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.

The Secret

This evening I watched the secret, the movie. I found it compelling. I had been wanting to read the book but never got around to buying it.

Tonight was one of those nights where things felt like they aligned. It was if the world was saying, “you’re on the right path.” For instance, my brother had forgotten the name of a restaurant and sort of found himself lost in his quest to locate it by just driving in the general area. Sure enough however, we found it. It was a beautiful place…roaring waves to listen to and look at as the city of Newport lit up the night.

I expected the secret to be what it was, which for me was an inspiration. I’ve always loved self help books and self help tapes. I once listened to a tape read by a woman who’s voice had that calming effect. What I got most from that tape was figuring out what success meant for you. On that audio tape for instance, there was a story about a woman who discovered that in order for her to feel successful, she needed to be able to take her dog into work. She ended up quitting her job and she found just that….a job that let her enjoy having her dog at her feet while she worked at her computer. This story meant something to me and that was success was different for different people.

The Secret on the other hand was a nice refresher on thinking positively, emotionally getting yourself there and asking the world for what you want (mentally). There are parts of the secret that I think could be described a little more fully or delved into a little more. For instance, their attitude on health. Although I do believe that the mind is capable of fully healing the body, even walking through walls for that matter if we were to use it’s complete capacity instead of the small percentage that we do use, I think some illnesses like RA, MS and Parkinson’s for example, are so involved….meaning that either our body is attacking itself at all times, or there are missing chemicals in our brain, that trying to heal our bodies would literally take every second of every day, for possibly an extremely long time before any change was noticed.

What I do believe however, is that by asking the Universe for what you want, you can for the most part get it. For instance, when I first got RA and started taking chemotherapy drugs and Prednisone, a steroid, I thought to myself, “There has to be a better option! There has to be an option that doesn’t have these side effects and doesn’t wreck my immune system, and doesn’t leave me prone to illnesses.” In fact, I didn’t focus on the negative but rather researched as much as I had time for on my quest for learning about my disease. It was probably half a year into it that I started taking more supplements. I read more and more about how different supplements worked in helping with inflammation. I was interested in experimentation, that was certain and I figured if I didn’t give it my full effort, I would never know.

And of course what I attracted in the process was other people who knew that I was looking for an alternative solution. I was also on the lookout in my support groups for ideas. So I think just as the Secret promises, my energy was out there and so were my positive thoughts that I would find the solution I was looking for. Now that I’ve figured out (for the most part) the solution for my RA……and I say this meaning that it’s MY solution and may not work for you, and I also realize that our bodies change over time, so I may need something in addition to it in the future. Or maybe I’ll get lucky and never need anything else. Regardless, I’m now on a quest to make my Dad’s symptoms with Parkinson’s less. And I hope of course throughout all of this, that the solutions I find help other people. And I also hope that people write in about the solutions they have found. If it weren’t for other people, I would not be on the alternative solutions that I take today and most likely would not be feeling as great as I do.

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