Tired? Anemia might be the blame.



Unfortunately, if you have an autoimmune disease, it’s likely that you also have Anemia which can make you feel extremely tired, one of many symptoms.  In case you’re not familiar, Anemia is a blood disorder where oxygen is inefficiently carried to lungs, tissues and other organs.  The process starts with our bone marrow.

“Conditions such as infections, inflammation, and cancer particularly suppress production of red blood cells in the bone marrow.”-Merck Manuals

“Anemia is the most common extra-articular manifestation of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), estimated to occur in 30-60% of patents.  Two primary types of anemia, iron deficiency anemia and anemia of chronic diseases (ACD) are seen in RA patients.  The retrospective study of 225 patients with RA showed that 64% of patients were anemic, and 77% were found to have ACD and 23% to have iron deficiency anemia.

ACD is an inflammatory anemia and inflammatory cytokines such as IL-6 and TNFa are thought to play important roles in anemia in RA.  However, it is still unclear how anemia is induced and which cytokine is most important.”-Springer-Verlag 2008

If your anemia is from inflammatory cytokines, your best bet is to get your disease under control and talk with your doctor about other options including B-12 injections.

“Erythropoiesis is often suppressed in chronic inflammatory diseases due to expression of hepcidin, a regulatory hormone that limits the availability of iron for erythropoiesis even when dietary iron intake is sufficient.” –FibroGen

Taking B-12 and iron supplements can be helpful for some people.

“Low hemoglobin may be a temporary problem remedied by eating more iron-rich foods or taking a multivitamin containing iron.”-MayoClinic

And I know personally, that taking B-complex vitamins along with iron does help with my energy level.

In addition to iron, your body needs folate and vitamin B-12 to produce sufficient numbers of healthy red blood cells. A diet lacking in these and other key nutrients can cause decreased red blood cell production. Additionally, some people are unable to effectively absorb B-12.”-MayoClinic

Another worry is pregnancy.

“If you’re pregnant, you’re at an increased risk of iron deficiency anemia because your iron stores have to serve your increased blood volume as well as be a source of hemoglobin for your growing fetus.”-MayoClinic

Even more worrisome than your anemia during pregnancy is how it will affect the unborn child.  According to Health&Wealth, “Anemia during pregnancy can cause growth retardation of fetus.”

So what are your options?

1.  Get your disease under control (easier said than done of course)

2.  Avoid alcohol

3.  Avoid antibiotics if your anemia is severe, “Certain medications, such as some antibiotics used to treat infections, also can break down red blood cells.”-MayoClinic

4.  Get blood-work done before conceiving so you can take necessary precautions.

5.  If you do have anemia, find out what kind you have.

Sometimes there’s not much you can do.  Even chemotherapy drugs can contribute to anemia.

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