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Having anemia means you don’t have enough red blood cells. If you have anemia, you may feel dizzy, tired and weak. Your body needs these cells to carry oxygen from your lungs to the rest of your body. Healthy eating and ensuring you include important nutrients in your diet can help prevent anemia. Learn more about types of anemia and the role nutrients play in avoiding anemia.
Folic Acid Deficiency Anemia
If you feel tired, grouchy and have trouble concentrating, you may have folic acid deficiency anemia. This form of anemia occurs when your body does not get enough folic acid. Folic acid is an important part of making red and white blood cells. These cells carry oxygen throughout your body and are needed for growth. Learn more about:
Iron Deficiency Anemia
Without enough iron, your body will not have enough hemoglobin, and you may develop iron deficiency anemia. Only take iron supplements if your health care provider tells you to. If your iron level is normal, taking extra iron can be dangerous. To learn more about including iron-rich foods in your diet, see:
Vitamin B12 Deficiency Anemia
If you have a vitamin B12 deficiency, you may feel weak, tired or light-headed. Other symptoms include pale skin or sore gums. You may feel sick to your stomach and have diarrhea or constipation. It is important to include sources vitamin B12 in your diet, especially if you eat a vegan diet. Learn more about the symptoms and treatment of vitamin B12 deficiency anemia and how to include vitamin B12 in your diet.
Anemia During Pregnancy
Anemia during a healthy pregnancy is common. Anemia is more likely during pregnancy because your body is working hard to make more blood to help your baby grow. You may need to include more iron, folic acid or vitamin B12 while you are pregnant. Learn more about symptoms and how to prevent and treat anemia during pregnancy.
Chronic Disease and Anemia
You may be more likely to have anemia if you have a chronic disease, including kidney disease. In this case, your anemia is not caused by nutritional deficiencies but rather hormonal due to the decreased kidney function. You may have enough iron in your diet.
Anemia in Premature Babies
Many premature babies have anemia when they are born. This is normal. In premature babies the number of red blood cells decreases faster and go lower than in full-term babies. Your health care provider will advise how to treat your baby’s anemia of prematurity safely.
Last Updated: June 2021