Anemia News

Anemia is a blood disorder that occurs when the body does not have enough red blood cells, or when red blood cells don’t function properly.

The main function of red blood cells is to carry oxygen to many parts of the body, via their bond with a protein called hemoglobin. When people are anemic, their body is typically not getting enough oxygen, which can lead to a variety of symptoms. A common blood test can determine whether someone has anemia.

Causes

A number of factors can cause anemia. In many instances, it's simply due to not getting enough iron, folate or other types of vitamins and minerals in your regular diet. Blood loss from a disease, an injury or menstruation can also lead to anemia, and some medications and diseases -- kidney disease and cancer treatments, for example -- can cause it as well. Certain types of anemia, such as sickle cell anemia, aplastic anemia and thalassemia, are genetic disorders.

Symptoms of Anemia

Because anemia typically leads to lower oxygen levels throughout the body, common symptoms include dizziness, shortness of breath, weakness, headache, cold hands or feet, yellow or pale skin and heart issues like rapid heartbeat and chest pain. These symptoms can worsen if the anemia is not treated, leading to organ damage and even life-threatening symptoms.

Treatment

In many instances, changes in diet can help with nutrition-related anemia. Consuming iron-rich foods like lean red meat, beans and iron-fortified breads and cereals can help, as can eating foods rich in vitamin C, which enhance the absorption of iron. Folic acid and vitamin B12 are two other nutrients that also sometimes help prevent anemia. In certain situations, doctors recommend vitamin supplements to help prevent or treat the condition.

If anemia is caused by factors aside from diet, an adjustment to medications or the treatment of an underlying disease may be the key to controlling it. Women of childbearing age should also be tested for anemia every 5 to 10 years, beginning in adolescence.

SOURCES: Office on Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; American Society of Hematology

Date Posted
Article Title
9/21/2017
Frequent Blood Donations Safe for Some, But Not All

In certain donors, iron deficiency might need to be addressed long term, study finds

9/20/2017
Weight-Loss Surgery May Leave Some Anemic

It's a common problem, but one easily solved with long-term follow-up

8/2/2017
Medical Reality Catches Up to Science Fiction

Scientists unveil their Star Trek-like 'tricorder' to track human health

5/16/2017
Iron Pills No Help for Certain Type of Heart Failure

High-dose supplements failed to improve exercise capacity, study says

3/1/2017
Gene Therapy: A Breakthrough for Sickle Cell Anemia?

But treatment has only been given to one patient so far

2/21/2017
Testosterone Therapy May Have Benefits, But Risks Too

While trials show it boosts bone density and lowers anemia risk, heart risks also seen

12/30/2016
Could Anemia Cause Hearing Loss?

Iron deficiency might keep ear cells from getting oxygen they need, study suggests

10/12/2016
Researchers Pinpoint More Genes Linked to Vitiligo

Genetic clues to this autoimmune disease could lead to breakthroughs for related disorders, researchers say

10/11/2016
Chronic Disease in Mom May Be Linked to Newborns' Heart Disease

Risk highest among women born with heart defects or who developed type 2 diabetes, study suggests

8/18/2016
8/17/2016
Anemia Boosts Stroke Death Risk, Study Finds

Blood condition is common among older patients

2/15/2016
Anemia Drugs May Not Boost Kidney Patients' Well-Being: Study

Review of 17 clinical trials finds no evidence that certain costly meds improve patients' quality of life

1/25/2016
Preventable Ills Cause Nearly 8 Million Childhood Deaths Globally

Diarrhea, respiratory infections are top killers, research shows

12/8/2015
Sickle Cell Drug Doesn't Relieve Pain Crises: Study

International research finds prasugrel isn't effective at easing suffering

6/18/2015
Health Tip: Recognizing Signs of Anemia

You may feel weak and tired

4/28/2015
Few Sickle Cell Patients Receiving Beneficial Drug, Study Finds

Medication helps reduce painful episodes

3/31/2015
Benefits of Iron Supplements Unclear for Pregnant Women, Young Children

Task force concludes there's too little information to recommend screening for deficiencies

2/10/2015
Iron Supplements May Help Blood Donors Recover More Quickly

Finding could allow people to donate again sooner to help keep blood supply adequate, expert says

9/16/2014
Health Tip: Know Your Risk for Anemia

Low-iron diet may be to blame

9/10/2014
New Guidelines for Sickle Cell Disease

Recommendations emphasize use of drug hydroxyurea and transfusion treatments

7/1/2014
Anemia Treatments Don't Boost Recovery From Brain Injury, Study Finds

Medication to boost red blood cells, more blood transfusions made no difference in outcomes

1/30/2014
Health Tip: Need Extra Iron?

