Anemia is a common blood disorder that occurs when there are fewer red blood cells than normal, or there is a low concentration of hemoglobin in the blood.
Anemia is often a symptom of a disease rather than a disease itself. Anemia usually develops due to the presence of one of the following:
• excessive blood loss or hemorrhaging
• deficient production of red cells
• excessive red cell destruction
• both decreased production and excessive destruction of red blood cells
Most symptoms of anemia are a result of the decrease of oxygen in the cells or "hypoxia." Because red blood cells, as hemoglobin, carry oxygen, a decreased production or number of these cells result in "hypoxia." Many of the symptoms will not be present with mild anemia, as the body can often compensate for gradual changes in hemoglobin.
The following are the most common symptoms of anemia. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently. The symptoms may include, but are not limited to, the following:
• abnormal paleness or lack of color of the skin
• increased heart rate (tachycardia)
• breathlessness, or difficulty catching a breath (dyspnea)
• lack of energy, or tiring easily (fatigue)
• dizziness, or vertigo, especially when standing
• irregular menstruation cycles
• absent or delayed menstruation (amenorrhea)
• sore or swollen tongue (glossitis)
• jaundice, or yellowing of skin, eyes, and mouth
• enlarged spleen or liver (splenomegaly, hepatomegaly)
• impaired wound and tissue healing
The symptoms of anemia may resemble other blood disorders or medical problems. Because anemia is often a symptom associated with another disease, it is important for your physician to be aware of symptoms you may be experiencing. Always consult your physician for a diagnosis.