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Understanding and Preventing Anemia

By May 18, 2017Anemia

The most common blood disease across America and the world at large is a condition called ‘anemia’. Anemia is either the lack of red blood cells, a lack of hemoglobin in your blood, or both, resulting in a loss of oxygen to the body. Though this is not a specifically covered condition alone to qualify for EEOICPA or RECA benefits, many of the conditions United Energy Workers Health does cover, such as select cancers and other occupational diseases, can result in anemia, especially in the elderly. If you are covered as an EEOICPA or RECA beneficiary and you have also been diagnosed with anemia, our free home health care professionals will be able to help you with this condition.

What Is Anemia?

Anemia, like we stated in the previous paragraph, is either a lack of red blood cells (the substance that oxygenates the rest of the body and organ systems so they can function properly), a lack of hemoglobin (the substance in your bloodstream that takes the air you breath and binds it to your blood) or a combination of the two. Red blood cells and hemoglobin are both necessary for helping each bodily system function properly, meaning that irregularities found in blood and hemoglobin levels can cause serious side-effects. Signs that indicate anemia-related problems might include regular fatigue, dizziness, headache, numbness in the extremities, irregular heart rhythms, and chest pain, among others. In large part, anemia can be treated, but if left unchecked, it could damage different organ systems and may be fatal, especially in the elderly population.

What Causes Anemia?

There are more than 400 types of anemia known to doctors, each of which is lumped into three main causes: 1) blood loss, 2) faulty red blood cell production, and 3) destruction of red blood cells. There are just as many causes for anemia as there are varieties, but some of the most common causes of anemia in the elderly are because of cancer, a lack of proper nutrition, or medications intended to help other diseases. Anemia could also be the result of a slow, internal bleed or an underlying genetic condition such as sickle cell disease, which is a common form of anemia in African Americans or Hispanics.

How to Prevent Anemia

Some type of anemia, such as those induced by cancer or genetic malfunctions, can’t be prevented, but there is a lot someone can do to prevent other types. Included among these preventions are the following:

1. Incorporate vitamin C and iron into your diet, using supplements as necessary.

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Bone marrow is responsible for making hemoglobin, and it needs the mineral iron to do it. Vitamin C assists bones’ iron absorption rate, so when these minerals are combined, you reduce your chance of decreased hemoglobin levels. To prevent anemia, consider a diet rich in seafood, vegetables, fortified breads/pasta, and others to get enough iron and broccoli, citrus fruits, and strawberries to help with your vitamin C intake.

2. Start an appropriate exercise regime.

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Recent studies show that exercise can improve your circulation and blood flow, which is critical for delivering oxygen to different parts of your body. It is even known to help anemia in instances of cancer. Your specific healthcare providers will be able to determine a program that is right for you to stay off anemia and prevent your organ systems from damage.

3. Stop drinking alcohol or smoking.

alcohol copyThe kidneys are responsible for creating the chemicals bone marrow uses to produce red blood cells. When the kidneys are damaged, the chemical production slows down, as does the production of blood cells in the marrow. Many people can increase their risk of developing anemia if they cut out tobacco and alcohol, both of which can cause severe kidney problems.

4. Stop drinking caffeinated beverages.

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Caffeine is linked to high blood pressure, just as a bad diet, lack of exercise, and alcohol/smoking is also linked to high blood pressure. High blood pressure can put a lot of stress on the kidneys as well, meaning that those who eliminate caffeine from their diets, such as soft drinks and coffee, substantially increase their ability to avoid anemia.

United Energy Workers Providing Free Health Care

We hope that these preventative suggestions help you to avoid future problems associated with anemia, but if you have been diagnosed with anemia and one of the covered conditions specified under the congressional acts of EEOICPA and RECA, you qualify to receive our free home healthcare services. Take advantage of our expert healthcare providers who will give you aide for your occupational disease and other conditions associated with them. Call us today at (800) 314-2383 for more information and to see if you qualify!