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 or vitamin B-12 deficiency, 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. It may also be a warning sign of bleeding 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.
Aug. 19, 2014
- Your guide to anemia. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/. Accessed June 26, 2014.
- Marx JA, et al. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 8th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2014. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed June 26, 2014.
- Anemia. American Society of Hematology. http://www.hematology.org/Patients/Anemia/. Accessed June 26, 2014.
- Schrier SL. Approach to the adult patient with anemia. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed June 26, 2014.
- Anemia. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/anemia/. Accessed Feb. 7, 2013.
- Dietary supplement fact sheet: Iron. Office of Dietary Supplements. http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Iron-HealthProfessional/. Accessed May 25, 2014.
- Dietary supplement fact sheet: Folate. Office of Dietary Supplements. http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Folate-HealthProfessional/. Accessed May 25, 2014.
- Dietary supplement fact sheet: Vitamin C. Office of Dietary Supplements. http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminC-HealthProfessional/. Accessed June 26, 2014.
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