Recognize the signs and symptoms of anemia. (2023)

HaveAnämie— a condition defined as a lack of healthy red blood cells — means your organs and other tissues aren't getting a normal amount of oxygen. That sounds significant, and it may well be. But the symptoms of anemia vary depending on the extent of the disease as well as thetype of anemiaYou have.

Many people with mild anemia actually have no signs or symptoms. Or, if they do, they may attribute some of them to other causes. Fatigue is a commonly overlooked symptom of anemia.

However, if the anemia worsens or becomes severe, it can lead to a variety of serious symptoms, such as dizziness or shortness of breath. complications such asheart problems, it can be life threatening.

This article examines the many signs and symptoms of anemia, including those that are unique to anemiacertain typesand possible complications.

Recognize the signs and symptoms of anemia. (1)

common symptoms

Anemia means there is a decrease in red blood cells orhemoglobinProtein in these cells that is needed to carry oxygen around the body. The signs and symptoms of anemia tend to gradually increase as the anemia worsens.

Common symptoms of any type of anemia include:

  • tiredness or lack of energy
  • weakness
  • Pale skin
  • yellowish skin

These symptoms can occur regardless of the severity of the anemia, but tend to be more intense in severe anemia.

As anemia progresses, other symptoms may appear, such as:

  • dizziness
  • Headache
  • get up from the seat
  • irritability
  • easy bruises
  • pain of the tongue
  • Lower leg cramps during exercise.
  • Reduced load tolerance.

Because the symptoms of anemia are insidious and similar to the symptoms of other diseases, they are often overlooked.

(Video) Signs and Symptoms of Iron Deficiency and Anemia - What You Need To Know

If you have severe anemia, you may also experience more serious symptoms, such as:

  • shortness of breath (dyspnea)
  • faintingor almost passed out
  • Rapid breathing (tachypnea)
  • Rapid heart rate (tachycardia)
  • irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia)

Since anemia leads to a lack of adequate oxygen in the body, the brain can also become deprived and this can sometimes be the caselead to brain damage.


Common general symptoms such as fatigue and weakness gradually increase with increasing anemia and can occur in any type.

Causes and risk factors of anemia.

Type of specific symptoms

There are also symptoms specific to the type ofiron deficiency anemia, or iron deficiency anemia and many of the rarer types of anemia.

iron deficiency anemia

Iron deficiency anemia is the most common form of anemia.Your body needs iron to make healthy red blood cells, and a deficiency can occur due to blood loss, insufficient intake of iron-rich foods, or medical conditions that affect the absorption of iron from food.

Some additional symptoms that are usually unique to iron deficiency anemia include:

  • cold hands andCake
  • brittle nails
  • Bildor cravings for non-food substances like paper, clay, and paint shavings

Pernicious anemia

Vitamin deficiency anemia occurs when the body is unable to make enough healthy red blood cells due to low levels of certain vitamins. A rare form of what is known as vitamin deficiency anemiapernicious anemiais the result of an inability to absorbVitamin b12.

Pernicious anemia is often caused by an autoimmune disease in which theimmune systemIt mistakenly attacks the cells that line the stomach and produce a protein needed to move and absorb B12.

Symptoms of pernicious anemia include:

(Video) Iron-Deficiency Anemia Signs & Symptoms (ex. Fatigue, “Spoon Nails”, Cracked Lips)

  • Tingling and tingling (also "ants running" orparesthesias)
  • muscle weakness
  • Ataxia: Inability to voluntarily coordinate and control muscle movements, which can affect eye movements, speech and swallowing
  • Digestive problems such as bloating, nausea and loss of appetite
  • an enlarged oneLeber

Symptoms of severe pernicious anemiacan also include:

  • confusion
  • Depression
  • memory problems orcraziness

hemolytic anemia

Hemolytic anemia occurs when red blood cells are destroyed faster than they are formed.

This rare form of anemia can be caused by inherited blood disorders such asSickle cell anemia, or an immune response that causes the immune system to mistakenly attack red blood cells or healthy tissue.

Symptoms of hemolytic anemia include:

  • Dor abdominal superior
  • Brownish or reddish looking urine
  • chills

aplastic anemia

aplastic anemiaThis occurs when blood-forming organs like the bone marrow stop making enough red blood cells.

Aplastic anemia also has its own distinctive and unusual signs and symptoms. These can range from easy to very difficult. They include:

  • frequent infections
  • bleeds easily
  • Febres
  • Small round red spots on the skin caused by bleeding from small blood vessels (Petechien)
  • nosebleeds
  • blood in the stool
  • Heavy bleeding during menstruation
  • nausea
  • skin rash
  • Abnormally shaped kidneys, heart, lungs, digestive tract, arms and hands (specific toFanconianemia, a form of aplastic anemia)


The signs and symptoms vary widely depending on the type and severity of the anemia. Cravings for non-food substances and brittle nails can be signs of iron deficiency anemia. Muscle weakness or tingling can occur with pernicious anemia.

