Are You Anemic? How to Tell If Your Tiredness is a Sign of Something More
Anemia is a condition that occurs when a person has a mineral deficiency or sickle cell anemia, and is the most common blood disease in the United States. This disease prevents blood cells from carrying enough oxygen throughout the body, so the primary symptom is a constant feeling of exhaustion. In addition to extreme tiredness, there are a few other common symptoms of anemia so you can be sure your exhaustion is a sign of something more.
Strange Skin Colors
Without enough blood flowing through your blood vessels, you may look unusually pale and sallow. People who have anemia due to sudden red blood cell destruction may look yellowish because of jaundice. This symptom is more noticeable in people with very fair skin.
Chilly Hands and Feet
When the body is suffering from poor circulation, it is difficult for it to pump blood all the way down to extremities like the hands and feet. These extremities may always seem unnaturally cold for people with anemia and can even become numb from time to time.
Sensations of Weakness
The tiredness of anemia is not just sleepiness. Most anemics feel like their muscles are unusually weak. This happens because muscles cannot work effectively without enough oxygen. If you are doing regular exercise and daily activities that seem unnaturally difficult it may be a sign of this mineral deficiency.
If the anemia is due to an iron deficiency, the arteries of the brain start to swell. This results in chronic headaches that can be extremely painful.
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Without enough oxygen getting to the brain, you may notice feelings of dizziness, lightheadedness, or vertigo. This symptom of anemia is particularly common when people who are sitting stand up suddenly or over-exercise.
Since your muscles cannot function properly without oxygen, they might start cramping up randomly. This happens particularly often in the calves because it is hard for the heart to pump blood all the way down to the ends of your limbs.
Because the body of an anemic person does not have enough blood cells, the heart has to work extra hard to move blood throughout the body. Light exercise or daily activities may make your heart pound, and some anemics even suffer chest pains after a workout.
If you are dealing with these symptoms, it is important to talk to your doctor about the possibility of you having anemia as soon as possible. For those with sickle cell anemia, technological innovations by companies like Hudson Robotics are making it easier for medical researchers to diagnose through laboratory dried blood spot processing. Fortunately, most people merely have the mineral deficiency version of anemia which can usually be cured quickly with proper nutrition and supplementation.
“Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most her time hiking, biking and gardening. For more information on getting diagnosed for anemia through laboratory dried blood spot processing or other methods make sure you talk to your doctor. Contact Brooke via Twitter @BrookeChaplan.”