Symptoms and Causes of Anemia in Older Age

work with the patient's blood in the hospital.

Anemia is a common condition which occurs when someone has a low red blood cells count, or have low amounts of hemoglobin in the blood. Both red blood cells and hemoglobin help the uptake of oxygen, so anemia can result in tiredness and other symptoms. As we get older, our chances of becoming anemic increases. An estimated 10% of people over the age of 65 are anemic.

There are many causes and types of anemia, however, the majority of cases of anemia are caused by iron deficiencies. Sometimes anemia results from other causes, including other underlying health conditions. This occurs more frequently in older folks, so if you are experiencing symptoms it’s good to get checked out by your doctor.

Symptoms include:

  • Shortness of Breath
  • General Fatigue and Weakness
  • Strange non-food cravings (like dirt or clay)
  • Tingling sensation
  • Swelling of tongue

It’s important to get anemia diagnosed because other more serious conditions can be made worse by its presence. Such conditions which may be affected by anemia include congestive heart failure, dementia, or vertigo. Treating anemia can lessen the risk of complications of other more serious conditions.

  • Your Doctor May Discuss any of the following treatments and lifestyle changes:
    Finding your nutritional deficiencies and diversifying your diet. Some common deficiencies leading to anemia include iron, Vitamin B12, or folate.
  • Taking an iron, Vitamin B12, or folate supplement
  • Identifying and treating other health conditions which may be the underlying cause of the anemia.

If Your Anemia is from nutritional deficiencies, you can try the following foods in addition to supplements:

  • Iron: Red meat (pork, beef, lamb), beans and legumes, seafood, dark leafy greens, and dried fruits are all great sources of iron.
  • Vitamin B12: Both red and white meat, milk and milk products, and eggs are high in Vitamin B12.
  • Folate: Folate is found in both red and white meat, but is especially high in beef liver. Many grain products such as bread and cereal are fortified with folate, just check the label.

Keeping track of the changes in your body can help you avoid complications from more serious illnesses. If you’re experiencing fatigue or other symptoms out of the norm – be safe and check it out. The more you know about your health, the better you can manage it.