Recognize the signs and symptoms of anemia. (2)


Red blood cells play an important role in delivering oxygen throughout the body; Therefore, when its levels drop, it can lead to a number of complications, especially if the anemia becomes severe.

Anemia can also worsen other underlying conditions and make treatments less effective.

(Video) 6 Common Signs of Anemia | Anemia Symptoms

heart problems

In anemia, the heart has to work harder than normal to make up for the lack of hemoglobin-rich red blood cells.

It pumps harder to ensure oxygenated blood moves throughout the body.

This extra work can put pressure on your heart and lead to complications such as heart failureheart murmurs,Herzhypertrophie(enlargement of the heart muscle) andheart failure.

problems with pregnancy

Anemia is also not uncommon during pregnancy, especially in the second and third trimesters.

However, if it is severe and not treated well, it can result in low birth weight for the baby or premature birth.

It can also increase the risk of your baby suffering from anemia during infancy. Anemia can also put you at risk for blood loss during labor and delivery.


Nerve damage in any form of anemia, such as B. pernicious anemia, can lead to depression.

Women who have iron deficiency anemia during pregnancy are also at increased risk of developing itmelancholy, or depression that occurs within a year of birth.

weakened immune system

Iron deficiency anemia can impair the immune system, making it more susceptible to infections and reducing the body's ability to fight them.

Restless Legs Syndrome

Restless Legs Syndrome, also calledWillis EkbomDisease, in particular, is a complication of iron deficiency anemia.

This is a condition of the nervous system that creates an overwhelming need to move your legs. This is usually felt in the afternoon and at night.

developmental disabilities

Many studies show that iron is necessary for the brain to develop properly. Severe iron deficiency anemia in childhood can result in delays in intellectual, cognitive, and motor development.

(Video) Anemia, Causes, Signs and Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment


Anemia, especially when severe, can overwhelm the heart, weaken the immune system, and lead to other complications. It can cause pregnancy complications or developmental problems in childhood.

When to consult a doctor

If you've been diagnosed with anemia and your symptoms are getting worse, such as chest pain, shortness of breath, fast or irregular heartbeat, go to the hospital right away. If possible, ask someone to drive you. You may have heart problems, including heart failure.

In addition, the following justifies making an appointment with your doctor:

  • Have you ever been diagnosed with an underlying condition that may lead to anemia (eg, kidney disease,VIH/SIDA, cancer orCrohn's disease) and notice signs or symptoms of anemia
  • Have a family history of hereditary anemia (consider genetic testing and counseling for this)
  • You have a variety of anemia symptoms; this could be a sign of a more serious or chronic condition such asKrebsthe chronicinternal bleeding


Anemia can cause a variety of signs and symptoms, depending on the type, cause, and severity.

Symptoms may include tiredness, weakness, pale or yellow skin, feeling cold or dizzy.

If you have signs or symptoms of anemia, seek medical attention, especially for severe symptoms such as shortness of breath or fainting.

A word from Verywell

Anemia can be a serious condition, and it's important to follow your doctor's orders and recommendations regarding diet, medications, exercise, and other lifestyle choices to avoid developing complications.

If you have been diagnosed with anemia, tell your doctor if you have any new symptoms or if you notice a significant increase in your existing symptoms.

The link between cancer and anemia


Recognize the signs and symptoms of anemia.? ›

It carries oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. Anemia has three main causes: blood loss, lack of red blood cell production, and high rates of red blood cell destruction.

What are 5 symptoms of anaemia? ›

If the anemia gets worse, symptoms may include:
  • Blue color to the whites of the eyes.
  • Brittle nails.
  • Desire to eat ice or other non-food things (pica syndrome)
  • Lightheadedness when you stand up.
  • Pale skin color.
  • Shortness of breath with mild activity or even at rest.
  • Sore or inflamed tongue.
  • Mouth ulcers.

What are the eight signs of anemia? ›

Symptoms usually include the following:
  • Weakness.
  • Tiredness.
  • Lethargy.
  • Restless legs.
  • Shortness of breath, especially on exertion, near syncope.
  • Chest pain and reduced exercise tolerance- with more severe anemia.
  • Pica- desire to eat unusual and nondietary substances.
  • Mild anemia may otherwise be asymptomatic.
Aug 8, 2022

What are the 3 main reasons for anemia? ›

It carries oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. Anemia has three main causes: blood loss, lack of red blood cell production, and high rates of red blood cell destruction.

What are 3 types of anemia? ›

Many types of anemia exist, such as iron-deficiency anemia, pernicious anemia, aplastic anemia, and hemo- lytic anemia. The different types of anemia are linked to various diseases and conditions. Anemia can affect people of all ages, races, and ethnici- ties.

