Anemia: a condition marked by a deficiency of red blood cells or of hemoglobin in the blood, resulting in pallor and weariness.
My doctor told me a couple of years ago that I am anemic. He advised me to take an iron supplement. I really didn’t think much about it after that. Recently I haven’t been feeling my best and I think the reason is because of the anemia.
I decided to write this post because I want to know more about anemia, what it means to be anemic and what can be done about it other than taking a supplement.
When I look at this list of symptoms I have all of them except the pale or yellowish skin. The only time my skin is pale or yellowish is when I’m having a Raynaud’s flare. The dizziness and lightheadedness has happened a couple of times in the week to ten days.
It’s time to get to know this medical condition just like I have learned about my other ones. Here we go!
How much iron do we need every day? It depends on your age and sex. Men need 8 milligrams (mg). Women should get 18 mg up to age 50, but only 8 after that. If you’re pregnant, you need as much as 27.
Anemia signs and symptoms vary depending on the cause of your anemia. They may include:
- Pale or yellowish skin
- Irregular heartbeats
- Shortness of breath
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Chest pain
- Cold hands and feet
At first anemia can be so mild that it goes unnoticed. But symptoms worsen as anemia worsens.
Holy cow! There are more than 400 types of anemia! Thankfully they are divided into three groups:
- Your body doesn’t make enough red blood cells. Red blood cells may be faulty or decreased due to abnormal red blood cells or a lack of minerals and vitamins needed for red blood cells to work properly. Conditions associated with these causes of anemia include the following:
- Sickle cell anemia
- Iron-deficiency anemia
- Vitamin deficiency
- Bone marrow and stem cell problems
- Other health conditions
- Bleeding causes you to lose red blood cells more quickly than they can be replaced. This kind of chronic bleeding commonly results from the following:
- Gastrointestinal conditions such as ulcers, hemorrhoids, gastritis (inflammation of the stomach), and cancer.
- Use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin or ibuprofen, which can cause ulcers and gastritis
- Menstruation and childbirth in women, especially if menstrual bleeding is excessive and if there are multiple pregnancies
- Your body destroys red blood cells (hemolytic anemia). Known causes of hemolytic anemia may include:
- Inherited conditions, such as sickle cell anemia and thalassemia
- Stressors such as infections, drugs, snake or spider venom, or certain foods
- Toxins from advanced liver or kidney disease
- Inappropriate attack by the immune system (called hemolytic disease of the newborn when it occurs in the fetus of a pregnant woman)
- Vascular grafts, prosthetic heart valves, tumors, severe burns, exposure to certain chemicals, severe hypertension, and clotting disorders
- In rare cases, an enlarged spleencan trap red blood cells and destroy them before their circulating time is up.
Anemia associated with other conditions usually occurs when there are too few hormones necessary for red blood cell production. Conditions causing this type of anemia include the following:
- Advanced kidney disease
- Other chronic diseases, such as cancer, infection, lupus, diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis
- Old age
I love knowing that I can simply start with my diet. This is so easy to do and I don’t need a prescription from the doctor to begin.
Foods rich in iron
Beef = sirloin, ribeye, ground
- 6 ounces of grilled sirloin steak delivers up 3.2 mg
- Ribeye – 1 steak = 6.1 mg
- Ground Beef – 85% lean, 3 oz = 2.2 mg
Poultry = Duck, chicken, turkey
- Duck – 3 oz = 2.3 mg
- Chicken – 3 oz = 1 mg.
- Turkey – 3 oz = 1 mg.
Dark leafy greens = spinach, kale, or collard greens
- 1 cup of spinach = .8 mg
- 1 cup of collard greens = .2 mg
- 1 cup of kale = 1 mg
Fish = Tuna, sardines, mackerel, and haddock
- Mackerel – 1 cup cooked = 1.9 mg
- Haddock – 1 filet = .3 mg
- Sardines – 1 – 3.75 oz can of sardines in oil = 2.7 mg
Seafood = shrimp, oysters, lobster, scallops
- Shrimp – 100 grams cooked = .5 mg
- Oysters – 3 oz = 6.7 mg
- Lobster – 1 cup cooked = .4 mg
- Scallops – 3 oz = .5 mg
Eggs – 1 large boiled = .6 mg
Nuts = Cashews, pine nuts, macadamia, almonds
- Cashews – 1 oz = 1.9 mg
- Pine Nuts – 1 cup = 7.5 mg
- Macadamia – 1 cup = 4.9 mg
- Almonds – 1 cup = 3.4 mg
Seeds = Sunflower, flax, pumpkin
- Sunflower – 1 cup = 7.4 mg
- Flax Seeds – 1 Tbsp = .6 mg
- Pumpkin – 1 cup = 2.1 mg
Beans= black beans, navy beans, garbanzo and lentils – 1 cup cooked
- Black beans = 16 mg
- Navy beans = 4.3 mg
- Garbanzo = 12.5 mg
- Lentils = 6.6 mg
Dark Chocolate and Cocoa Powder
- Dark Chocolate – 100 grams = 11.9 mg
- Cocoa Powder – 1 Tbsp. = .7 mg
Looking at this list of foods that are high in iron, I can create a great menu that will boost my iron and help me to keep away those symptoms of iron deficiency. I look forward to not feeling so drained and better yet to not feel light headed.