Anemia and How It Affects the Body – Will Iron Supplements Help?

How anemia affects the bodyAnemia is a clinical condition related to the total number of red blood cells or the lack of hemoglobin in your blood. It is the most common blood disorder experienced and different types are classified based on their underlying cause. 

There are three main classes of anemia:

  1. Production Anemia – Describes the most well-known one secondary to an inadequate number of red blood cells, or RBCs.
  2. Red blood cell size – It is classified on the basis of the SIZE of RBCs. The size of red blood cells determines how much oxygen can be carried.
  3. Microcytic anemiaThis is the result of insufficient production of hemoglobin in the blood. Iron deficiency is the most common type of this condition. Iron is important for hemoglobin production and any insufficiency may result in decreased hemoglobin in the red blood cells.

Causes of Anemia

The three classes of anemia can be further classified by their clinical cause: impaired red blood cell production, increased RBC destruction, or blood loss and fluid overload. Blood loss is the most frequent symptom followed by iron deficiency.

Signs and Symptoms of Anemia

This condition in some individuals may remain undetectable or hidden as the symptoms are difficult to spot without a blood test. The signs and symptoms depend on the underlying cause. Most individuals suffering from this show general non-specific symptoms like weakness and poor concentration due to not enough oxygen getting to the brain. They may also experience shortness of breath on exertion. The patient may also complain of heart palpitations and angina. Prominent symptoms include jaundice, tachycardia, bounding pulse, murmurs and cardiac hypertrophy may also occur.

Diagnosis of Anemia

A CBC or complete blood count is necessary for the correct diagnosis. By determining the NUMBER of red blood cells and the SIZE of the red blood cells these will determine the hemoglobin carrying capability. Hemoglobin carries oxygen throughout the body.


Treatments are directly related to the type and cause. Iron deficiency anemia results from nutritional inadequacies. Mild to moderate iron deficiency anemia is treated by oral iron supplementation of ferrous sulfate, ferrous fumarate or ferrous gluconate.

Iron supplementation can quickly resolve low numbers. The iron supplements may have side effects like an upset stomach and darkened stool. Supplementation of Vitamin C can increase your body’s ability to absorb iron. A glass of orange juice with your iron supplements may be of great help in relieving your symptoms.

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