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The most common symptoms of anemia include the following:

• fatigue

• pale skin

• difficulty focusing

• dizziness

• headaches

• numbness or coldness of the extremities

• fast or irregular heartbeat

• shortness of breath

• chest pain

• insomnia

• leg cramps

If you think you are anemic, it’s important to get a complete blood count from a physician. If you are, the next step will be determining why you are anemic, so you can receive proper treatment. Some causes of anemia include iron deficiency, vitamin deficiency, anemia induced by chronic disease, certain cancers, menstruation, pregnancy and family histories.

Your treatment will depend on the type of anemia you have, which is determined by its cause. The most common type of anemia, is iron deficient anemia, which can usually be treated with an iron supplement. If you are lacking sufficient vitamin B-6, vitamin B-12, vitamin C, vitamin A, or copper in your diet, a supplement containing these vitamins and mineral may also be recommended.

Left untreated, anemia can be dangerous, so if you suspect you are anemic, make an appointment with your physician today.

If you would like more information on anemia and to find a physician who is right for you, call HealthFinder at East Jefferson General Hospital at 504.456.5000 or go to www.ejgh.org.

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