Anemia is a health condition where the body doesn’t have the proper amount of healthy red blood cells needed to carry the appropriate amount of oxygen to the tissues of the body. This condition can lead to feeling weak and tired. There are a few different types of anemia, each of which has its own cause. It can also range from mild to severe and be temporary or long term. We’ll go over more about that below.
Depending on the cause of your anemia, symptoms may be varied. However, we will include a list of common symptoms:
If you are beginning to feel more tired or fatigued than usual, it’s a good idea to speak with your doctor. Some forms of anemia are extremely common and can easily be treated. However, keep in mind that fatigue can be caused by many health conditions so it is not certain you have anemia.
The most common kind of anemia found around the globe is iron deficiency anemia. As the name suggests, this is caused by a lack of iron in the body. The marrow of your bone requires iron to make hemoglobin. Without the proper iron, hemoglobin for red blood cells won’t be produced.
Another type of anemia is vitamin deficiency anemia. This is caused by a lack of vitamin B-12 and folate, which assist in making red blood cells. Without these vitamins, there will be decreased production of red blood cells. Some people also have difficulty with processing B-12, which can lead to what is called pernicious anemia.
Other types of anemia may be caused by the body not producing enough blood cells, autoimmune disorders, and more. However, these are more uncommon.
There are a number of different factors that increase your risk of anemia:
Your doctor will ask you about your family and medical history, carry out a physical, and run various tests. These tests include a complete blood count (CBC), which counts the number of blood cells that are in a sample of blood. Another test may be done to determine the size and shape of the red blood cells in a sample.
Part of the workup for anemia may also include an endoscopic evaluation by a gastroenterologist to look for sources of blood loss through the GI tract as that is a common cause for iron deficiency anemia. There are various endoscopic technologies including EGD , colonoscopy , and even video capsule endoscopy (VCE) to look for bleeding. VCE is a small capsule with a camera inside that is ingested by the patient to provide a video of the entire length of the GI tract from the inside.
If your anemia is caused by an iron deficiency, you may be asked to make some changes to your diet and start a regimen of iron supplements. For vitamin deficient anemia, you will often be provided dietary supplements and directions to increase these nutrients in your daily meals
Other types of anemia may include treatment of medication, supplements, antibiotics, bone marrow transplant, chemotherapy, and other therapies. Sometimes anemia can be treated endoscopically if there is a source of bleeding found in the GI tract.
Are you interested in learning more about Anemia, or other GI conditions? We invite you to contact us to learn more. Dr. Prashant Kedia is a therapeutic endoscopist and gastroenterologist serving patients in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and beyond. Call today to schedule an appointment at (214) 941-6891.