What is a warning for anemia? ›

Warning signs of anemia you shouldn't ignore

Persistent fatigue. Weakness. Dizziness. Shortness of breath.

What is the first stage of anemia? ›

First stage: Iron stores are depleted. In this stage, the supply of iron to make new hemoglobin and red blood cells is dwindling but hasn't yet affected your red blood cells. Second stage: When iron stores are low, the normal process of making red blood cells is altered.

What are the beginning stages of anemia? ›

What Are the Symptoms of Anemia?
  • Easy fatigue and loss of energy.
  • Unusually rapid heart beat, particularly with exercise.
  • Shortness of breath and headache, particularly with exercise.
  • Difficulty concentrating.
  • Dizziness.
  • Pale skin.
  • Leg cramps.
  • Insomnia.
Jul 28, 2021

What is the last stage of anemia? ›

The last stage is iron deficiency anemia. It is characterized by a low hemoglobin concentration with small (microcytic), pale (hypochromic) RBCs. Symptoms include fatigue upon exertion, weakness, headaches, apathy, pallor, poor resistance to cold temperatures, low physical work capacity, and poor immune function.

How do you check for anemia? ›

Blood tests

It's often done as part of a routine checkup. This test measures many different parts of your blood, including red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. Red blood cell levels that are higher or lower than normal could be a sign of anemia.

What is the biggest symptom of anemia? ›

Anemia is a problem of not having enough healthy red blood cells or hemoglobin to carry oxygen to the body's tissues. Hemoglobin is a protein found in red cells that carries oxygen from the lungs to all other organs in the body. Having anemia can cause tiredness, weakness and shortness of breath.

What do anemia bruises look like? ›

People with iron deficiency anemia may experience itchy skin (pruritis) that can become red, bumpy and sore when scratched. Rashes associated with aplastic anemia usually appear as tiny red or purple dots under your skin (petechiae). The dots can form large patches but aren't usually itchy or painful.

Does anemia make you sick? ›

If iron deficiency anaemia is left untreated, it can make you more susceptible to illness and infection, as a lack of iron affects the body's natural defence system (the immune system).

What happens to your body when you're anemic? ›

Anemia occurs when there aren't enough healthy red blood cells to carry oxygen to your body's organs. As a result, it's common to feel cold and symptoms of tiredness or weakness. There are many different types of anemia, but the most common type is iron-deficiency anemia.

How do you fix anemia? ›

Iron supplements can increase the iron in your body. This may help treat iron-deficiency anemia. Iron supplements are generally not given to people who do not have iron-deficiency anemia because too much iron can damage your organs. Vitamin B12 supplements or shots can help treat vitamin B12–deficiency anemia.

Do you get cold when you're anemic? ›

Cold hands and feet can be a result of iron deficiency anemia. People with anemia have poor blood circulation throughout their bodies because they don't have enough red blood cells to provide oxygen to their tissue.

Which anemia is serious? ›

This condition can range from mild to life-threatening; the most severe form is called Cooley's anemia.

Does anemia cause coughing? ›

Because iron helps regulate the production of proteins in the immune system that control inflammation, an iron deficiency might make the upper airway more prone to inflammation, leading to this chronic cough, Bucca reasons.

Does anemia cause weight loss? ›

The connection between low iron, body weight, and hemoglobin is apparent when low energy makes exercising and burning calories difficult, causing weight gain. Conversely, iron deficiency anemia may contribute to decreased appetite, resulting in weight loss.

What is a red flag for anemia? ›

If you suspect you might have an anemic disorder, check yourself for the following symptoms and call your doctor for further advice. A sudden lack of energy and chronic fatigue are warning signs that you might be lacking enough iron.

What does bad anemia feel like? ›

Weakness. Pale skin. Chest pain, fast heartbeat or shortness of breath. Headache, dizziness or lightheadedness.

What will happen if anemia is not treated? ›

Undiagnosed or untreated iron-deficiency anemia may cause serious complications such as fatigue, headaches, restless legs syndrome, heart problems, pregnancy complications, and developmental delays in children. Iron-deficiency anemia can also make other chronic conditions worse or cause their treatments to work poorly.

What foods should you avoid if you are anemic? ›

Foods to avoid

milk and some dairy products. foods that contain tannins, such as grapes, corn, and sorghum. foods that contain phytates or phytic acid, such as brown rice and whole-grain wheat products. foods that contain oxalic acid, such as peanuts, parsley, and chocolate.

What is the immediate cause of anemia? ›

Figure 1 outlines the four main types of the immediate causes of anemia—infection, micronutrient deficiency, inflammation, and genetic red blood cell disorders—which affect the body's ability to access, absorb, and use important nutrients and undermine red blood cell production.

