People die of anemia

Anemia can have harmless but also serious triggers

People with anemia (anemia) have a lack of red blood cells (erythrocytes) or red blood pigment (hemoglobin). The result: the body is not supplied with sufficient oxygen.


“Anemia can have a variety of causes. Experts roughly differentiate between anemia caused by blood loss or degradation or because of a blood formation disorder, "explains Dr. Reinhold Lunow, internist and medical director of the Bornheim practice clinic near Cologne and Bonn." In Europe, about 80% of the cases are iron deficiency anemia is the cause of anemia. This mainly affects women, especially because of their menstrual bleeding. You suffer from tiredness, pale skin, rapid exhaustion, shortness of breath, dizziness, difficulty concentrating, cold hands and feet. "


In addition to iron deficiency, a chronic illness can also be the cause of anemia, such as B. cancer, HIV / AIDS, rheumatoid arthritis or Crohn's disease. In very rare cases the body, i. H. the bone marrow, no longer making enough blood cells. This is life threatening. Sometimes, however, the production does not match the loss of red blood cells, e.g. B. has a blood metabolic disease.


Fatigue and palpitations can be signs

"If constant fatigue for no apparent cause makes everyday work difficult and the heart seems to stumble occasionally, patients should definitely see an internist. These are signs that the body is no longer getting enough oxygen through the blood cells and the heart has to pump more blood through it so that he can compensate for the lack of oxygen, "warns Dr. Lunow." With a comprehensive blood analysis, the doctor can determine the actual extent of the anemia and also recognize or at least narrow down the possible causes so that further examinations can be carried out, "adds the medical director of the practice clinic Bornheim.


Treatment for anemia depends on the causes. “It is important to recognize the anemia at an early stage in the course of clarifying the symptoms mentioned or as part of a health check. Therapy then builds on this, ”says Dr. Lunow.


At an appointment, patients should inform the doctor whether they are currently on a diet. “The best thing to do is to make a note of the symptoms that you notice in advance. But stress in your life or changes are also important information. You should inform your doctor about any medication you are currently taking - including dietary supplements - so that you can clarify any changes or side effects, ”advises Dr. Lunow.


Beef, dairy products and citrus fruits are part of a blood-healthy diet

There are no prophylactic measures in place for many forms of anemia. The most common form of anemia, iron deficiency anemia, can often be prevented by a varied diet. These include meat that is high in iron, such as beef, or beans, lentils, dark green vegetables, and dried fruits.


Folic acid is also important for blood formation. It can be found in citrus fruits and juices, in bananas, in dark green vegetables. Another important vitamin that can help prevent anemia is vitamin B12. Meat and dairy products contain this vitamin.


An "anemia check" is particularly recommended for vegetarians

Compared to people who eat mixed foods, vegetarians have, among other things, a greater risk of being iron deficient. The iron in meat can be used better by the body than in plant-based products. Vegetarians must therefore pay attention to cereals that are particularly rich in iron, such as millet and oats, which are eaten in combination with fruit rich in vitamin C (e.g. oranges). Because vitamin C improves the iron availability from plant foods. "Vegetarians and people who eat little meat can use a blood test to find out whether they have too few red blood cells," says Dr. Lunow.

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