Anemia history and symptoms
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Anemia goes undetected in many people, and symptoms can be vague. The signs and symptoms are similar in different types of anemia. The presentation may vary depending on the acuteness of onset, hematocrit levels, and the general health conditions of the patient (age, sex, pregnancy, cardiac conditions, and any other comorbidities) rather than only the etiology behind the anemia. A hematocrit level of between 30 - 35 usually produces no symptoms whereas, a fall of heamtocrit levels to 15 - 20 may produce severe symptoms (shortness of breath, syncope). However, most patients will experience some symptoms related to anemia when the hemoglobin level reaches 7 g/dL.
History and Symptoms
The common presentation can include:
- Weakness or fatigue on exertion and on rest (if the hematocrit falls further).
- Poor concentration
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath (severe anemia)
- Racing heart (very severe anemia prompts the body to compensate by increasing cardiac output)
- Pica, the consumption of non-food such as dirt, paper, wax, grass and hair, may be a symptom of iron deficiency anemia, although it occurs often in those who have normal levels of hemoglobin.
- Chronic anemia may result in behavioral disturbances in children as a direct result of impaired neurological development in infants, and reduced scholastic performance in children of school age. Behavioral disturbances may even surface as an attention deficit disorder.