood loss, then it results in severe anemia. Fatigue and weakness are the main symptoms of severe anemia due to low hemoglobin. Some other signs are:
- Pale skin
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Cognitive problems
- Coldness or numbness in the extremities
- Loss of appetite
- Impaired memory
- Sore tongue
- Weight loss
- Heart attack
In case of aplastic anemia, due to low numbers of red blood cells, a person looks pale, feels weak or tired, and experiences shortness of breath. Due to low white blood cell count, there are frequent or severe infections. Decreased number of platelets can lead to easy bruising or bleeding and the appearance of small red spots under the skin. In case of severe anemia, bleeding or infections can be life-threatening.