There are several types of anemia. Anemia has a significant impact on your overall health and well being—primarily your heart. Today we are going over a few common types of anemia, their causes, symptoms, and what to expect if you are found to be anemic.
Anemia due to lack of B-12 can occur in people who have had gastric bypass/gastric sleeve surgery, chronic inflammatory bowel disease, long term PPI use (Omeprazole, pantoprazole, etc.,) and long term use of certain other medications. B12 plays a vital role in the development of red blood cells. B12 is found mainly in red meat, fish, eggs and dairy. B-complex vitamins are commonly taken for energy and focus (think Red Bull!)
Anemia due to lack of red blood cells from loss of blood: This includes women during pregnancy, after the baby is born, if they have heavy, frequent periods, and patients that have undergone recent surgery. It can also happen if there is internal bleeding, most often in the intestines.
Iron-deficiency Anemia: Iron is a vital element used to bind oxygen to hemoglobin. This is what carries oxygen to all of the cells in your body. This means that without enough iron, your heart needs to work harder to cycle the anemic cells throughout your body to provide them the necessary oxygen.
Children can also become anemic if they drink too much milk, don’t eat enough iron-rich foods, or have an increased lead level. This is why we check a lead level and hemoglobin around age one.
Although a direct link has not been completely established between anemia and heart failure, there seems to be a correlation. Low iron storage causes people to have a low capacity for aerobic activity. This means that your heart has to work harder to give you enough oxygen to exercise, walk up the stairs, push a shopping cart at the store—basically anything!
So what can we do?
Work with your provider to get your blood count and iron panel checked if you are symptomatic or in one of the high risk categories listed above. Many times we will recommend iron supplements or B vitamin supplements/injections. If you have great difficulty absorbing oral iron, you may need to have IV infusions of iron. For B vitamins, we have injections available for replacement for those who can’t absorb it orally.
For kids, they should not have more than 24 ounces (3 cups) of milk per day. If a woman is having problems with heavy periods, it is important to treat the cause of the blood loss in addition to treating the deficiency.
Our hearts are very important, so let’s take good care of them!
Stay Well !!!
Sarah Lee, ARNP