refers to a condition in which the blood's red cell count is too low
and/or too little hemoglobin (the protein that is responsible for
carrying oxygen in the bloodstream).
is not a disease, but a symptom of an underlying health problem. It
is the most common blood disorder in seniors, affecting about 15% of
those over 65, and becomes more common with age.
are many causes of anemia. Blood loss from an accident or
operation, or from a bleeding ulcer or hemorrhoids, are the most obvious. Red blood cells can be destroyed by
toxins or diseases. There may also be a condition where the body may not be able to
manufacture enough red blood cells. In the elderly, this often
occurs because the individual doesnít consume enough iron, vitamin
C, vitamin B12, or folic acid, in his/her diet.
symptoms of anemia reflect the fact the bodyís tissues arenít
getting enough oxygen. People who are anemic may feel:
- Tired or easily
- Weak or unable
- Prone to
breathlessness with even a little exertion, or
may look pale and have infections more often than most other people.
the elderly, these common warning signs may not occur.
Anemia may manifest as confusion, fainting spells, falls, chest pain
or congestive heart failure.
treatment for anemia will depend on the
underlying cause. Iron-deficiency anemia, can be
alleviated with a change in diet or the addition of an iron
supplement. Anemia caused by vitamin C, B12, or folic
acid deficiency can be treated with a nutritional supplement.
the anemia is caused by chronic bleeding, the individual may have to
stop taking any drugs that may promote bleeding (such as aspirin or
other drugs used in the treatment of arthritis).
your physician indicates you have anemia, he or she will explain the
cause of your condition and the appropriate measures for your
treatment. It is important to follow the directions you are given to
help make sure the anemia does not return.