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Redmond Regional Medical Center

Symptoms of Nutritional Anemia

Anemia symptoms are caused by inadequate oxygen reaching important organs, such as your muscles, heart, and brain. As a consequence, your heart and lungs have to work harder to deliver oxygen to these organs.

Those who have nutritional anemia, especially mild anemia, may have no symptoms. If symptoms do occur, they might include:

  • Loss of stamina
  • Shortness of breath
  • Rapid heart beat
  • Paleness
  • Headache
  • Worsening of symptoms of other diseases:
    • Chest pains—angina
    • Cramping in muscles when they are being used—claudication

In addition, people with iron-deficiency anemia may have cravings for ice or clay. People with anemia due to vitamin B 12 deficiency may experience confusion, clumsiness, or even dementia. People with either B 12 or folic acid deficiency may have a very smooth and sore tongue or other sores in the mouth. Those whose deficiency is due to bowel disorders may have diarrhea, unusually smelly stools, and/or weight loss.

Revision Information

  • Anemia—differential diagnosis. Updated September 23, 2015. Accessed September 29, 2015.

  • Culleton, BF, Manns, BJ, Zhang J, et al. Impact of anemia on hospitalization and mortality in older adults. Blood. 2006;107(10):3841-3846.

  • Decreased erythropoiesis. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: Updated May 2013. Accessed September 29, 2015.

  • Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine. 16th ed. McGraw-Hill; 2004.

  • What are the signs and symptoms of anemia? National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute website. Available at: Updated May 18, 2012. Accessed September 29, 2015.

The health information in this Health Library is provided by a third party. Redmond Regional Medical Center does not in any way create the content of this information. It is provided solely for informational purposes. It does not constitute medical advice and is not intended to be a substitute for proper medical care provided by a physician. Always consult with your doctor for appropriate examinations, treatment, testing, and care recommendations. Do not rely on information on this site as a tool for self-diagnosis. If you have a medical emergency, call 911.