Anemia occurs when the amount of red blood cells in the body are low or when the amount of hemoglobin (oxygen-carrying protein) in the red blood cells is inadequate.
COMMON CAUSES OF ANEMIA
- Iron deficiency from chronic bleeding.
- Eating inadequate amounts of iron-rich food.
- A deficiency of vitamin B-12.
- A deficiency of folic acid.
- Poor absorption of iron by the body.
WHY SHOULD YOU BE CONCERNED ABOUT ANEMIA?
Iron-deficiency anemia, the most common type of anemia, strikes 20 percent of all pre-menopausal women in the United States. The primary cause is loss of blood through menstruation. This type of anemia also commonly occurs during pregnancy.
WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP PREVENT ANEMIA
- Eat a nutritious, well-balanced diet that includes a variety of iron-rich foods such as meat (especially liver), fish, poultry, eggs, legumes, potatoes and rice.
- Take iron supplements during menstruation and during pregnancy.
- Eat plenty of raw fruits and vegetables to make sure you get enough folic acid.
- Drink citrus juice when eating iron-rich foods or taking an iron supplement to aid absorption of the iron by the body.
- Avoid drinking tea, coffee or milk with iron-rich foods since they inhibit iron absorption. Avoid excessive consumption of alcohol.
VISIT YOUR DOCTOR IF YOU
- have a fast or irregular heartbeat or palpitations.
- experience breathlessness and fainting.
- are bleeding from the nose, mouth, gums, vagina or rectum.
- have red dots of bleeding under your skin.
- have ulcers in the mouth, throat or rectum.
- are bruising without reason.
- have bloody or black, tar-like stools or blood in your urine.
- are bleeding between menstrual periods.
- experience heavy menstrual periods for several months.
- normally bleed seven days or more each menstrual period.
- have ringing in your ears.
- are tired and weak for over two weeks despite taking steps, for self-care.
- crave unusual substances such as soil and ice.
- have pale skin, gums, fingernail beds and eyelids.