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What are the signs and symptoms of anemia?

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Quick Answer

Common signs and symptoms associated with anemia include fatigue, shortness of breath, pale skin and weakness, according to Mayo Clinic. Some people with anemia may experience a fast or irregular heartbeat, dizziness, chest pain or cognitive problems. A headache and cold hands or feet are also signs of anemia.

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The signs and symptoms of anemia vary depending on the cause, states Mayo Clinic. Detection of anemia symptoms may be difficult at first, but the symptoms become more prominent as anemia worsens. Common causes of anemia are an iron deficiency and/or a vitamin B-12 deficiency. Although unexplained fatigue does not always mean a person is anemic, it is always a good idea to check with a physician to be sure.

A person with anemia related to an iron deficiency may experience a condition called pica, which is when a person hungers for unusual substances, such as dirt or paper, notes WebMD. Other symptoms include soreness in the mouth area, cracked mouth corners and an upward curvature of the nails.

Anemia due to a B-12 deficiency may cause a person to feel a tingling "pins and needles" feeling in the hands and feet, according to WebMD. This type of anemia may also make it difficult to walk, causing clumsiness in the arms and legs. A person with anemia related to B-12 may lose the sense of touch, or he may develop dementia.

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