Understanding How Anemia Affects Seniors

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Statistics indicate more than three million people in the United States have been diagnosed with some form of anemia. The disorder commonly develops secondary to a disease process that interferes with the number of healthy red blood cells. Red blood cells carry hemoglobin, which contains iron and is necessary to circulate oxygen obtained from the lungs. Although there are more than 400 types of anemia, the disorder falls into one of three categories: 

  • Anemia related to blood loss
  • Anemia caused by abnormal red blood cells
  • Anemia caused by red blood cell destruction

The following are some common effects of the disease seniors and their caregivers should be wary of. 

Causes Fatigue

Due to a low reserve of oxygen in the body, seniors who have anemia often experience fatigue and shortness of breath. Therefore, these individuals may have difficulty walking long distances, climbing steep stairs, and navigating challenging terrain. Family caregivers should allow seniors with anemia to take short breaks even during moderate or low-intensity activities. 

If your loved one is excessively tired during the day, he or she may need assistance with the tasks of everyday living. Not every senior has the same care needs, which means they don’t all need the same type of homecare services. You can rely on Home Care Assistance to provide an individualized care plan to meet your elderly loved one’s unique care needs. Our holistic Balanced Care Method was designed to help seniors focus on healthy lifestyle habits, such as eating nutritious foods, exercising regularly, and maintaining strong social ties, and our Cognitive Therapeutics Method offers mentally stimulating activities that can stave off cognitive decline and delay the onset of dementia.

Increases Fall Risk

In addition to experiencing fatigue, people with anemia often feel lightheaded due to the lack of sufficient circulation of fluid, iron, and oxygen. In this weakened state, elderly people may become unsteady on their feet and are therefore more prone to falling. Aging adults who are severely anemic might even lose consciousness and fall. 

Weakens Bones

Problems with the bone marrow can lead to anemia and many other complications in the body. Anemic seniors are likely to have weak bones that can quickly degenerate. Elderly people with anemia and arthritis can experience mild to moderate pain when trying to make subtle movements with their limbs. 

There are a variety of age-related health conditions that can make it more challenging for seniors to live independently. However, many of the challenges they face can be easier to manage if their families opt for professional at-home care. Rocklin families can rely on expertly trained caregivers to keep their loved ones safe and comfortable while aging in place.

Causes Pain

Over-the-counter and prescription anti-inflammatory medications commonly cause gastric bleeding. If ulceration occurs, people may experience varying degrees of abdominal pain. Anemia and fluid imbalances also commonly cause headaches. Pain might also develop if anemia affects kidney, liver, or spleen function. 

Interferes with Cognitive Function

A lack of sufficient oxygen supply to the brain interferes with communication between neurons, which can affect cognitive function. As a result, older people may have problems focusing and thinking clearly or display general signs of confusion. Anemia also affects the chemical processes that occur throughout the body. When these abnormalities combine with fatigue, confusion, discomfort, and other symptoms, elderly people might become depressed or unusually irritable. 

Causes Cardiovascular Problems

Blood and fluid loss disrupt normal heart rhythms and lead to chest pain. Low fluid levels make the heart pump more frequently and make it more difficult to circulate oxygen. If undiagnosed and untreated, anemia may lead to an enlarged heart, heart failure, or death. This is particularly problematic if your loved one has heart disease or has had a stroke.

Aging in place can present a few unique challenges for older adults. Some only require part-time assistance with exercise or meal preparation, while others are living with serious illnesses and benefit more significantly from receiving live-in care. Rocklin, CA, Home Care Assistance are leaders in the elderly in-home care industry for good reason. We tailor our care plans based on each senior’s individual needs, our caregivers continue to receive updated training in senior care as new developments arise, and we also offer comprehensive care for seniors with Alzheimer’s, dementia, and Parkinson’s. Reach out to one of our Care Managers today at (916) 226-3737 to learn more about our high-quality home care services.


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