How Iron Deficiency Anemia Causes Diarrhea

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There are many different conditions that can cause diarrhea, including irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis, bacterial and viral infections, and even food poisoning. However, anemia can also cause the types of loose stools, abdominal cramping, bloating, and other symptoms that are common when a person suffers from diarrhea. This uncomfortable and embarrassing condition happens to everyone occasionally, but serious cases of diarrhea that last longer than a couple days could be a warning sign of something more serious happening in the body.

Here is some information about the anemia diarrhea connection, as well as how to prevent and treat iron deficiency anemia diarrhea in the body.

 

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The Relationship Between Anemia and Diarrhea

There are quite a few different types of anemia, and some types are more likely to cause symptoms of diarrhea. For example, folic acid deficiency anemia involves having an inadequate supply of folic acid in the body and often causes diarrhea. Having low iron levels in the body can also lead to symptoms of diarrhea and abdominal pain in patients. Many people develop anemia because of blood loss from the gastrointestinal tract, and this blood loss is often due to diarrhea caused by an intestinal infection or inflammatory bowel disease.

Does Anemia Cause Diarrhea?

Many people wonder does anemia cause diarrhea, and while anemia caused by diarrhea is rare, it is possible if a patient is experiencing gastrointestinal bleeding that results in loose stools. Individuals who experience this condition often notice foul-smelling stools that are blackish in color as well. This condition typically constitutes a medical emergency that requires immediate attention in an emergency room.

Meanwhile, certain medical conditions, including celiac disease and Crohn’s disease, can cause both anemia and diarrhea at the same time. These anemia diarrhea conditions may also result in weight loss, blood loss in stools, and low bodily absorption of iron.

Iron Deficiency Anemia Diarrhea Warning Signs

Diarrhea that occurs very rarely and that only lasts for a day or two is often no need for serious concern. However, chronic diarrhea can last for several weeks and indicate an untreated infection, irritable bowel syndrome, or inflammatory bowel disease.

If anemia and diarrhea coexist in the body, individuals may also notice symptoms of fatigue, weakness, shortness of breath, dizziness, cold extremities, and pale skin. All of these symptoms can be early warning signs of serious medical conditions, which is why it is recommended to seek treatment for such abnormalities occurring in the body.

Solutions for Preventing Diarrhea and Treating Anemia

Fortunately, iron deficiency anemia diarrhea can be treated and prevented in most instances. If low iron levels are to blame for a person’s anemia, thereby causing loose stools, then iron supplements like Fergon can help restore those levels back to normal. Making dietary adjustments can also help to prevent and control chronic diarrhea symptoms. For example, people suffering from diarrhea should avoid fatty, spicy, and dairy foods and rather stick to clear liquids and low-fiber foods instead.

Other diarrhea treatments include taking antibiotic medications, drinking water and juice to replace fluids, probiotics, and over-the-counter diarrheal medications. If symptoms do not clear up on their own within a couple days with at-home remedies, it is time to consult a physician, who may conduct a blood test or stool test to determine the cause of the iron deficiency anemia diarrhea.

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The Connection Between Anemia and the Heart

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Iron is a nutrient that affects many different parts of the body, including the heart. The condition of anemia can occur when the body doesn’t have an adequate supply of red blood cells to transport hemoglobin to these various parts.

Meanwhile, heart disease is one of the most common serious medical conditions in the U.S. and a potentially fatal one for individuals of all ages and backgrounds.

This article will describe the connection between anemia and the heart and answer questions about anemia irregular heartbeat and heart failure caused by anemia. It will also provide heart-healthy tips for daily living.

Can Anemia Cause Heart Problems?

The answer to this question is yes, because low hemoglobin levels make it more difficult for the heart to pump blood and oxygen throughout the body. When the heart has to pump faster and harder to make up for low iron levels, it can put excess strain on a heart that is already weakened or compromised. A significant number of people who have heart problems are also anemic. While heart disease directly caused by anemia is very rare, anemia is a factor that makes heart disease significantly worse.

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Can Anemia Cause Irregular Heartbeats?

Yes, anemia can cause a person’s heartbeat to become irregular because of the extra strain the heart must endure to pump blood to the body’s tissues. Tachycardia is a condition characterized by this need to pump blood faster, and it can alter the natural rhythm of a person’s heartbeat. In addition to anemia irregular heartbeat, symptoms of chest pain, dizziness, fatigue, and shortness of breath may occur simultaneously.

