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Senior Anemia - Causes, Symptoms and Treatments | Comfort Keepers

Aug 15, 2018 by Larry Morgan

Have you noticed that you’ve gotten more tired with age? Do you feel like you’re losing strength each day, but don’t know why?

You could be part of the 10 percent of seniors suffering from anemia.

What is anemia?

Anemia is a condition that occurs when the number of red blood cells or the amount of hemoglobin in someone’s body is lower than normal.

The reason for this loss could be the loss of blood through injury, the destruction of red blood cells, or the body’s inefficient production of them.

Why is anemia more common in seniors?

Older bodies are more susceptible to certain health problems than younger people, and this is one of those conditions.

Seniors typically attribute feeling lethargic all of the time or weaker than usual to normal aging, but this is far from the truth. These symptoms are most likely stemming from some sort of condition, anemia being a possibility.

Other anemia symptoms include:

  • Dizziness
  • Pale skin
  • Shortness of breath
  • Irritability

Anemia in older adults is most often caused by chronic diseases and iron deficiency, though vitamin B-12 and folate deficiencies can also cause it.

Certain medications, especially in seniors that are taking several medications at a time, can also contribute to the condition. Examples of these drugs include chemotherapy and radiation for cancer, ACE inhibitors, ARBs, and some antibiotics.

How is anemia treated?

A simple blood test can indicate your red blood cell level, and thus whether you are anemic.

Anemia can develop slowly over time, or have a sudden (and severe) onset. This typically reflects the route of treatment that will be effective for the individual patient.

Anemia related to vitamin deficiencies such as iron, folate or B-12 are fairly easy to treat with successful results. Changes in nutrition to incorporate these nutrients more into your diet, or taking prescribed supplements can reduce symptoms greatly.

For anemia caused by a chronic illness, the best route to take is putting the issue of anemia aside and treating this underlying illness. Treatment will then obviously depend on the condition(s) you have. Taking iron or other supplements will not help this form of anemia.

If you suspect you have anemia or your nutrition is lacking, share your concerns with your doctor. A simple blood test can tell you where your iron/red blood cell levels are, and if you are anemic (or close to it), you can start treatment. The sooner you take care of the problem, the quicker you’ll be back on your feet feeling stronger and more energized!

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