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Question
Posted by: AJ | 2011/04/14

Anaemia ,Heart &  Weight

I have been diagnosed with Chronic Anaemia ( I am a blood donor) earlier this year and have build up sufficient iron levels to start donating again.

What is the relationship between the heart and anaemia. I enjoy jogging, but am very tired after a session and have to sleep it off.

Is there also a correlation between anaemia, the heart and weight gain. At times it feels that I am gaining weight eventhough my eating patterns hasn''''t changed. My heart is at times also racing eventhough I have done nothing too strenuous. Please help!

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCardiologist

Hi AJ.

You don't say how old you are, or whether male or female. Also, what is the cause of the chronic anaemia? I assume from what you say that you are female and that the chronic anaemia is due to iron deficiency, which in turn is due to the combined effect of menstrual blood loss plus frequent blood donations. (All credit to you!)

However it is worth remembering that iron balance is very marginal in young premenopausal women so for young women to donate a lot of blood is to run a high risk of becoming iron deficient.

The heart and blood fnction together to deliver oxygen to the tissues. If you are anaemic the oxygen carrying capaciyty of your blood is reduced, so your heart will have to work harder - and beat faster - to deliver the same amount of oxygen to your tissues and organs.

If the anaemia is due to iron deficiency remember also that the human stomach is not good at absorbing iron - so it will take a long time to replenish your depleted iron stores - like paying off an overdraft at the bank with 10 cents coins.

Iron deficiency even when not severe enough to cause anaemia can also make you tired, so before giving blood again I would make sure, not only that you are no longer anaemic but also that your iron stores are back to normal. This can be done with a simple blood test. (Iron sudies and ferritin)

If in doubt, or still not well, please do not give any more blood until the whole problem of your anaemia has been sorted out. I would see a physician or physician/haematologist.

As far as I know there is no direct correlation between anaemia and the heart , on the one hand, and weight gain on the other, but there may of course be indirect links.

Best wishes

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Our users say:
Posted by: Cardiologist | 2011/04/18

Hi AJ.

You don't say how old you are, or whether male or female. Also, what is the cause of the chronic anaemia? I assume from what you say that you are female and that the chronic anaemia is due to iron deficiency, which in turn is due to the combined effect of menstrual blood loss plus frequent blood donations. (All credit to you!)

However it is worth remembering that iron balance is very marginal in young premenopausal women so for young women to donate a lot of blood is to run a high risk of becoming iron deficient.

The heart and blood fnction together to deliver oxygen to the tissues. If you are anaemic the oxygen carrying capaciyty of your blood is reduced, so your heart will have to work harder - and beat faster - to deliver the same amount of oxygen to your tissues and organs.

If the anaemia is due to iron deficiency remember also that the human stomach is not good at absorbing iron - so it will take a long time to replenish your depleted iron stores - like paying off an overdraft at the bank with 10 cents coins.

Iron deficiency even when not severe enough to cause anaemia can also make you tired, so before giving blood again I would make sure, not only that you are no longer anaemic but also that your iron stores are back to normal. This can be done with a simple blood test. (Iron sudies and ferritin)

If in doubt, or still not well, please do not give any more blood until the whole problem of your anaemia has been sorted out. I would see a physician or physician/haematologist.

As far as I know there is no direct correlation between anaemia and the heart , on the one hand, and weight gain on the other, but there may of course be indirect links.

Best wishes

Reply to Cardiologist

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