Can Anemia Cause Heart Failure?

It has been estimated that nearly half of individuals who have experienced heart failure are anemic, and many people who are hospitalized for heart attacks have dangerously low iron levels too. Meanwhile, other studies have concluded that iron deficiency plays a key role in the progression of heart disease and that the rates of heart disease-related hospitalizations increase as anemia symptoms worsen. Individuals who already have some form of heart disease put themselves at risk when they don’t consume enough iron, because anemia can make an existing heart condition even worse.

Tips for Maintaining a Healthy Heart

Fortunately, there are many things that men and women can do now to promote heart health for the future. Anyone who has a personal or family history of heart disease should be screened for anemia to determine if low iron levels are making the heart work harder than it needs to. If so, iron supplements, like Fergon, may be used to help restore healthy iron levels in the body and support a fully-functional heart. Intravenous iron infusions may be administered for severe iron deficiencies and then followed up by iron supplements taken orally.

Other tips for a healthy heart are avoiding cigarette smoke, being physically active every day, maintaining a healthy weight, and managing blood pressure and diabetes. Replacing unhealthy fats with healthy fats in the diet, limiting alcohol, and eating less salt are also great ways to prevent heart disease and the various symptoms it can cause.

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Anemia in Elderly Adults: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

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For men and women over the age of 65, low bodily iron levels are a serious concern and a common occurrence due to the natural process of aging. According to the journal, American Family Physician, around 80 percent of elderly adults have anemia, a condition most commonly caused by low iron intake and chronic disease.

Although the prevalence of anemia tends to increase with age, it should not be accepted as an inevitable condition that must simply be lived with.

To help treat and prevent anemia in elderly men and women, here is some information about the most common causes and symptoms that occur in aging bodies.

What Causes Anemia in Elderly People?

While the condition of anemia is caused by a low red blood cell count, it’s important to determine why this red blood cell count is getting low. Either an elderly adult’s body isn’t producing enough red blood cells, or it is abnormally losing red blood cells on a regular basis.

If low production is to blame, this could be caused by an elderly adult not eating enough iron-rich foods, due to chemotherapy treatments for cancer, lack of vitamin B12 in the diet, or chronic inflammation. But if the issue is with red blood cells being lost, the causes of anemia in the elderly may include chronic bleeding in the intestines, an injury to the body, or frequent blood draws during hospitalizations.

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Risk Factors for Anemia in Elderly Adults

Risk factors that make elderly individuals more prone to developing anemia include not eating a healthy and well-balanced diet on a regular basis. It may be more difficult for older adults to prepare healthy meals due to arthritis in the hands or being unable to drive oneself to the grocery store for ingredients. A diet lacking in iron, vitamin B12, and folate puts elderly adults at a great risk of anemia. Intestinal disorders, kidney failure, cancer, and family history are also risk factors that may apply to seniors with anemia.

Symptoms of Anemia in Seniors

The symptoms of anemia in seniors are similar to the symptoms experienced in other age groups as well, but they may be masked by other chronic conditions or by medications that a senior is taking. Unexplained symptoms to look out for are fatigue, weakness, high heartrate, shortness of breath, pale skin, and headaches.

Treatment for Anemia in Elderly Adults

It is very important for seniors to discuss their current medications with a doctor before self-treating a condition of suspected anemia. If adverse medication interactions are unlikely, a doctor may recommend that a senior take oral iron supplements, such as Fergon. Elderly adults often benefit by taking iron supplements with food to lessen the risk of stomach irritation, nausea, and diarrhea. If anemia is caused by a chronic disease, then the best way to treat the anemia is to manage the chronic disease as effectively as possible.

Elderly Anemia Prevention Tips

Elderly adults can prevent many instances of anemia by eating a healthy diet full of iron-rich foods, such as broccoli, Brussel sprouts, fresh fruits, and whole grains. Older adults should also have their iron levels checked at least once per year at an annual physical with their doctors. Since anemia is linked to overall declines in elderly health, it is very important to be mindful about unexplained symptoms that could be caused by low iron and treated accordingly and early in their progression.

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The Effects of Anemia & The Dangers of Untreated Anemia

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Many of the articles shared here for educational purposes focus on treatment options for various types of anemia. But what would happen if anemia is not treated and the symptoms are ignored for an extended period of time? Many people aren’t aware that they have anemia or choose to ignore the symptoms they feel due to fear, lack of access to health care, or not making personal health a top priority.

