The Connection Between Anemia and the Heart
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.
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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