What is Anemia?
There are several varieties of anemia, all centered around the same problem. Anemic patients don’t have enough healthy red blood cells in their bloodstream. The most obvious effect is that they cannot carry oxygen throughout body as efficiently as someone without anemia; this leads to chronic fatigue and weakness in most patients. Symptoms include getting cold easily, weakened immune function, irregular heartbeat, and shortness of breath.
Can Anemia Cause Digestive Problems?
There is a strong correlation between anemia and digestive problems, which varies depending on which type of anemia. It’s hard to say what causes what in many cases, but having certain digestive disorders significantly increases your risk of iron-deficiency anemia. More specifically, this trend occurs in people who have intestinal absorption difficulties, like Celiac Disease or Crohn’s Disease. Inflammation is also a big factor here, as it can exacerbate symptoms.
What is Iron Deficiency Anemia?
When someone has malabsorption issues, they may consume enough iron in their diet yet still develop iron-deficiency anemia. This happens when their small intestine does not properly absorb the iron; this can be caused by a few different things, like pre-existing digestive conditions.
A patient with low iron cannot produce enough hemoglobin for their red blood cells, leading to reduced functionality. With iron-deficiency anemia treatment, iron supplementation may help the patient create more hemoglobin. However, treating the root cause is a more effective way to reduce or eliminate symptoms.
What is Malabsorption?
The normal digestive process involves breaking down food into small components and absorbing the nutrients from it; this happens throughout the intestines. For someone with malabsorption, their intestines are unable to effectively take in the nutrients from their food. This symptom typically goes along with intestinal inflammation. Often, diagnostic testing is needed to assess your levels of various vitamins and minerals.
What is the Main Cause of Malabsorption?
There are a lot of potential causes for malabsorption, so it is important to get to the bottom of why it is happening. A major cause of malabsorption is iron-deficiency anemia. Another major cause is chronic intestinal conditions like Celiac Disease or Chron’s Disease. Significant inflammation makes it even harder for the intestines to absorb nutrients.
Digestive Health Centers Can Help
Accurate diagnosis and effective treatment are crucial. At Digestive Health Centers, our specialty is helping you figure out the root cause of your digestive symptoms. We are experts at diagnosing all kinds of digestive issues. For some patients, it’s important to get an upper endoscopy; it provides your doctor with more information about your condition. Talk to your gastroenterologist – or to a wonderful provider at Digestive Health Centers – to assess your symptoms and figure out the best possible treatment for your individual case.