Over 1.62 billion people have some form of anemia worldwide. There are many different forms of anemia with some being mild while others are severe. Some forms of anemia may be a medication side effect or result of another health condition. With the right care or medication, anemia is not life-threatening, but struggling to stay warm is one side effect that may be heightened during this time of year.
While most of us love the snow, food and holidays that come with winter, if you’re suffering from anemia it can be frustrating to stay warm enough to enjoy yourself during this time of year. Our team at Personalized Hem-Onc provides more than medical care so frustrated patients just won’t do! That’s why we’ve come up with a few tips and tricks for staying warm all winter despite any anemia symptoms!
How does anemia make you colder?
Anemia is a condition in which a person lacks sufficient proportions of healthy red blood cells. As you probably know, these cells carry oxygen to all your body and muscles. When there is a decrease in these cells, your cells and tissues are not getting enough oxygen. Significant blood loss, faulty red blood cell production and some cancers that destroy your red blood cells can all cause anemia to occur.
Common symptoms of anemia include dizziness, lightheadedness, headaches, cold hands and feet, weakness, tiredness and bone pain. However, it is essential to note that all these symptoms do not affect every form of anemia.
There are many different types of anemia, including iron deficiency anemia, aplastic anemia, sickle cell anemia, thalassemia and vitamin deficiency anemia. Anemia affects many people older than 65, pregnant women, people suffering from intestinal disorders, and other chronic disorders like cancer or kidney disease. Individuals with cold agglutinin disease (CAD) or Lymphoma may find this information helpful as well as they have a higher risk of anemia since they have low red blood cells.
Little layers as insulation
When in doubt, the best way to combat the cold is to wear layers. Under a coat, wear two to three different layers to stay warm while you are out in the cold. Layering keeps your body warm because between each layer, trapped air and your clothing acts as an insulator.
Every time you remove a layer of clothing, the faster you will cool down. If you have CAD, this method will be your best friend all year round. The cold and air conditioners can cause severe reactions. Those with CAD should consider always keeping around additional jackets, coats or blankets on hand for extra warmth.
Accessorize with fiery intention
Just because it is cold does not mean you have to stop accessorizing. Instead, wear accessories that add warmth this winter. Items like scarves, fun socks and hats are perfect to keep you warm all season long. Just like layering with other fabric items, these winter items trap in heat, which then keeps your body toasty warm. Plus, look stylish all season long as well.
Exercise your way to warmth
Moving around is another way to stay warm this season. Exercise activates your muscles, which in turn produces heat. In warm environments, movement causes sweat, while in cold environments, it combats the cold and decreases shivering. Don’t be worried about having to exert too much effort to warm up. Instead, if you notice yourself becoming cold or you start to shiver, move around. Within no time you should feel toasty warm again.
Eating green to keep you cozy
Yes, green vegetables contribute to warming up your body! Since anemia causes you to lack iron, adding more to your body can be a solution if you don’t have any absorption or methylation issues. One way to do that is to eat food rich in iron. Foods like broccoli, mustard greens, spinach and celery are great sources of iron. While this option will not give you warmth immediately, it could help long-term management of your anemia.
Heat your space efficiently
If you are inside and still cold, then plug in a space heater. Space heaters can add significant additional heat into the air to warm you up, and most newer units do so at relatively low costs. Depending on the room you are in and the temperature, there are a range of sizes to choose from. However, no matter the size, make sure to keep your heater away from flammables and always monitor it.
Spicy treats can make warmer winters
Spicy food is not only used to spice up your life but can also warm you up. Many people start to sweat and get hot when they eat spicy food like jalapenos or habanero peppers. The heat from consuming spicy foods can help you stay warm this winter. If you’re feeling adventurous, consider a spicy holiday beverage like a hot chocolate with cayenne. However, if you have a history of ulcers or acid reflux, avoid these types of foods and consult a physician before adding something new to your diet.
Staying warm as medical care this winter
While your medical well-being is our utmost priority, we also want you to stay comfortable and happy this winter. Do not let the cold defeat your anemia. Try out some of our suggestions above and let us know during your next visit what works for you. If you need help managing your anemia, call our office to find out more about supplementing iron at our infusion center.