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What's Your AQ? (Anemia Quotient)

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Dr. Ernest Levister, Jr.
Have you felt unusually tired or fatigued? Have you experienced unusual weakness? Have you felt dizzy or faint? You could be suffering from anemia. Oscar nominated and Tony-Award winning actor Danny Glover, watched his diabetic father languish for years before being diagnosed with anemia. Now Glover has embarked on a nationwide campaign to make Americans more aware of anemia’s often hidden symptoms.

Anemia occurs when the number of red blood cells (or hemoglobin in them) falls below normal and the body gets less oxygen and, therefore, has less energy than it needs to function properly. Anemia is frequently misdiagnosed or may be masked by a serious underlying disease, therefore, making it more difficult to diagnose. Anemia left untreated, may result in serious, even life threatening, complications.

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), anemia affects some 3.4 million Americans – people of all ages and from all walks of life. There

are more than 100 different causes of anemia, including serious illness, vitamin or iron deficiencies, blood loss, genetic of acquired disease, or side effects of medication. Women deal with iron deficiency anemia far more than men. After age 55, only about 0.2 percent of men are affected, while the rate for women in this age group is 2 percent. Among menstruating women, the rate is about 3 percent.  The reason, of course, is the blood lost during the monthly menstrual cycle. People who suffer from chronic kidney disease, diabetes, cancer, heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease and HIV or AIDS are at greatest risk.  Women who suffer excessive bleeding from uterine fibroids are urged have their hemoglobin levels checked regularly.

Anemia is easy to remedy, but the first order of business is a correct diagnosis. If you have symptoms of anemia, see your doctor or visit www.anemia.com.

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