Does anemia affect your appetite? ›

Iron deficiency anemia (IDA) is associated with decreased appetite. The ghrelin hormone is one of the major regulators of appetite.

What are the symptoms of anemia and heart failure? ›

Signs and symptoms of anemic heart failure
  • Feeling tired and weak due to oxygen deficiency.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Chest pain.
  • Fast or irregular heartbeat.
Apr 11, 2023

What does anemia chest pain feel like? ›

What does chest pain from anemia feel like? As with other conditions that are often associated with chest pain as a symptom, anemic-related chest pain can feel like you have something pressing or squeezing on your chest. It's also often associated with a racing heartbeat that can induce anxiety or a panic attack.

How can I check my anemia at home? ›

Self-Checks/At-Home Testing
  1. Fatigue (feeling tired or as though you don't have enough energy to do everyday things)
  2. Difficulty concentrating.
  3. Dizziness.
  4. Cold hands and/or feet.
  5. Shortness of breath on exertion.
  6. Heart palpitations.
  7. Headaches.
  8. Pica (cravings for non-food items, such as grass, ice, dirt, etc.)
Mar 13, 2021

What is the fastest way to cure anemia? ›

If iron deficiency anemia is severe, you may need iron given intravenously or you may need blood transfusions to help replace iron and hemoglobin quickly.

Can low iron cause weight gain? ›

You may also find that low iron causes weight gain. There are a couple of reasons for this; firstly, your energy levels are low and so your exercise levels reduce; secondly, iron is essential for thyroid function, and an underactive thyroid will lead to weight gain.

Can anemia cause joint pain? ›

Left untreated, anemia can cause extreme fatigue and weakness. Though anemia doesn't cause the joint pain experienced with RA, other symptoms include headaches, pale skin, shortness of breath, and a rapid heartbeat.

Can stress cause anemia? ›

Sustained stress is another cause of anaemia. Excessive stress hinders the manufacture of hydrochloric acid in your body, which is very important for the integration of iron and proteins. The deficiency of iron is equal to lack of haemoglobin and thus, anaemia.

What does anemic eyes look like? ›

Eye symptoms of low iron can include a pale coloring of the inside of the lower eyelids. In moderate or severe cases of iron deficiency anemia, the inside layer of the lower eyelid is very pale pink or yellow instead of red. Rather than low iron, one common cause of blurry vision is dry eye.

How tired does anemia make you feel? ›

People who are anemic most often experience fatigue. While it's normal to feel tired after a long day at work or a heavy exercise session, when you're anemic, you feel weary after shorter and shorter periods of exertion as your body's cells become starved for oxygen.

What does anemia headache feel like? ›

The type of headache a person experiences as a result of iron-deficiency anemia can vary. Some people will experience a dull aching sensation throughout their head. They may also feel lightheaded or dizzy.

What can be mistaken for anaemia? ›

Advanced Study
  • Crohn disease.
  • Iron.
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease.
  • Erythema.
  • Stroke.
  • Viral hepatitis.
  • Colorectal cancer.
  • Roundworms.

Can anemia cause weird symptoms? ›

Not even your mental health is spared from anemia. Because symptoms such as difficulty sleeping, lack of energy, fatigue, racing heartbeat, and restlessness are so closely linked to depression and anxiety, they can sometimes be mistaken for these mental health concerns.

When should you suspect anemia? ›

Symptoms of anemia are diverse and can include fatigue, weakness, lightheadedness, headache, pallor or jaundice, tachycardia, palpitations, chest pain, dyspnea, cold distal extremities, and claudication. These signs and symptoms vary in prevalence and magnitude.

When does anemia become serious? ›

Mild: Hemoglobin 10.0 g/dL to lower limit of normal. Moderate: Hemoglobin 8.0 to 10.0 g/dL. Severe: Hemoglobin 6.5 to 7.9 g/dL[1] Life-threatening: Hemoglobin less than 6.5 g/dL.

What are red flags of anemia? ›

Warning signs of anemia you shouldn't ignore

Weakness. Dizziness. Shortness of breath. Irregular heartbeat.

What drinks are high in iron? ›

Iron-rich drinks include apple juice, apricot nectar, beef broth, beet juice, cocoa using natural cocoa powder, “green” smoothies, orange juice, pea protein smoothies, prune juice, tomato juice, and spinach juice.

What should anemic people eat and drink? ›

Choose iron-rich foods
  • Red meat, pork and poultry.
  • Seafood.
  • Beans.
  • Dark green leafy vegetables, such as spinach.
  • Dried fruit, such as raisins and apricots.
  • Iron-fortified cereals, breads and pastas.
  • Peas.
Jan 4, 2022

Do you feel sick with anemia? ›

If iron deficiency anaemia is left untreated, it can make you more susceptible to illness and infection, as a lack of iron affects the body's natural defence system (the immune system).


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