What is anemia?
Syda Productions/Shutterstock Anemia is defined as the condition of not having enough healthy red blood cells to carry oxygen throughout the body, and there are many, many forms of it. Some people, like those suffering from conditions like sickle cell anemia or thalassemia, are anemic from birth; their bodies genetically inherit difficulty producing red blood cells or specific parts of red blood cells. But the greatest portion of the approximately 3.5 million Americans suffering from anemia become anemic over time through not consuming enough iron or vitamin B12, both of which, along with folate, are necessary for the production of healthy red blood cells. Read on for the symptoms of anemia you need to know about. These are signs of a vitamin B12 deficiency.
You’re short of breath or dizzy often
Gajus/Shutterstock Without enough iron or vitamin B12, the body cannot produce enough of a specific type of protein called hemoglobin, which is crucial to the functioning of red blood cells. Hemoglobin, which is so rich with iron that it gives blood its red color, allows oxygen to bond to the cells so the cells can carry it in the bloodstream throughout the body. When there isn’t enough iron or vitamin B12 to create adequate amounts of hemoglobin, some parts of the body will not receive the oxygen they need. The result: one of the symptoms of anemia is that you’re out of breath easily, and sometimes getting so little oxygen to your head that you feel dizzy or lightheaded. Anemia is also one of the many symptoms of colon cancer you need to watch out for.