According to the National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics (NCDAS), about 10% of Americans aged 12 or more have Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD).Unfortunately, alcohol misuse can negatively impact different systems of the human body, resulting in mental health conditions, high blood pressure, weakening of the immune system, and liver disease. The hematological complications of alcohol include premature destruction and decreased production of red blood cells, causing anemia. Anemia is usually characterized by increased fatigue, pale skin, shortness of breath, dizziness, heart arrhythmias, and chest pain. However, certain measures can help manage the symptoms of alcohol-related anemia.
Confidant Health offers a virtual alcohol rehabilitation program that involves weekly online sessions to help you overcome alcohol dependence. Furthermore, it provides Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) that involves medications and behavioral therapy to manage alcohol misuse and AUD.
What is Anemia?
Anemia is a hematological disorder characterized by insufficient or dysfunctional red blood cells. It leads to reduced hemoglobin and oxygen supply to the body’s tissues. Normal hemoglobin levels are between 13 - 16 g/dL for males and 11.6 -15 g/dL for females. A person is considered anemic when hemoglobin levels fall below 13.2 g/dL.
Anemia is regarded as a major health concern affecting 1.6 billion people globally. The overall prevalence of anemia among all age groups was 22.8% in 2019. According to the World Health Organization, about 30% of women aged 15-49 suffered from anemia in 2019.
Signs of Anemia
The symptoms of anemia depend on various factors, such as cause, severity, and type of anemia. Common signs of anemia include the following.
- Brittle nails
- Pale skin and sclera
- Tachycardia (Increased heart rate)
- Dyspnea (Shortness of breath)
- Dizziness and weakness
- Chest pain
- Loss of appetite
- Irritability and difficulty in concentration
Common Causes of Anemia
Common causes of main types of anemia include the following.
Iron deficiency anemia
Cause:Low iron levels (e.g., pregnancy), Heavy blood loss as in Heavy menstrual bleeding, or Gastrointestinal tract ulcers.
Anemia of Chronic Disease
Cause: Chronic inflammatory diseases such as Crohn’s disease, Rheumatoid Arthritis, HIV/AIDS, and Chronic Kidney Disease(CKD) are the causes of anemia.
Cause: Inadequate production of RBCs from bone marrow due to Autoimmune disorders, Leukemias, and exposure to certain chemicals or radiations.
Cause:Abrupt decline in RBCs due to hemolysis in life-threatening conditions such as Sickle-cell Anemia, Hereditary spherocytosis, Thalassemia, Wilson’s Disease, Lead Poisoning, and G6PD-Deficiency.
Cause: Deficiency of intrinsic factor that leads to inadequate absorption of vitamin B12. This results in an increased size of red blood cells, also known as megaloblastic anemia. This type of anemia is common in people with excessive alcohol intake.