It should go without saying that diagnosing and treating a condition of anemia is very important. But the more specific purpose of this article is to explain the dangers of untreated anemia and to describe the short-term and long-term effects of nontreatment.

Common Effects of Anemia

The best way to address minor health issues before they become major ones is to learn about what various symptoms could mean and consult a doctor for professional advice. The common effects of anemia include fatigue, pale skin, cold hands and feet, headaches, irregular heartbeat, and shortness of breath. These symptoms often start out as very mild and go unnoticed until they worsen and get in the way of daily activities.

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Dangers of Untreated Anemia

Iron deficiency anemia can produce very severe symptoms and result in major medical complications if it is not diagnosed and treated promptly. For example, one of the dangers of untreated anemia is organ damage because anemia lessens the amount of oxygen that reaches various body parts. Heart damage can be caused by untreated anemia because the heart has to work harder to compensate for fewer red blood cells and less hemoglobin. In pregnant women, untreated anemia can lead to premature birth, low birth weight, and even infant death.

Possible Complications of Anemia

Having anemia involves much more than just feeling a little tired throughout the day. Possible complications of anemia are heart and lung problems because of the additional strain put on these organs when there isn’t enough iron in the body. More specifically, an abnormal heartbeat known as tachycardia may occur, as well as heart failure following a failure to treat severe iron deficiency anemia. Other complications of anemia that isn’t treated are heart attack, arrhythmia, and angina.

Can Anemia Cause Death?

Because of anemia’s strong connections to the heart, it is certainly possible for anemia to be a contributing factor of death. Heart attack is a leading cause of death among adults, and untreated anemia can make a weak heart even weaker and more strained. While most cases of anemia are very treatable, the risk of a cardiovascular event is much higher the longer that treatment is delayed.

Fortunately, anemia is usually very easily diagnosed by visiting a doctor and having a complete blood count (CBC) test performed. This is a measurement of the blood cells contained in a patient’s blood, and normal hematocrit levels are usually between 40 and 52 percent for men and between 35 and 47 percent for women. Based upon the symptoms and test results, a doctor may also recommend a test to identify the size and shape of red blood cells or take a look at a person’s bone marrow.

Don’t delay seeking treatment for a suspected case of untreated anemia. The solution to restoring optimal health and preventing future disease may be as simple as taking iron supplements like Fergon and eating more foods rich in iron and other nutrients.

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Sickle Cell Anemia: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment Options

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There are many different forms of anemia that can occur in the human body and some are more curable than others.

One form of this condition is called sickle cell anemia, which occurs when the body makes red blood cells that are abnormally shaped. The shape of a person’s red blood cells is important to support proper blood flow through the blood vessels.

This article will answer the question, “What is sickle cell anemia?” and describe the disease’s causes, symptoms, and treatment options. It will also compare sickle cell anemia to other forms of anemia by pointing out the distinguishing characteristics of this inherited disorder.

What Causes Sickle Cell Anemia?

Sickle cell anemia is caused by a genetic mutation that interferes with the normal production of hemoglobin. A person with this condition has hemoglobin that leads to red, misshaped, and sticky red blood cells. This is an inherited condition in which both the mother and father must pass the genetic mutation on for their child to develop sickle cell anemia. The disease is passed between generations by autosomal recessive inheritance and can lead to many different health complications.

How Sickle Cell Anemia Differs from Other Forms of Anemia

One of the biggest differences between sickle cell anemia and other types of anemia is that it is passed down from one generation to the next. It is also most common among individuals who are Black or of African descent. Sickle cell anemia symptoms also differ from those of other types of anemia, and there is no cure for the disease. It can be managed with treatment, but serious complications can occur without regular health maintenance checkups.

Sickle Cell Anemia Symptoms

People with sickle cell anemia have red blood cells that are in the shape of crescents, which prohibits smooth movement through the blood vessels compared to normal and healthy red blood cells. Common sickle cell anemia symptoms include episodes of pain that occur when there is a blockage of blood flow and swelling of the hands and feet. The pain associated with sickle cell anemia can be very intense and last for hours, days, or weeks. People with this type of anemia often experience frequent infections, vision difficulties, abdominal swelling, fever, and a yellowish tint of the skin or the whites of the eyes. Sickle cell anemia can also lead to an increased risk of organ damage, pulmonary hypertension, stroke, leg ulcers, and blindness.  

