Last updated: March 1, 2017

Anemia symptoms

Anemia symptoms: An overview

Anemia symptoms depend upon several factors most of which are determined by the unique circumstances of the patient who is having those symptoms. To understand anemia symptoms, you have to know how anemia changes the normal body physiology and produces these anemia symptoms. The term anemia simply means lack of blood. Although blood has many components, the part of the blood that gives its characteristic red color is also the one that carries oxygen from your lungs into your tissues. Oxygen is what what keeps your body alive. When we talk about anemia symptoms, we are specially talking about the symptoms resulting from lack of that particular red part of the blood. If you understand this basic principle, you will be able to understand how anemia symptoms would affect your body.

Anemia Symptoms

Image courtesy of: National Kidney & Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NKUDIC)

When the number of red cells in the blood that have the red pigment called hemoglobin go down, your body will be less able to supply oxygen to the tissues and you will have anemia symptoms. Anemia symptoms may be a result of loss of blood or it could be because of a defect in the production of the red blood cells or the pigment hemoglobin. Whatever the cause may be, anemia symptoms are, in fact, the symptoms produced by lack of oxygen at the tissue level. When your body senses the lack of oxygen, it tries to work extra hard to pump more blood into your system and that becomes a part of the anemia symptoms. In otherwise normal and healthy patients, this extra blood pumping may just cause a faster heartbeat and that may be the only one of the anemia symptoms that patient may have for a long time.That patient may not have any of the other anemia symptoms until the anemia is very severe. But a patient who had a history of heart disease will have several other anemia symptoms very early in the disease. When that patient with the heart disease has anemia symptoms and the heart tries to pump more blood, it will cause some strain on the heart. That may result in chest pain. Chest pain may be a manifestation of anemia symptoms in a heart patient. In fact, chest pain is in the list of anemia symptoms but it appears with anemia of different severity depending upon how healthy the person's heart is.

Anemia symptoms in a patient with lung disease may include shortness of breath. After reading about anemia symptoms in patients with heart disease, it may be easier to explain anemia symptoms in patients with lung disease. When the red blood cell count go down in a patient with heart disease, the body tries to get more oxygen by pumping more blood. In the patient with the diseased heart but normal lungs, the heart was under stress to pump more blood but lungs were able to supply the extra oxygen to the excess blood. But when the lungs are diseases, they are unable to exchange enough air and the patient develops shortness of breath as one of the main symptoms of anemia.

In a similar way, anemia symptoms depend upon how other organs and overall health of the patient contribute in the development of anemia symptoms in that particular patient. That is why you have to really understand the circumstances under which the patient developed the anemia symptoms to clearly understand how anemia symptoms develop in any particular patient. I have composed a series of articles based on my real patients who had anemia. When you read these stories and understand how anemia is diagnosed and treated in real life, you will have a clear idea about how anemia symptoms develop. Otherwise, just reading a list of anemia sypmtoms in a textbook or a health website will not help you much as no two patients with anemia have the exact same anemia symptoms.



[pagelist child_of="current"]