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Arthritis and anemia Are they inter-related?

provailen, Arthritis Pain Relief, thumb joint pain, big toe joint pain, treatment for arthritis, arthritis remedies, arthritis in knee, shoulder joint pain Introduction and background

Interestingly enough, after the typical, standard joint symptoms in arthritis, anemia is considered among the most common problems for people with arthritis. According to clinical trials and surveys, as many as 60% people with rheumatoid arthritis can develop anemia. Anemia can be a temporary condition, a consequence of other health conditions, or it can be a chronic problem. People with mild anemia may not have any symptoms or may have only mild symptoms.

Anemia defined

Anemia can be defined as “a below-normal level of hemoglobin or hematocrit (percentage of red blood cells)”. Hemoglobin is the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen to all parts of the body.
We all know that every cell in the human body gets a large portion of its energy from oxygen. In a healthy person, cells receive an adequate supply of oxygen, thanks to a substance called hemoglobin, which transports oxygen through the blood. Without sufficient hemoglobin, the cells don’t get enough oxygen; without enough oxygen, the brain, the muscles, and all the other tissues begin to slow down. The anemic person feels weak and tired at first and then may experience several other symptoms, including headaches, difficulty concentrating, and a series of illnesses that are the result of a suppressed immune system (e.g. in arthritis).

There can be multiple reasons a person with rheumatoid arthritis experiences anemia such as:

Iron deficiency:
The body needs iron to produce the necessary amount of hemoglobin, and the vast majority of anemia cases are caused by a deficiency of this mineral. Iron deficiency most often results from a poor diet, especially one that’s high in junk food, or from long-term or repeated dieting. There are many other ways a person can end up with a deficiency of iron, however. Blood loss for any reason, including surgery, trauma, gum disease, hemorrhoids, polyps, cancer of the colon, bleeding ulcers, and heavy menstrual periods, can produce an anemic state. So can an increase in the body’s need for iron, which usually happens during pregnancy. Iron deficiency can also be caused by an inability to absorb certain nutrients, as can happen with folic acid and vitamin B12. The elderly with arthritis often lose their ability to absorb these nutrients, as do people with certain digestive disorders like Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis. Usually, iron deficiency is caused by a combination of these factors.

Inflammation:
Inflamed tissues in arthritis release small proteins that have effects on iron metabolism, bone marrow, and erythropoietin production by the kidneys (a hormone that controls production of red blood cells). Hemoglobin is carried by red cells, but when there are not enough red cells; your body’s organs do not get enough oxygen.

Drugs:
Sometimes, anemia can results as a side effect of some of the common drugs used to treat rheumatoid arthritis (like non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, prednisone and other drugs). Since some of the causes of bleeding from the digestive tract and, hence, can also lead to anemia.

Symptoms of anemia in arthritis can include:

Fatigue
Weakness
Shortness of breath after mild exertion
Headaches
Dizziness or fainting
Difficulty concentrating
Pale skin, lips, and nail beds
Cold extremities
Frequent illnesses
Cessation of menstruation

It is important to remember that people who have both rheumatoid arthritis and anemia tend to have more severe arthritis than people without anemia. They are more likely to have serious joint damage and to need anti-inflammatory drugs.

If you suspect that you have anemia in arthritis, it’s likely that you can be cured with simple home treatments and supplementation. It’s important, however, that you see a doctor for an official diagnosis. The symptoms of anemia can mimic those of other disorders, so you’ll need to get a thorough physical examination. If you are diagnosed with anemia, don’t let your doctor stop there. Make sure he or she explains the specific cause of your problem so that you’ll know how to address any underlying disorders and prevent a recurrence.


 

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