Sickle Cell Anemia Treatment Options

Although there is no cure yet for sickle cell anemia, there are sickle cell anemia treatment options that can make the symptoms more manageable and improve quality of life. Since pain is a big part of having sickle cell anemia, it’s important to establish an effective pain management plan with an experienced doctor. It may also be necessary to take iron supplements like Fergon or receive blood transfusions to reduce the symptoms of anemia. People with sickle cell anemia should also understand what triggers their worst pain and symptoms so that those factors can be avoided as much as possible. Common triggers include excessive exercise, dehydration, high altitude, smoking cigarettes, and cold temperatures.

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Acute Blood Loss Anemia: Symptoms, Causes, and Criteria

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In general, anemia is a decrease in red blood cell mass and measured by hemoglobin levels that are below normal.

Any type of blood loss can result in anemia, whether the loss of blood is a symptom of a chronic condition or an acute injury.

With acute blood loss anemia, it is necessary for a person to lose enough blood to fall below normal hemoglobin levels or have those levels fall even further below where they already were before the injury.

This article will define and describe acute blood loss anemia, including its symptoms, causes, and how to differentiate it from other forms of anemia.

How Common Is Anemia Due to Blood Loss?

Anemia due to blood loss is fairly common. However, anemia due to acute blood loss is significantly less common. Much more often, anemia due to blood loss is caused from heavy menstrual bleeding, the overuse of aspirin, ulcers, and cancer. However, these are more chronic blood loss conditions that deplete the body’s stores of iron over time. Acute blood loss anemia and chronic blood loss are very different clinical conditions that require very different treatments and medical strategies.

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Causes of Acute Blood Loss Anemia

Acute blood loss anemia is often caused by a large hemorrhage. This involves a trauma to a large blood vessel. Acute blood loss anemia can also be caused by an eroding blood vessel that is caused by a stomach ulcer or a duodenal. It is also possible for rapid blood loss to occur during surgery, after an injury, or during childbirth. Individuals who take blood thinner medications to prevent blood clots or other issues may experience excess bleeding and be more prone to developing this type of anemia. The condition can even be fatal if one-third of blood volume is lost suddenly.

Symptoms of Blood Loss Anemia

The typical symptoms of blood loss anemia due to a hemorrhage include rapid pulse, dizziness, sweating, and faintness. Blood vessels are constricted in this situation, which may cause the red blood count and hemoglobin levels to temporarily be high. But these levels will usually drop within a couple hours or less, once the body switches into emergency mode and starts replacing the missing blood with tissue fluid.

Understanding Acute Blood Loss Anemia Criteria

It’s important for both anemia patients and medical professionals to understand the standard acute blood loss criteria in order to distinguish this type of anemia from other types. Acute blood loss anemia is caused by a sudden loss of blood, typically in an emergency situation. Meanwhile, chronic blood loss anemia is symptom of an ongoing medical problem that can be closely monitored and treated.

Losing a large amount of blood very suddenly puts patients at risk of heart attack and stroke. With acute blood loss, the first step is to stop the bleeding as quickly and effectively as possible. From there, possible treatment options for this condition include plasma infusions, saline solutions, treatment for shock, and iron supplements like Fergon.

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The Relationship Between Iron and Vitamin C

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In the human body, nutrients interact with each other in different ways. Some of these interactions are advantageous, while others are prohibitive, which is why it’s important to know which foods are nutritionally beneficial to eat together.

For example, vitamin C helps the body absorb iron at a better rate, while vitamin C also plays an important role in synthesizing red blood cells.

This article will explore the relationship between iron and vitamin C and how these two nutrients are crucial to one another. We’ll also highlight the general importance of vitamin C in the diet and what has vitamin C to help individuals include more of it in daily meals.

Absorption of Iron and Vitamin C

The strongest connection between iron and vitamin C lies in the fact that the body absorbs iron much more effectively when vitamin C is present as well. In addition to the absorption factor, vitamin C also helps to synthesize red blood cells. This is another connection between iron and vitamin C because iron is the main part of hemoglobin, which is found in the red blood cells.

Vitamin C is also essential to maintain healthy blood vessels in the body. The amount of iron that is absorbed increases in individuals who are iron-deficient, which is why it’s so important for people with anemia to consume adequate levels of vitamin C as well as iron.

