Can Chronic Diseases Cause Anemia?

There are many different types of anemia. Some are short-term, others can last through your entire life. Some are inherited, other are caused by an iron or vitamin deficiency. Then, you have anemia of chronic disease. This is caused by an existing illness that effects the blood and brings on the anemia symptoms.

Anemia is the most common blood disorder. It occurs when there is an insufficient amount of healthy red blood cells in the body. This causes the amount of hemoglobin to decrease. Hemoglobin is an iron-rich substance in the cells that is responsible for transporting oxygen to the body’s organs and tissues. Without enough hemoglobin, there isn’t enough oxygen. Therefore, the organ’s and tissues will not function properly.

When a person has an existing disease, it can cause the destruction of red blood cells, or even a decreased production of them. This will cause anemia of chronic disease. Cancer, liver failure, kidney disease and ulcers are common illnesses that cause anemia of chronic disease. Many cancers effect the production of red blood cells. The decreased amount will reduce the amount of oxygen and bring on the symptoms. Liver diseases may cause symptoms in a different way. The liver is responsible for ridding the blood of any harmful substance or objects. If there is an increased amount of dead or dying red blood cells, the liver will be working overtime to get rid of them. Sometimes, the liver cannot work as fast as needed and a blockage will form in the blood vessel. This will cause the blood flow to reduce and the oxygen will not make it to other parts of the body.

Anemia of a chronic disease can sometimes be difficult to treat. The first thing that needs to be done is treating the existing problems. This is where the problem starts. Some illnesses do not have a cure or treatment. Therefore, the problem will always be there and the anemia of chronic disease may not subside. If this is the case, you may need to seek other treatment options. If the anemia symptoms are mild you may benefit from taking an iron supplement. Or changing your diet to include more iron-rich foods like red meat and leafy greens. This could be all that is needed, but sometimes it is not enough. If you have had a significant amount of blood loss due to the disease you may need a blood transfusion. Doctors like to use this as a worst case scenario, but sometimes it is needed. The blood transfusion will replace the blood that was lost and by doing so, will fuel the body with a sufficient amount of healthy red blood cells and hemoglobin. The symptoms of the anemia of chronic disease should subside.

If you have a chronic illness you should know the warning signs of anemia. Fatigue, weakness, chest pain, pale skin, cold hands and feet and dizziness are common symptoms. If you experience any of these be sure to speak with your doctor. Chances are, you have anemia of chronic disease and getting it treated right away will help you stay healthy.

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