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Anemia symptoms are caused by inadequate oxygen reaching important organs, such as your muscles, heart, and brain. As a consequence, your heart and lungs have to work harder to deliver oxygen to these organs.

Patients with nutritional anemia, especially mild anemia, may have no symptoms. If symptoms do occur, they might include:

  • Loss of stamina
  • Shortness of breath
  • Rapid heart beat
  • Paleness
  • Headache
  • Worsening of symptoms of other diseases:
    • Angina (heart pain from inadequate oxygen)
    • Claudication (cramping in muscles when they are being used)

In addition, people with iron-deficiency anemia may have cravings for ice or clay. People with anemia due to vitamin B 12 deficiency may experience confusion, clumsiness, or even dementia. People with either B 12 or folic acid deficiency may have a very smooth and sore tongue or other sores in the mouth. Those whose deficiency is due to bowel disorders may have diarrhea, unusually smelly stools, and/or weight loss.

References:

American Heart Association website. Available at: http://www.americanheart.org.

Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine. 16th ed. McGraw-Hill; 2004..



Last reviewed September 2013 by Marcin Chwistek, MD

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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