According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, 760,000 Australians who are 18 years old and over were at risk of having anemia. The data also revealed that the risk for anemia is higher in women than in men.
In this article, I will share with you facts about anemia in women and the five biggest mistakes that you should avoid to keep you from having this blood disorder.
First, let’s have a clear definition of what anemia is.
What is anemia?
Anemia is a blood disorder by which either your red blood cell count in the body or the amount of hemoglobin within the red blood cells is below the normal level.
Your red blood cells (RBCs) contain hemoglobin. The hemoglobin (Hgb) is a protein rich in iron, which gives your blood its red color. This blood component allows the red blood cells to carry oxygen and deliver it from the lungs to the different parts of the body.
Anemia can be diagnosed through a blood test that measures your hemoglobin or red blood cell count. You can only say that you have anemia if your red blood cell count is below 4.2 million cells/ul (microliter) in women and below 4.7 million cells/ ul (microliter) in men or a hemoglobin level below 120g/L for non-pregnant women, below 130 g/L in men and less than 110g/L for pregnant women. By the way, it’s a misconception that your blood pressure reading indicates if you are anemic or not. Only a blood test can confirm this blood condition.
But why is anemia detrimental to your health?
There are many health complications of anemia when the condition is not treated. One of which is severe fatigue. It makes you feel excessively tired and even too tired to complete daily tasks. Moreover, pregnant women with anemia are high risk of having a premature birth. Anemia can also cause rapid, irregular heartbeat that often leads to heart enlargement or worse, heart failure.
The problem is that the manifestations of anemia often go unnoticed because they are usually mild. Without an annual blood test, it might remain undiagnosed until your signs and symptoms are severe.
You should suspect of having anemia if you experience body weakness, fatigue, pale skin, light-headedness, dizziness, irregular heartbeats, chest pain, cold hands and feet, and headache.
Moreover, check the list below if you have committed any of the biggest mistakes that commonly cause anemia in women:
One of the biggest mistakes that increase your risk for anemia is too much alcohol intoxication.
#1 You’re often intoxicated
Alcohol consumption has been linked to many diseases such as liver cirrhosis, cancer, cardiovascular disease, dementia, depression, seizures, gout, high blood pressure, infectious diseases, nerve damage, pancreatitis and much more. Did you know that it could also increase risk for anemia?
Alcohol can actually decrease folate absorption in the small intestine. Folate is a B-vitamin that is significant in making DNA and cell division.
When you have folate deficiency related to alcoholism, this limits cell division that affects the production of red blood cells resulting in anemia.
Therefore, limit or avoid alcohol consumption to maximize your gut’s ability to absorb nutrients, particularly folate. Likewise, eat more dark green vegetables such as spinach and broccoli, as these are good sources of folate. Chickpeas, lentils and beans are rich in folate too!
Another mistake that increase risk for anemia is a lack of vitamin B12 in your diet.
#2 Your diet is lacking vitamin B 12
Vitamin B12 is essential in keeping your nerve cells healthy. Like folate, this vitamin is significant in DNA and RNA production, the genetic materials of your body. Vitamin B12 together with folate also helps with red blood cell production and boosting the functions of iron in the body.
Now if you don’t consume adequate vitamin B12, this will decrease red blood cell production leading to anemia when your RBC count is lower than the normal level. Other causes of vitamin B12 deficiency anemia aside from inadequate dietary intake of this vitamin are gut disorders that prevent B12 absorption, small intestine surgery, small intestine infection, Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, parasitic tapeworm infection and lack of intrinsic factor.
So how do you get sufficient vitamin B12? Simply, add foods that are rich in vitamin B12 to your diet. Meat (beef, liver, turkey, chicken), fish (salmon, trout and herring), eggs, oysters, crabs, clams, Swiss cheese, yogurt and milk are on top of the list.
Taking for granted your kidney’s health is another mistake that contributes to the development of anemia.
#3 You’re not taking care of your kidneys
Your kidneys primarily function as a waste filter. It cleanses your blood and fluids circulating in your body and then excretes the wastes and toxins through your urine. Moreover, the kidneys maintain fluid balance and regulate your blood pressure and acidity in the body.
But why are the kidneys important in keeping anemia at bay? Actually, there’s a significant kidney function that is not that known to everybody. Most medical oriented individuals are aware of this though. Did you know that the kidneys stimulate the bone marrow to produce red blood cells? Healthy kidneys normally produce and release erythropoietin (EPO), the body chemical that triggers the red blood cell production in the bone marrow. If the kidneys are damaged, the bone marrow will be producing fewer red blood cells, as there is no trigger or too little EPO. It will result in anemia.
