Anemia symptoms vary depending on the cause of your anemia but may include:
- Pale skin
- A fast or irregular heartbeat
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Cognitive problems
- Cold hands and feet
Initially, anemia can be so mild it goes unnoticed. But symptoms increase as anemia worsens.
When to see a doctor
Make an appointment with your doctor if you're feeling fatigued for unexplained reasons. Some anemias, such as iron deficiency anemia, are common. Fatigue has many causes besides anemia, so don't assume that if you're tired you must be anemic.
Some people learn that their hemoglobin is low, which indicates anemia, when they go to donate blood. Low hemoglobin may be a temporary problem remedied by eating more iron-rich foods or taking a multivitamin containing iron. However, it may also be a warning sign of blood loss in your body that may be causing you to be deficient in iron. If you're told that you can't donate blood because of low hemoglobin, make an appointment with your doctor.
Mar. 08, 2013
- Anemia. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/dci/Diseases/anemia/anemia_all.html. Accessed Feb. 7, 2013.
- McPhee SJ, et al. Current Medical Diagnosis & Treatment 2012. 51st ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2012. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=1. Accessed Feb. 7, 2013.
- Bryan LJ, et al. Why is my patient anemic? Hematology and Oncology Clinics of North America. 2012;26:205.
- Laboratory reference values. Hematology group. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; Aug. 2011.
- Overview of hemolytic anemia. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Healthcare Professionals. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/hematology_and_oncology/anemias_caused_by_hemolysis/overview_of_hemolytic_anemia.html#v969631. Accessed Feb. 7, 2013.