If you have diabetes, you may be aware that having the condition and its related problems can put you at greater risk of developing anemia. What does this mean for you?

This article will look at the relationship between diabetes and anemia and what you should know if you have diabetes-related problems.

According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, Anemia is a condition in which the blood doesn’t have enough healthy red blood cells to function properly. This leads to reduced oxygen flow to the body’s organs.

There are more than 3 million cases of anemia diagnosed in the United States every year, making this a very common condition.

You may experience the following symptoms:

  • extreme fatigue.
  • pale skin
  • The breath was very thin.
  • Lightheadedness.
  • rapid heart rate
  • The body temperature is low.
  • cold hands and feet
  • There is a throbbing head.
  • dizziness

It’s important to note that some anemia symptoms are similar to symptoms of high blood sugar, including dizziness, Lightheadedness., extreme fatigue., rapid heart rate, and There is a throbbing head..

If you have high blood sugar, you should check it often. If you have symptoms for a few days or weeks without high blood sugar numbers or ketones, you should call a healthcare professional.

Diabetes and anemia are not related. The two conditions are related.

Up to 25 percent of Americans with type 2 diabetes also have anemia. So it’s relatively common for people with diabetes, and especially diabetes-related complications, to also develop anemia.

“If you have one condition or the other, you won’t be able to develop the other condition.”

As seen in this 2004 study, Anemia is a common complication of people with diabetes who develop chronic kidney disease because damaged or failing kidneys don’t produce a hormone called erythropoietin (EPO), which signals to the bone marrow that the body needs more red blood cells to function.

Early stages of kidney disease (nephropathy) may be asymptomatic, but if you’re diagnosed with anemia and you have diabetes, it might be a sign that your kidneys aren’t working properly.

People with diabetes are also more likely to have inflamed blood vessels. This prevents the bone marrow from even receiving the EPO signal to create more red blood cells to begin with. That makes anemia a more likely result.

If you have an existing anemia and are diagnosed with diabetes, you are more likely to develop diabetes-related problems, such as eye and nerve damage.

A lack of healthy red blood cells can make the systems that are already taxed with a life lived with diabetes worse.

Certain diabetes medications can decrease your levels of the protein hemoglobin, which is needed to carry oxygen through the blood. These diabetes medications can increase your risk of developing anemia:

  • Metformin. This is one of the most commonly prescribed type 2 diabetes medications for helping to manage glucose levels. This study shows metformin can cause malabsorption of vitamin B12, and long-term use of the drug (more than 10 years) can lead to a vitamin B12 deficiency in up to one-third of people who use it. Vitamin B12 deficiency can cause anemia. It’s recommended to get an annual blood panel if you have diabetes and are a long time metformin user.
  • Fibrates. This type of medication is used to lower triglycerides as well as LDL slightly, for people with diabetes at risk for cardiovascular complications. Examples of fibrates include: clofibrate (Atromid-S), gemfibrozil (Lopid), and fenofibrate (Antara, Lofibra, and Triglide).
  • Angiotensin-converting enzymes (ACE) inhibitors. ACE inhibitors help blood vessels to relax and open, in order to help improve blood flow and lower blood pressure. These meds are often prescribed for those with diabetes and chronic kidney disease. There are many different ACE inhibitors, including lisinopril, enalapril, and benazepril.,
  • Thiazolidinediones. Sometimes known as TZDs or glitazones, these medications lower the insulin resistance in people with type 2 diabetes.

If you have diabetes or are on a transplant, you should talk to your healthcare team about your increased risk of anemia since blood loss is a significant contributor to the development of it.

Blood sugar levels can be affected byemia.

One 2010 study found that anemia produced false high blood sugar levels on glucose meters, leading to dangerous hypoglycemia events after people overtreat that false high blood sugar.

As shown in a 2014 study, there’s a direct link between anemia caused by iron deficiency and higher amounts of glucose in the blood. A 2017 review of several studies found that in people both with and without diabetes, iron-deficiency anemia was correlated with increased A1C numbers.

More of the molecule glucose was sticking to fewer red blood cells. The studies participants had lower levels of HbA1c after iron-replacement therapy.

If you receive anemia diagnosis, you can get many excellent treatment options.

  • If you have been diagnosed with iron deficiency, it is possible to eat more iron-rich foods and take a supplement. Some iron-rich foods include beans, lentils, oysters, liver, green leafy vegetables, tofu, red meat, fish, and dried fruits.
  • If you have low iron levels, and you take the drug metformin, talk to your diabetes care team about changing your dose or taking another medication.
  • If you are on the kidneys, it is best to get iron injected directly into your vein by your doctor, but be aware that it can increase your risk of both heart attack and stroke, and you should get it done before you get sick.
  • If your kidneys are damaged and they’re not producing enough EPO, you may be prescribed a synthetic form of the hormone (rhEPO) to promote red blood cell production back to normal levels. However, as seen in this 2012 study, 5 to 10 percent of people on rhEPO therapy develop a resistance to the drug. Your doctor will have to closely monitor you while on this therapy to help prevent resistance.
  • If your anemia is severe, you may need a blood transfusion.

The underlying cause of the condition will determine treatment, but may include iron and/or vitamins B and C.

“A blood transfusion is necessary if your blood loss is causing your anemia. If your body’s blood production is reduced, you may be prescribed medication to improve blood formation.”

Diabetes and anemia are related, but neither causes the other.

Diabetes-related problems such as failure and inflammation of blood vessels may contribute to anemia. Certain diabetes medications can increase the risk of developing anemia. Diabetes management may be more challenging with higher A1C results, false high blood sugars, and a risk of worsening organ health.

Anemia can be treated with changes to diet or medication.