Anemia Information for You
When your red blood cell count is low, you have anemia. Red blood cells are produced in the bone marrow. They carry oxygen throughout the body. When there are fewer red blood cells, the body tissues may not get enough oxygen. Anemia can be measured by a blood test. The table below lists the normal values.
|Hematocrit (Hct)||Hemoglobin (Hgb)|
There are many causes of low red blood cells: too little iron, blood loss, cancer, genetic disorders, and medicines.
Signs and Symptoms
- Shortness of breath
- Pale skin
- Ringing in the ears
- Pounding heart rate
Iron supplements, vitamins, hormones or growth factors may be used. Blood transfusions may be needed.
Ways to Reduce Symptoms
- Plan frequent, short rest periods.
- Change positions slowly.
- Lying to sitting
- Sitting to standing
- Stand awhile before walking.
- Dress warmly.
- Eat a well balanced diet and drink lots of fluids .
- Exercise to lessen feelings of fatigue. Talk with your doctors and nurses about an exercise plan.
- Ask for HFFY #4384, Managing Cancer-Related Fatigue.
When to Call Your Doctor:
Call if you have light-headedness, shortness of breath, pounding heart, or chest pain.
The Spanish version of this Health Facts for You is #6251.
The information provided should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
Last Updated: 06/16/2011
Copyright © 06/16/2011 University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#4492
Print Health Fact For You