Aside from joint symptoms, anemia is the most common problem for people with rheumatoid arthritis. Studies show as many as 60% of people with rheumatoid arthritis are anemic. Anemia can be a temporary condition, a consequence of other health conditions, or it can be a chronic problem. People with mild anemia may not have any symptoms or may have only mild symptoms. People with severe anemia may have problems carrying out routine activities and can feel tired or experience shortness of breath with activity.
What is anemia?
Anemia can be defined as a below-normal level of hemoglobin or hematocrit (percentage of red blood cells).
Hemoglobin is the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen to all parts of the body.
What causes anemia in people with rheumatoid arthritis?
There can be multiple reasons a person with rheumatoid arthritis experiences anemia such as:
Inflammation: Inflamed tissues in arthritis release small proteins that have effects on iron metabolism, bone marrow, and erythropoietin production by the kidneys (a hormone that controls production of red blood cells). Hemoglobin is carried by red cells, but when there are not enough red cells; your body’s organs do not get enough oxygen.
Iron deficiency: Many people with rheumatoid arthritis do not have enough iron available to get into red blood cells. This iron deficiency is usually caused by menstrual bleeding, digestive tract bleeding or a problem getting the iron from within the bone marrow into the red blood cells.
Drugs: Drugs used to treat rheumatoid arthritis (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, prednisone and other drugs) are some of the causes of bleeding from the digestive tract and, hence, can also lead to anemia.
What are the complications of untreated anemia in arthritis?
People who have both rheumatoid arthritis and anemia tend to have more severe arthritis than people without anemia. They are more likely to have serious joint damage and to need anti-inflammatory drugs.
How would you know if you have anemia?
Symptoms usually develop when anemia is moderate to severe, and can include fatigue, weakness, pale skin, chest pain, dizziness, irritability, numbness or coldness in your hands and feet, trouble breathing, a fast heartbeat, and headache. It is important to see your doctor on a regular basis in order to be tested for possible anemia.
Treat rheumatoid arthritis – Treat your anemia
Studies show drugs used to treat rheumatoid arthritis can effectively reduce symptoms of anemia and that drugs which stimulate red blood cell production can reduce certain symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, including pain and swollen joints. When it comes to inflamed, tender and swollen joints in most types of arthritis, Provailen is one of the most effective yet safe herbal treatments that effectively reduces or even eliminate such inflammation and, hence, can indirectly help reduce the anemia related symptoms as well.