The winter weather is setting in, and for some people this means their anaemia symptoms could worsen over the next few months.
There are cases where people who are not anaemic develop symptoms when it is really cold, which is called cold agglutinin disease. This is when freezing weather causes the body’s immune system to attack the red blood cells.
This condition, which impacts one in 300,000, is more likely to occur in women and those over the age of 60, which is why many old people often feel the cold.
Their symptoms include dizziness, sore muscles and joints, chest pains, cold hands and feet, and pale or yellow skin.
Patients who have anaemia all year round are also likely to experience strong symptoms in the winter. This means they are more susceptible to feeling dizzy, lightheaded, weak or tired, and colder than they would otherwise, particularly in their extremities that do not retain the heat well, such as their hands and feet.
If you find your symptoms, which may also include pale skin, inflammation of the tongue, brittle nails, unusual cravings, poor appetite, and shortness of breath, get worse over the colder months, it is important to increase your iron intake.
As anaemia makes it hard to absorb iron, it is essential patients do what they can to improve their levels. This includes eating plenty of meat, poultry, fish, eggs, pulses, greens, nuts and seeds, and wholegrains.
Some people, particularly those who do not eat meat or dairy, may need to take an iron supplement to boost the iron in their blood. This might include having an iron drip or an iron infusion, helping iron to be quickly absorbed into the bloodstream.