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is a low number of red blood cells or a low amount of hemoglobin in your red blood cells. Hemoglobin is a protein that helps carry oxygen throughout your body. Red blood cells use iron to create hemoglobin. Anemia may develop if your body does not have enough iron. It may also develop if your body does not make enough red blood cells or they die faster than your body can make them.

Common symptoms include the following:

  • Chest pain or a fast heartbeat
  • Lightheadedness, dizziness, or shortness of breath
  • Cold or pale skin
  • Tiredness, weakness, or confusion

Call 911 or have someone call 911 for any of the following:

  • You lose consciousness.
  • You have severe chest pain.

Seek care immediately if:

  • You have dark or bloody bowel movements.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • Your symptoms are worse, even after treatment.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Treatment for anemia

may include any of the following:

  • Iron or folic acid supplements help increase your red blood cell and hemoglobin levels.
  • Vitamin B12 injections may help boost your red blood cell level and decrease your symptoms. Ask your healthcare provider how to inject B12.

Prevent anemia:

Eat healthy foods rich in iron and vitamin C. Nuts, meat, dark leafy green vegetables, and beans are high in iron and protein. Vitamin C helps your body absorb iron. Foods rich in vitamin C include oranges and other citrus fruits. Ask your healthcare provider for a list of other foods that are high in iron or vitamin C. Ask if you need to be on a special diet.

Sources of Iron
Sources of Vitamin C

Follow up with your doctor as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.