How will you take care of your kidneys?
The golden rule is drinking plenty of water according to your needs. The standard daily water intake is at least eight glasses per day or 1-2 liters of water.
However, you need to consider some factors as well such as your physical activities, the climate, your health conditions and if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Some conditions may require more than 2 liters daily such as when the weather is extremely hot or when you’ve been exercising a lot. The rule is to replenish the liquid you lose and add a little extra.
Smoking causes damage to your kidneys too. Cigarette smoking makes the blood flow sluggish that may deprive the kidneys of having adequate blood supply. So start limiting your smoking habit or quit smoking as soon as possible.
Another way to keep your kidneys healthy is to maintain a healthy weight and be mindful of your sugar and salt intake. These are just a few of the factors that contribute to the development of diabetes, high blood pressure and other heart diseases that are often linked to kidney disorders.
Aside from your kidneys, your gut is another organ that needs your special attention.
#4 You’re ignoring your gut problems
We discussed earlier how alcohol disrupts the absorption of nutrients in your gut. However, it doesn’t end there! Many intestinal disorders affect nutrient absorption in your small intestine like Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome and all other bowel inflammatory disorders, which increase your risk of having anemia.
Many would repeatedly ask why the gut is significant in avoiding anemia. Some people would have a side comment that the gut health doesn’t affect the blood. That is clearly a misconception. Let’s look at the relationship between the body systems. Remember, all the nutrients from the food that we eat are absorbed in the gut and then it goes to the blood by which the blood delivers them to the entire body. In other words, if you have a problematic gut, this will have a detrimental effect on the absorption of nutrients that keep your blood healthy or that has something to do with red blood cell production such as iron, vitamin B12, and folate. These are the same nutrients, which when deficient can result in anemia. Also, keep in mind that not all cases of anemia are related to nutritional deficiency.
So how would you know if you have gut problems? The best thing you can do is be mindful of your signs and symptoms. Many gut disorders manifest mild digestive symptoms and sometimes are asymptomatic (no signs and symptoms). Then you suddenly get surprised with a life threatening condition as the manifestations become severe.
So watch out for chronic constipation, persistent diarrhea, bloating, abdominal cramps, heartburn, vomiting, loss of appetite, sudden weight loss, and blood in the feces. In other words, if you have persistent digestive signs and symptoms, your gut is telling you that there’s something wrong!
Last but not the least among the biggest mistakes that lead to anemia is inadequate iron intake.
#5 You’re not taking enough iron
Iron deficiency anemia (IDA) is the most prevalent type of anemia, not just in Australia but worldwide according to the Medical Journal of Australia.
To make sure that you’re taking adequate iron, eat iron-rich foods such as oysters, mussels, clams, beef, lamb, pork, organ meats (liver, kidney), sardines, tuna, mackerel, trout, bass and chicken meat. If you’re a vegetarian, check on alternative sources such as tofu, soybeans, lentils, beans, pumpkins, peas, nuts (cashews, almonds, hazelnuts, macadamia, pistachio nuts), sesame seeds, spinach, tomato puree, asparagus, potato with skin, turnip, prune juice, apricots, kale, and beets.
You may also want to try our CHI Organic Moringa Powder available at Beyond Good Health clinic. To order, please call (07) 55228902. It is 100% Pure Moringa.
Moringa is a leafy vegetable, so it’s edible and safe. It is rich in iron and packed with many other nutrients like vitamin C, B-complex, calcium, potassium, protein, iron, iodine, magnesium, manganese, chloride, copper, chromium, sulfur, selenium, essential amino acids, non-essential amino acids, Omega fatty acids (3,6 and 9), and antioxidants.
Aside from supplementing your iron requirement, Moringa also boosts your resistance against infection. It promotes good eyesight, bone growth and development. Likewise, Moringa enhances your brain, liver and kidney function. With its antioxidant property, Moringa can reduce the damaging effects of free radicals, thereby protecting you from developing symptoms of premature aging. CHI Organic Moringa powder is also imprinted with complex homeo vibrational information for cell oxidation and adrenal support.
How to use CHI Organic Moringa powder: Just add ½ to 1 tsp of pure Moringa powder in a glass of water and take it daily.
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