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Can Alcohol Cause Anemia?

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Long-term alcohol abuse can cause severe impacts on a person’s financial, work, and social lives. As their addiction progresses, the risk for severe health consequences increases. The brain, kidneys, and liver can all face severe damage with prolonged excessive drinking. However, the full scope of consequences of alcoholism is still unknown. Could anemia stem from chronic alcohol use?

Finding the tools to navigate the road to recovery can be daunting, but you are not alone. The alcohol addiction treatment programs at Arbor Behavioral Healthcare are here to help you or your loved ones every step of the way with expert addiction treatment and mental health services. Our in-house psychiatrists and recovery specialists will develop a unique treatment plan to address your specific needs. Start creating your treatment plan today by calling 844.413.2690.

What Is Anemia?

Anemia is a common blood disorder that happens when your body doesn’t have enough healthy red blood cells. Red blood cells carry oxygen from your lungs to the rest of your body.

There are many different types of anemia, each with its own cause. The most common type of anemia is iron-deficiency anemia, which happens when your body doesn’t have enough iron. Iron is a mineral that helps make hemoglobin, a part of red blood cells that carries oxygen.

You can develop iron-deficiency anemia in several ways, including:

  • Not getting enough iron in your diet
  • Losing blood through heavy menstruation or bleeding from ulcers
  • