Anemia occurs when there is a lower than normal level of red blood cells. Anemia can be caused by such events as blood loss, as in surgery; or certain diseases, such as cancer, kidney disease or HIV; or by treatment such as chemotherapy or AZT. It can also be due to deficiencies in iron, folate, and/or vitamin B12.
Anemia can be a grave health condition which can cause a person to feel weak, tired and can lead to serious heart problems and other serious complications. When the number of red blood cells falls below normal the body gets less oxygen and therefore has less energy than it needs to function properly. Anemia may become worse if it is not treated, and it can lead to potentially serious, even life-threatening complications. As anemia causes the number of red blood cells to decrease, the heart works harder, pumping more blood to send more oxygen throughout the body. If the heart works too hard, it can develop disorders. The symptoms of anemia can become so severe that some people may become bedridden. They can not work or even perform basic daily activities, like grocery shopping or taking the dog for a walk. At the other extreme, some people have anemia but do not have any symptoms.
There is positive news about anemia because it can be treated so that people may live healthy and productive lives. Anemia treatment depends on the type of anemia that you have. A certified physician should help you determine the best treatment options, such as medication, nutritional supplements or diet change.
Anemia is a side effect experienced by more than 60 percent of cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. This is because chemotherapy drugs can reduce the bone marrow’s ability to make red blood cells to carry oxygen to all parts of the body, providing the energy needed for normal activities.