Anemia and Anxiety

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Mental and physical health are nearly always related in some way, and there are a number of physical disorders that can bring on, exacerbate, or masquerade as psychological issues like anxiety. Anemia is one of these conditions.

Anemia occurs when you don't have enough red blood cells to carry the amount of oxygen your body needs. There are different types of anemia, but it is often caused by deficiencies of critical nutrients such as iron, folic acid, or vitamin B12.

Some of the most noticeable symptoms of anemia mimic those of anxiety, so it is not uncommon for anemic people to first attribute their symptoms to an anxiety disorder. These symptoms include a fast or irregular heartbeat, shortness of breath, chest pain, dizziness, decreased concentration, cold hands and feet, irritability, and insomnia. People with both anemia and an anxiety disorder may find that their anemia makes their anxiety worse, as it brings on symptoms that can be associated with anxiety or panic attacks.

Vitamin deficiency anemia and anxiety may also occur together because of deficiencies in the B complex vitamins, which include folic acid and B12. These vitamins have been implicated in the development of both anemia and psychiatric disorders like anxiety and depression.

Anemia is diagnosed through a blood test and in many cases is easily treated with changes in diet and the addition of vitamin supplements.

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