Anemia in Older Adults

Anemia is a condition that occurs when your blood lacks enough healthy red blood cells (hemoglobin).  Hemoglobin is the part of the cell that that binds oxygen.  If your hemoglobin is low, the cells in your body will not receive enough oxygen.

Although anemia can happen at any age, this condition is extremely common in adults 60 years and older. In fact, it is estimated that about 10% of older adults living independent lives over the age of 65 have anemia.

Since anemia is usually caused by poor nutrition or other medical issues, such as receiving chemotherapy, vitamin deficiency, or internal bleeding, older adults are at greater risk of developing the condition.

Common symptoms of anemia are:

  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Shortness of breath
  • High heart rate
  • Headaches
  • Becoming paler (which is often first seen by checking inside the lower lids)
  • Lower blood pressure (especially if the anemia is caused by bleeding)

If you are experiencing some or all of the symptoms of anemia, your physician can perform a simple complete blood count (CBC) test to determine your overall health and detect a wide range of blood disorders including anemia.

Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s Ambulatory Care Center offers medical testing to diagnose testing.  If you are interested in scheduling an appointment, call 718-206-7001.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.