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Anemia is the most common disorder of the blood. Anemia is caused by a deficiency of red blood cells or hemoglobin, the oxygen-carrying protein in the red blood cells that carries oxygen. The lack of blood cells or hemoglobin causes insufficient oxygen delivered to the body tissues and organs. As a result, you would feel tired, lack of stamina and dizziness. In more severe case of anemia, you can feel shortness of breath. Very serious anemia can lead to heart failure in elderly.

The main causes of anemia are:

  • Reduced production of red blood cells often caused by deficiency in nutrients and hormonal imbalance.
  • Too much destruction of red blood cells which may be a condition that is hereditary.
  • Severe blood loss that may be caused by heavy menstruation, accidents, gastric ulcers and aspirin overdose.

The most common type of anemia is iron-deficiency anemia. Excessive blood loss, whether acutely hemorrhage or chronically through low-volume loss, is the cause of iron deficiency. Our body takes a long time to replenish severe loss of iron in blood. Women during their menstruating years are prone to anemia. People who have experienced in any form of major blood loss, such as accident or child birth, may get anemia too.

Women have higher risk of getting anemia during pregnancy. Pregnant women need more iron to create more blood circulation in the body. For this reason, pregnant women are given supplement of iron to cope with the iron deficiency. Illness such as cancer, leukemia, AIDS and stomach ulcers can cause anemia. Malnutrition can also lead to anemia as poor diet does not suffice the body's need for nutrients and minerals.

To cope with anemia, you can eat more iron-rich food to increase the iron in blood. Iron from meat sources is better absorbed than iron from plant sources. Iron absorption is affected by phytates, calcium and vitamin C. Vitamin C-rich foods help the absorption of iron. You should eat plenty of vitamin C-rich food together with iron-rich foods.

Certain foods, such as tea, coffee, wheat bran, rhubarb, chocolate, soft drinks, red wine, ice cream, and candy bars, have been found to hinder iron-absorption and they should be avoided. You should avoid smoking as smoking lessens the level of vitamin C in your body.

It is crucial that you see your physician for a correct diagnostic since not all anemias is caused by iron deficiency. Another type of anemia, Pernicious anemia, is caused by vitamin B12 deficiency due to the inability to absorb it from food. This type of anemia is usually found on vegans because vitamin B12 is only found in animal foods. This problem can be solved by taking vitamin B12 supplements suitable for vegans or eating fortified vegetarian products.