Anemia is a condition in which the body does not have enough healthy red blood cells to carry the needed oxygen to the body’s organs, tissues, and other systems. Iron deficiency is the most common type of anemia worldwide. However, other conditions—such as decreased red blood cell production in the bone marrow or an increased need for blood cells in the body due to certain illnesses—can cause anemia. Certain medications can cause the body to excrete more iron than normal, causing iron deficiency anemia. The condition can be genetic, but it can also be caused by poor eating habits or underlying health conditions.
When a person is low on iron levels, the body will have trouble healing from injuries and wounds. Furthermore, the decrease in oxygen levels throughout the body will adversely affect oral tissue, leading to gingivitis, periodontitis, dental infections, and even tooth loss. The body needs iron for the development of new blood cells that are made in bone marrow. Without proper levels of red blood cells, the body can suffer from fatigue and be susceptible to conditions like heart disease. Blood loss during surgery can also contribute to low iron levels in a person’s body. Due to the serious nature of anemia, seek treatment as soon as possible from a healthcare professional.
How Does Anemia Affect the Body?
Blood loss from bleeding gums or an injury can cause anemia, which can negatively affect many parts of the body. Some common symptoms of anemia include fatigue, weakness, dizziness, and pale skin. If left untreated, anemia can ultimately lead to heart failure.
How Is Anemia Treated?
When dentists diagnose patients with anemia, they typically recommend a combination of lifestyle changes and oral health care to treat the condition. The dentist will provide a list of nutrition guidelines to follow and will refer the patient to a specialist who can provide treatment for anemia. If the dentist determines that a patient’s oral health is causing the anemia, then they may take steps to treat that condition first.
The patient will need to take iron supplements to help correct low levels of iron. These should be taken along with meals and snacks to prevent nausea and stomach pain. The doctor might also prescribe an antibiotic if dental infections are causing the anemia. A patient who has a severe case of anemia may need to undergo blood transfusions in order to increase the amount of oxygen in the blood. This can be a last resort when other treatments fail to provide relief from symptoms.
Schedule an appointment with Dr. Angela An, D.D.S. General Dentistry, to learn more about maintaining good oral health. We are located at 490 Post St #1020, San Francisco, CA 94102. Contact us at (415) 291-8668 or visit our website for more information.