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7 Signs of Anemia in Older Adults

Anemia is a condition is which our blood doesn't contain enough healthy red blood cells. This leads to our organs getting reduced amounts of oxygen. If left untreated, anemia can cause many health problems such as severe fatigue, heart problems and even death. Furthermore, if left untreated in the elderly, is generally associated with increased death as well as decreased mobility, cognitive impairment, depression, falls and fractures, hospital admission, and diminished quality of life.

Anemia often goes undiagnosed in older adults. Signs that you may have anemia include:

  • Shortness of breath

  • Decreased endurance

  • Dizziness

  • Increase in heart rate

  • Tiredness

  • Hair loss

Some older adults may even experience odd or weird symptoms of anemia. They crave and chew ice. Changes in the tongue is also a symptom of iron deficiency anemia. Some say these two may go together. The ice soothes the tongue. Either way, if you have a red and swollen tongue and are craving ice, you may want to consult with your doctor.

A simple blood test by your doctor can let you know if you are anemic or not. Treatment depends on the cause of the anemia. Typically, iron supplements and incorporating iron-rich foods into your diet are part of treatment for anemia.

Some key, iron-rich foods include:

  • Fortified cereals

  • Oatmeal

  • Eggs

  • Beef

  • Legumes

  • Leafy greens

  • Shellfish

  • Liver

  • Seeds/nuts

  • Dried fruits

Written By: Care Manager - Tami Jarreau, RN


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