Determine if you're at risk of a deficiency

10/22/2013
Low Vitamin D Tied to Anemia Risk in Kids

Large study also found racial differences in anemia, vitamin levels

7/31/2013
Anemia Might Raise Dementia Risk, Study Suggests

Screening elderly for the blood condition makes sense, researcher says

6/21/2013
Iron Supplements May Prevent Anemia During Pregnancy

The benefits also include improved birth weights, analysis shows

5/30/2013
Transfusions With Heart Surgery Might Raise Infection Risk

Delicate balance exists between treating anemia, avoiding side effects from infusion of red blood cells, study says

4/3/2013
Health Tip: Slumping Iron?

Learn the warning signs of iron deficiency anemia

11/7/2012
Loss of Key Blood Cell Gene Tied to Anemia, Animal Research Suggests

Seniors, women of childbearing age and kids at greatest risk for the blood disorder, researchers say

10/4/2012
Severe Anemia Linked to Higher Death Risk After Heart Surgery

Condition should be treated before elective procedures if possible, researcher says

10/3/2012
Early Humans Commonly Consumed Meat, Researchers Say

Lesions on skull fragment indicate that meat was regular part of diet more than a million years ago

9/5/2012
Health Tip: Are You at Risk for Anemia?

Make sure your diet includes iron, vitamins and minerals

7/2/2012
No Health Risk When Jehovah's Witnesses Refuse Blood: Study

Heart-surgery survival similar between 'Witnesses' and transfused patients

5/3/2012
Researchers Rejuvenate Blood-Forming Stem Cells in Mice

Scientists hope to apply findings to human aging in future

4/5/2012
Infection Might Raise Blood Clot Risk for Older Adults: Study

These clots often start in the legs but can also affect the heart, lung or brain, researchers say

3/27/2012
Omontys Approved for Anemic People With Kidney Disease

Drug designed to stimulate production of red blood cells

3/27/2012
Tighter Recommendations Issued for Blood Cell Transfusions

Study found patients do just as well with lower thresholds for red blood cells

2/2/2012
Anemia May Boost Death Risk After Stroke

Study of men finds the blood disorder affects survival rates up to a year later

12/15/2011
Low Iron Levels May Increase Blood Clot Risk

Researchers say next step is determining if treating iron deficiency wards off dangerous clots

12/2/2011
Sickle Cell Disease Tied to 'Silent Strokes' in Children

Anemia and high blood pressure together or alone increased the risk in study of young patients

10/6/2011
Anemia Could Add to Surgical Risks

Likelihood of complications, death higher for patients with this blood disorder, study says

8/8/2011
Many Heart Patients Anemic After Too Many Blood Tests in Hospital

Researchers warn this could translate into worse outcomes

6/24/2011
FDA Urges Reduced Doses for Anemia Drugs

Can increase risk of cardiovascular problems in patients with kidney disease, agency says

6/10/2011
Study May Dispel Worries About High Levels of Folic Acid

Even if vitamin B12 levels are low, expert says, folate won't exacerbate problems

6/7/2011
Health Tip: Pregnancy Requires More Iron

Expecting women may be at risk for anemia

3/25/2011
Poor Eating Habits May Lead to Anemia in Older Women

Study finds that as nutrient intake declines, risk rises

3/4/2011
Health Tip: What's Behind Iron Deficiency

Here are some common risk factors

11/9/2010
Scientists Say They've Made Blood From Skin

Discovery could benefit surgical, cancer, anemia patients, researchers say

10/26/2010
Use Anemia Drugs for Cancer Patients With Caution, Experts Say

New guidelines issued for drugs that reduce transfusion risk

10/19/2010
FDA Advisers Back Anemia Drugs for Kidney Patients

More research needed on optimum dose, despite stroke risk posed by drugs, panel members say

10/7/2010
Health Tip: Feed Your Toddler Enough Iron

How to offer sufficient iron in the diet