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What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Anemia?

The most common symptom of anemia is fatigue (feeling tired or weak). If you have anemia, you may find it hard to find the energy to do normal activities.

Other signs and symptoms of anemia include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Coldness in the hands and feet
  • Pale skin
  • Chest pain

These signs and symptoms can occur because your heart has to work harder to pump oxygen-rich blood through your body.

Mild to moderate anemia may cause very mild symptoms or none at all.

Complications of Anemia

Some people who have anemia may have arrhythmias (ah-RITH-me-ahs). Arrhythmias are problems with the rate or rhythm of the heartbeat. Over time, arrhythmias can damage your heart and possibly lead to heart failure.

Anemia also can damage other organs in your body because your blood can't get enough oxygen to them.

Anemia can weaken people who have cancer or HIV/AIDS. This can make their treatments not work as well.

Anemia also can cause many other health problems. People who have kidney disease and anemia are more likely to have heart problems. With some types of anemia, too little fluid intake or too much loss of fluid in the blood and body can occur. Severe loss of fluid can be life threatening.

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Anemia Clinical Trials

Clinical trials are research studies that explore whether a medical strategy, treatment, or device is safe and effective for humans. To find clinical trials that are currently underway for Anemia, visit www.clinicaltrials.gov.

 
May 18, 2012 Last Updated Icon

The NHLBI updates Health Topics articles on a biennial cycle based on a thorough review of research findings and new literature. The articles also are updated as needed if important new research is published. The date on each Health Topics article reflects when the content was originally posted or last revised.