How Do You Know If You Have Anaemia?
Do you want to know what anaemia is? How is it detected, or what foods are good to combat it? We tell you everything you need to know about anaemia: how to detect it, its causes, symptoms and diet to combat it.
What is Anaemia?
Anaemia is a disease characterized by having a lower-than-normal presence of haemoglobin.
Haemoglobin is a component of red blood cells in the blood that carries oxygen from the lungs to the body tissues and removes carbon dioxide.
Usually, people with anaemia also have fewer red blood cells. However, at other times, the volume of red blood cells is normal, yet there is anaemia because the amount of haemoglobin is insufficient.
Anaemic people may also have altered other blood components, such as white blood cells, which help fight infection, or platelets, which seal the cuts.
Test to know if you have anaemia
To find out if you have anaemia, the doctors will take into account your medical and family history and will do a blood test to look for changes in your level of red blood cells and haemoglobin in the blood.
Remember that what may be normal for you may not be for others since the volumes are considered correct depending on age, gender and type of diet.
It may also be that your doctor detects that you have anaemia by testing for another disease.
In addition to the blood test, the doctor will do other tests to find the origin of the anaemia and detect its severity, from listening to your heart to requesting a rectal exam to locate possible sources of blood loss.
How to know if you have anaemia by looking at the eyes?
Since the haemoglobin in the red blood cells gives the blood its red colour, a quick and simple test to find out if you have anaemia (but which in no way replaces a visit to the doctor) is to examine the inside of the eyelid of your eyes.
- Stand in front of a mirror or ask someone to look at you.
- Put your index finger under the eye and pull down until the inside of the eyelid is exposed.
- If it has a very dull colour, you may have anaemia.
- Make an appointment with your doctor to do the relevant tests as soon as possible.
Causes of anaemia
Haemoglobin is rich in iron. Therefore, one of the most common causes of anaemia is a lack of iron in the blood. Still, anaemia can also result from a dysfunction in the production and conservation of red blood cells or from a specific change in the body, such as large blood loss.
The treatment is different for each type of casuistry and level of haemoglobin alteration.
Symptoms of anaemia
Because they don’t have enough haemoglobin to carry oxygen throughout the body, anaemic people feel weak and tired.
Other symptoms of anaemia are dizziness, shortness of breath, headaches or paleness as a direct consequence of the decrease in haemoglobin in the blood. In addition:
- Asthenia or general tiredness.
- Dyspnea or feeling short of breath.
- Muscle aches or fatigue when performing any movement.
- Insomnia and loss of concentration.
- Alteration of menstruation in women.
- Kidney disorders and digestive disorders.
If you think you have symptoms of anaemia, consult your doctor as soon as possible. Some types of anaemia are easily resolved with a change in diet or a nutritional supplement.
Having anaemia and not treating it is dangerous because, in the long term, it can cause serious damage to vital organs of the body, such as the heart and brain and, consequently, be fatal.
Diet to combat anaemia
All iron-rich foods are good for fighting anaemia. Dare to introduce the following ingredients to your daily menus, even if you are one of those who always order food at home :
- Spinach or raw lamb’s lettuce in a salad
- Beans and Swiss chard
- liver and red meat
- Oily fish such as salmon or trout
- Nuts (preferably without salt)
- figs and raisins