Anemia and How its complicates Fibromyalgia

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Anemia happens when there is a decreased number of circulating red blood cells in the body. It is the most common blood disorder in the general population. Symptoms can include headaches, chest pains, and pale skin.

Symptoms

The most common symptom of all types of anemia is a feeling of fatigue and a lack of energy. Other common symptoms may include light-headedness, paleness of skin, shortness of breath, fast or irregular heartbeat, chest pain.

Specific Anemia has specific causes and symptoms

Aplastic anemia:

  • Fever
  • Frequent infections, and
  • Skin rashes

Sickle cell anemia:

  • Painful swelling of the feet and hands,
  • Fatigue, and
  • Jaundice

Folic acid deficiency anemia:

  • Irritability,
  • Diarrhea, and a
  • Smooth tongue

Hemolytic anemia:

  • Jaundice,
  • Dark colored urine,
  • Fever, and
  • Abdominal pains.

Causes

The body needs red blood cells to survive. They carry hemoglobin, a complex protein that contains iron molecules. These molecules carry oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. Some diseases and conditions can result in a low level of red blood cells. There are many types of anemia, and there is no single cause. It can sometimes be difficult to pinpoint the exact cause.

Serum ferritin level and Fibromyalgia syndrome

Iron is essential for a number of enzymes involved in neurotransmitter synthesis. Analysis of cerebrospinal fluid in fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) has shown a reduction in the concentration of biogenic amine metabolites, including dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin. Iron as a cofactor in serotonin and dopamine production may have a role in the etiology of FMS.

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Normal Iron levels

Plant-based iron is poorly absorbed, so iron deficiency is an even bigger problem in vegetarians, though common in fibromyalgia in general. On the other hand, too much iron can be toxic. Your doctor should be able to test you for an iron deficiency and guide you as to what treatment may be best for you.

Sometimes anemia is treated with supplements, but dietary changes may also help correct the deficiency, because of this, iron is a nutrient that doctors recommend not be supplemented unless one actually checks the blood tests and has a ferritin level under 60 (or an iron percent saturation under 22%). If the ferritin is under 60, doctors recommend taking 25 – 50 mg of iron along with at least 50 mg of vitamin C (taken at the same time) to boost absorption. Doctors check the ferritin level every 3 – 6 months, and stop the iron when the ferritin is over 60.

It is normal for iron to turn one’s stools black while they are taking it. If it is constipating, add magnesium glycinate 200 – 400 mg a day, which also has dramatic health benefits. Do not take iron within six hours of taking thyroid hormone, or you will not absorb the thyroid. Doctors generally give iron at bedtime.

For some people with fibromyalgia, nutritional deficiencies are a real and on-going concern. Because 90 percent of fibromyalgia diagnoses are in women and iron deficiency is common in women, iron is a logical nutrient to look at. Low iron in the blood can lead to a type of anemia, which can have serious symptoms.

Some people with fibromyalgia who’ve been diagnosed with anemia claim that iron supplements did help alleviate their pain. As with any treatment, it may help some but not others.

Fibromyalgia Struggle with Anemia

Treating your anemia can actually make a significant difference in your fibromyalgia. Anemia shouldn’t go untreated in the first place, because it could end up causing damage to your organs and could cause you to develop other chronic illnesses in the long run. But when you’ve got fibromyalgia and anemia together, it’s that much more vital. Many people who have fibromyalgia and anemia will work on treating their anemia, and then realize that their fibromyalgia symptoms are lessened and they are a lot more comfortable than they were before getting their anemia treated.

Anemia isn’t a frightening thing, as long as you catch it in time and you treat it properly. And if you pay attention to your symptoms, you will be able to notice if things start to swing one way or another with your fibromyalgia symptoms. It can take some time and practice for you to be able to do so. Anemia and fibromyalgia often go hand in hand, which is why it’s vital that we understand the symptoms of both in order to ensure that treatment is doing what it should. Getting on a regular sleep schedule, eating right, and taking supplements can all play a significant role in helping you to feel better and have more energy?

So why do anemia and fibromyalgia overlap? One of the main reasons is because there are a lot of nutrition issues that come alongside fibromyalgia. Either we aren’t paying enough attention to our diet in order to make sure that we are getting sufficient amounts of vitamins and minerals, or we have digestive issues that make it difficult for our body to actually get all the nutrients out of the food that we’re eating. With disorders like irritable bowel syndrome, it can really end up messing up your body, so you have to be more aware of what you’re ingesting and how much of each nutrient you are getting on a regular basis.

Complications of Anemia

Anemia is a condition that should not be left untreated. If it is allowed to progress for a long period of time, anemia can become quite dangerous to your health. Anemia can result in the development of an irregular or rapid heartbeat (tachycardia) or an enlarged heart muscle (left ventricular hypertrophy). These conditions can increase your risk for heart disease or stroke. Anemias can also leave you feeling terribly exhausted, making it difficult to enjoy work, school, or social events

Diagnosis of Anemia

If you are experiencing severe fatigue or other anemia symptoms, it is important that you get diagnosed. Anemia is very common and can be discovered through a simple blood test. A sample of your blood will be taken and then sent to a laboratory for testing. Your health care provider will measure the amount of red blood cells in your sample, and use this to determine whether or not you have anemia.

Reference

Research “Association between serum ferritin level and fibromyalgia syndrome” via NCBI

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