Fatigue due to anemia

Anemia occurs when there is a shortage of properly functioning red blood cells in the blood. The most well-known cause is an iron deficiency. It is often seen as a result of childbirth, surgery, heavy periods or some other form of heavy blood loss. Fatigue is a common complaint due to anemia. This can seriously hinder daily functioning. How do you get anemia and what can you do about it?

What anemia is

The blood contains red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. Red blood cells contain hemoglobin (Hb). This is a type of protein that gives the blood its red color. Hemoglobin ensures that oxygen is transported through the blood to all cells of the body. As soon as your hemoglobin level is too low (below 8.1 mmol/l in a man and 7.5 mmol/l in a woman), it means you have anemia. There are too few red blood cells in your blood or they no longer function well enough. The medical term for anemia is anemia .


In the beginning there are usually few or no complaints. The most common complaint in people with anemia is fatigue. Not enough oxygen reaches the tissues, so they can no longer function optimally. You have often felt tired and weak for a while, and you may even be overtired. It can be difficult to carry out your daily activities. The fatigue may be accompanied by other complaints, such as headache, dizziness, palpitations, shortness of breath, nausea and fainting. You may also look a bit pale due to the lack of red blood cells. In that case, the anemia is more serious.

Iron deficiency

The most common cause of anemia is a lack of iron. An iron deficiency usually occurs as a result of a lot of blood loss, for example due to childbirth, surgery, prolonged heavy periods and internal bleeding that often goes unnoticed for too long. Not everyone gets enough iron through their diet. For example, growing children and pregnant women need more iron. Sometimes you get enough iron, but the intestines are unable to absorb it properly. A disease of the stomach or intestines may be a cause.

Deficiency of other nutrients

The elderly and vegetarians often consume too few nutrients or eat too monotonously. If you do not consume animal products for a long time and do not eat a good replacement, you may eventually develop a deficiency of vitamin B12 and folic acid. In the elderly it is often seen that the stomach is less able to absorb vitamin B12 and they sometimes eat too little due to reduced appetite. People who are strict dieters or alcoholics sometimes also have a nutrient deficiency.

In case of illness

With some chronic diseases, such as rheumatism, long-term infections or cancer, the production of hemoglobin can be disrupted. The breakdown process of red blood cells can also be accelerated. There may also be a hereditary abnormality of hemoglobin, such as Sickle Cell Disease. In this disease, abnormal hemoglobin is produced.

Get rid of fatigue

The red blood cells are unable to provide the body with sufficient oxygen and therefore energy. It is very annoying to be so tired and feel so lethargic. To combat your anemia, you can change your diet or go to your doctor for treatment.

Power supply

If your anemia is a result of poor nutrition, you can choose products that contain a lot of iron, vitamin B12 and folic acid. Vitamin B12 is only found in animal foods, such as meat, fish, eggs and dairy. Folic acid is mainly found in liver, spinach, legumes and whole grain products. Iron is found in almost all types of meat, certain types of fish, legumes, nuts, bread, dried fruit and some vegetables such as endive, broccoli, peas, tomato paste and turnip greens. Iron is better absorbed by the body if you take it at the same time as vitamin C.


It depends on the cause whether anemia is treated with medication. For example, if the cause of the blood loss is heavy menstrual periods, you can opt for the contraceptive pill so that the menstrual period becomes less heavy. Painkillers such as ibuprofen and naproxen can damage the inside of your stomach, causing anemia. Then try using another painkiller, such as paracetamol . If diet does not help to improve iron absorption in the body, iron tablets can be chosen. Folic acid is also available in the form of tablets. In case of very severe anemia, a blood transfusion is chosen.


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