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How to Take Iron with Vitamin C

To increase one’s absorption of iron-rich foods and iron supplements like Fergon, it is recommended to consume vitamin C at the same time as iron. This is especially true when consuming nonheme iron derived from plant-based sources. When these two nutrients are ingested together, the nonheme iron and vitamin C combine to became more easily absorbed and useful in the body.

It is a good idea to pair iron-rich foods with vitamin C-rich foods in the same meal to achieve this result. Aim to get at least 25 milligrams of vitamin C in meals that contain plant-based iron sources to aid absorption. Sample pairings include lemon with spinach, strawberries with tahini, sweet potatoes with lentils, and oatmeal with blueberries.

What Has Vitamin C?

There are many different nutritious foods that contain vitamin C, which makes it easy to get this nutrient along with your daily dose of iron. Fruits, vegetables, juices, vitamin C supplements, and multivitamins all contain this important nutrient to boost the immune system and aid iron absorption. Smoothies are a great way to get more vitamin C in the diet without having to eat as many filling, whole foods throughout the day.

Fruits with High Vitamin C

Oranges are the most well-known vitamin C food, but there are many other fruits with high vitamin C as well. These fruits include strawberries, kiwi, papaya, pineapple, and mangoes also have a very high vitamin C content.

In addition to these fruits with high vitamin C, there are also many vitamin C-rich vegetables, such as broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes, and cabbage. Brussels sprouts, kale, and bell peppers are other vegetables that are high in vitamin C and pair well with plant-based sources of iron for meals.

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An Explanation of the Link Between Anemia and Diabetes

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It is very common for people with diabetes to also have anemia, which leads many to wonder if there is a connection between these two conditions. There is, in fact, a link between anemia and diabetes because the risk of becoming iron-deficient increases when diabetes is present.

Although diabetes isn’t directly caused by anemia, uncontrolled blood sugar levels make it more likely for a person to become anemic. The kidney damage that diabetes tends to create is also a major cause of anemia among diabetics.

Here is some information about the link between anemia and diabetes to help patients manage both conditions in daily life.

Diabetes Symptoms and Causes

Diabetes is a metabolic disease that involves high blood sugar due to low insulin production or an inability to respond to insulin. It is a long-term condition that affects millions of people around the world. People with type 1 diabetes have bodies that do not produce insulin, while individuals with type 2 diabetes have bodies that don’t produce enough insulin to function properly. Type 2 diabetes is more common and influenced by genetics and lifestyle factors.

Common diabetes symptoms include weight gain or loss, fatigue, non-healing wounds, frequent urination, excessive thirst, and numbness in the hands and feet. Blurred vision, nausea, vomiting, and hyperventilation are other diabetes symptoms.

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Diabetes Kidney Damage

Diabetes kidney damage is a major cause of concern among diabetic patients because diabetes has a way of attacking the kidneys. This is because blood sugar and blood pressure levels that are consistently high are known to cause kidney damage. These are common diabetes symptoms that may contribute to iron-deficiency. Good glycemic control is an effective way to prevent or lessen the effects of anemia in diabetic patients.

Kidney Disease Anemia

People with chronic kidney disease commonly develop anemia in the early stages of the disease, when a person still has about 20 to 50 percent of normal function in the kidneys. Anemia gets worse as kidney disease progresses because damaged kidneys don’t make enough of the erythropoietin hormone.

An insufficient amount of this hormone causes fewer red blood cells to form in the bone marrow, which can lead to anemia. Low dietary levels of iron, vitamin B12, and folic acid can also cause anemia to form in people who have kidney disease, as well as blood loss from hemodialysis.

Managing Anemia and Diabetes

The more iron deficient that one becomes, the harder that the heart has to work and the more likely kidneys are to fail. This is why it is important to get anemia under control to prevent further damage to these organs. Also, some diabetes drugs can interfere with the absorption of nutrients in the body.

It may be recommended to supplement the diet with iron pills like Fergon to bring iron levels back up in diabetes patients with anemia. Iron-rich foods, such as lean red meat, dark leafy greens, and beans, should also be incorporated into a diabetic diet as well. A healthy diet paired with regular exercise can help prevent high blood pressure and obesity, and diabetes patients should prioritize controlling their blood sugar to keep anemia and other symptoms at bay. It may help to meet with a dietitian or nutritionist to determine which specific foods are best to restore essential nutrients to the body, as well as recommendations for optimal portions and pairings.

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