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How serious is Anemia if left untreated?

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I had a fibroid tumor a couple of years ago and got severly anemic.  My endocronologist (I also have Grave's disease/thyroid disease) told me that if anemia is left untreated, it can eventually lead to leukemia.  Since I had surgery in 4/08 to remove my fibroid, I have had to take three iron pills a day to bring my levels back to normal.  I will now have to be on iron pills until I go through menopause. 

Please see a doctor if you have anemia!



It depends what has caused the anemia, is it iron deficiency, blood loss due to injury, colon cancer, uterine cancer, malnutrition, kidney failure, alcohol.

anemia is very serious! If the reason is because of iron deficiency, you need to take iron supplements, if its due to blood loss, you need to get a blood transfusion to replace your red blood cells.

Please don't go untreated, its a dangerous disease. For further info see: _em.htm

the reason is malnutrition.

Anemia related to poor nutrition: Vitamins and minerals are required to make red blood cells. In addition to iron, vitamin B12 and folate are required for the proper production of hemoglobin. Deficiency in any of these may cause anemia because of inadequate production of red blood cells. Poor dietary intake is an important cause of low folate and low vitamin B12 levels. Strict vegetarians who do not take sufficient vitamins are at risk to develop vitamin B12 deficiency.

^ got that from the site i suggested in previous post. i suggest you take a multivitamin and an iron supplement. but really you should see your doctor!don't leave this untreated.

You will be very weak and you may faint often. Take lots of iron and monitor your health.

Anemia is debilitating and serious. This coming from someone with a severe iron deficiency who knows this all too well so PLEASE, go to your doctor. I should add, suddenly taking iron supplements can cause stomach troubles (constipation is a common side effect) so I would not take these without consulting your doctor. Seek dietary sources of iron instead with supplements as your buffer - but go and see your doctor.

Original Post by driftpsychosis:

You will be very weak and you may faint often. Take lots of iron and monitor your health.

Do not just take "lots of iron". Iron is a dangerous supplement and should only be taken under supervision of your doctor or when you know your anemia is caused by iron-deficiency.

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are you a vegetarian?

First question is how severe it is. Your doctor would be the one to establish that And set up your plan for treating it.  Taking Lots of iron is a seriously bad bit of advice, please don't listen to it and talk to your doctor before trying any medications first. Iron overdose can be fatal, even in just a couple of hours.

My anemia is something I've known about since I was in middle school.  Routine blood work led to more in depth of a workup, I remember them mentioning b-12 levels and checking for hemoglobin and clotting problems but I was pretty young.  Being put on iron supplements was actually worse then day to day for me, but I was active and maintained a pretty good diet.  I had to increase things like red meat, dark greens (spinach, brussel sprouts, broccoli), and was even advised to eat liver. 

I have severe stomach cramps even low dose with iron (with or without food) and get so constipated I need laxatives.  That gets diarrhea going instead so the lesser of 2 evils for me is staying off the supplements.  My symptoms on a "normal" dose included vomitting, dizziness, confusion, severe cramping (to the point of crying from pain) so I'm one of "those" people that just can't take it.  My doctors always said it's not unusual and we could work with it.  I monitor what I eat and get my blood checked and I don't get the fatigue and fainting that was mentioned... only time I've passed out from my anemia was before they lowered my dose of iron supplement and I was so dizzy the room felt like one of those tilt-a-whirl rides at a carnival!

Anemia can be very serious. When I was a sophmore in high school, I was hospitalized for three days because of how low my vital signs were (heartrate was 35, respirates 10-12,etc) The hospital staff said that my vital signs were equivalent to that of someone who had overdosed on drugs and was in a coma. They were surprised I was as alert and energetic as I was. The cause for the low vital signs was how depleted my iron levels had gotten. Actually, it had become a dual anemia - both iron and folate deficient. You need both so your blood cells can carry enough oxygen to your organs so they can function, and also for new cells to grow. That is why people with anemia are often easily tired and tend to feel weak or foggy.

So yes, anemia can be very serious and you should either go see your doctor to talk about taking a supplement (slow-fe or another plant based one would probably best - less likely to constipate) or at least start trying to include more iron-rich foods in your diet. If you take a supplement, make sure to take it with orange juice to help the absorption, and also make sure you get some extra fiber - maybe a few dried figs or dates, or prunes. And even if you don't go the supplement route, do make sure to also get some vitamin C to help the absorption of the iron in foods you eat. Try spinach, kale or another dark leafy green, kidney or black beans, or animal proteins to increase your iron levels.

rebelchick- are you saying that low vital signs were caused by iron deficiency? Please explain.. im really interested. Is it possible to have low vitals solely due to iron deficiency anemia?

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