Approximately 3 million people in the United States are affected by anemia. It’s a condition that occurs when the body does not have enough red blood cells to deliver oxygen to all of its tissues. When an older adult has anemia, they may feel weak and tired, making them unable to do their normal daily activities.
Anemia can be either a short-term problem or a long-term condition. It can also have only mild symptoms or very severe ones. Even if the symptoms are mild, it’s important for seniors to see the doctor if they think they may be anemic because it can be a sign of another problem.
The symptoms of anemia include:
- Skin that appears pale or yellowish.
- Feeling dizzy.
- Feeling lightheaded.
- Chest pain.
- Cold hands or feet.
- Irregular heartbeat.
Causes of Anemia
There are hundreds of different kinds of anemia. Doctors divide them into three types based on their general causes:
- Caused by blood loss.
- Caused by the production of fewer or faulty red blood cells.
- Caused by red blood cells being destroyed.
The most common kind of anemia is iron deficiency anemia.
-It occurs when the body doesn’t have the iron it needs to produce enough hemoglobin for red blood cells. It can be caused by blood loss, cancer, an ulcer, and regularly using over-the-counter pain killers, like aspirin.
-Anemia can also be caused by a lack of vitamin B12 and folate, which are necessary for creating red blood cells. Older adults may not be getting enough of these nutrients through their diet. Some people’s bodies aren’t able to process B12, so they can develop a condition called pernicious anemia.
-Anemia can also be caused by having a chronic disease, including rheumatoid arthritis, kidney disease, chronic inflammatory diseases, and Crohn’s disease. All of these can disrupt red blood cell production.
Some older adults, especially those of African American or Hispanic descent, may suffer from a hereditary disease -called sickle cell anemia. With this disease, the body produces abnormally shaped red blood cells. They are shaped by crescents and don’t move through blood vessels as easily as normal blood cells. They also break down more quickly than they should.
If your aging relative has anemia, senior care can assist them with tasks they may lack the energy to do. A senior care provider can help with house cleaning, laundry, and making the bed. Senior care providers can also prepare healthy meals that supply all the nutrients the older adult needs to support red blood cell production. And, senior care providers can assist the older adult with managing the condition by reminding them when it is time to take supplements or medications for treating the condition.
Are you or a loved one considering hiring a Caregiver in American Fork, UT? Please talk to the friendly staff at December Rose Senior Care at Home. Providing Home Care in Highland, Utah and Surrounding Communities. 801-427-ROSE (7673)
In their spare time, Alan and Stephanie are all about family and enjoy So. California beach vacations, watching their children’s sporting events, reading, participating in church and community activities, watching favorite shows together, participating in Boy Scouts, running and yoga.