Anemia or iron poor blood is a condition where there aren’t enough healthy red blood cells in the body to carry sufficient amounts of oxygen to the tissues. Each of our red blood cells contains hemoglobin, an iron rich protein that gives it its red color. Hemoglobin is responsible for the transportation of oxygen from the lungs to other parts of the body.
by Christine Haran
Aug 1, 2003
When we work and play hard, we often pay for it with next-day fatigue. Fatigue and lethargy are also common complaints that can result from many medical conditions and sometimes their treatment. But one of the more well-known and common causes of chronic tiredness is anemia. Iron, which is mostly found in the red blood cells, is needed to courier oxygen to cells to perform their functions. Iron-deficiency anemia, the most common form of anemia, occurs when there is a lack of this mineral in the body.
Because anemia is often the result of an underlying disease process, the history and physical examination are extremely important. Anemic patients are often pale and may appear confused, frail, unsteady, and short of breath. The presenting symptom may be chest pain or syncope. Vital sign abnormalities include hypotension or tachycardia. Anemia is defined by the laboratory values and these values and the clinical picture are necessary for a definitive diagnosis.