Anemia is associated with a lack of iron in the blood. It negatively affects the body’s ability to produce hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is a molecule that contains iron and is found in red blood cells. Hemoglobin makes it possible for red blood cells to deliver oxygen throughout the body. Without enough hemoglobin, the blood cannot deliver sufficient oxygen to the tissues in the body, leading to a feeling of tiredness.
Anemia may cause the following symptoms:
- Chronic fatigue
- Irregular heartbeat
- Shortness of breath
- Pale or yellow skin
- Brittle nails
- Hair loss
- A feeling of being cold, particularly in the hands and feet
Inflammatory conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune diseases, increase the risk of developing anemia. When anemia is related to inflammation, iron may be stored in the body’s tissues, but the body is unable to use the stored iron and there is a low level of iron in the blood.
Anemia can also have other causes, including a lack of iron or vitamin B12 in the diet and certain other diseases.