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All About Anemia

If you’re feeling constantly exhausted or sluggish, you may have a common blood disorder called anemia. Anemia is a condition in which your body doesn’t have enough healthy red blood cells or they are lacking in an iron-rich protein called hemoglobin.

When the number of red blood cells is too low, your body doesn’t get all of the oxygen it needs, and that can make you feel tired. You may also have other symptoms, such as shortness of breath, dizziness, headaches, pale skin, or cold hands and feet.

The good news is that anemia can often be prevented or easily corrected by getting enough iron. The best sources are red meat (especially beef and liver), poultry, fish, and shellfish. Other foods high in iron include peas, lentils, beans, tofu, dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach, and dried fruits.

While anemia itself is usually not dangerous until it gets quite severe, being anemic can be a red flag for other serious health issues. Many people living with anemia may not realize they have it. They might have mild symptoms or none at all. A doctor can determine whether you have anemia by a simple blood test. Be sure to get checked every 1-2 years if you’re a woman of child-bearing age who has heavy menstrual periods or a previous diagnosis of anemia.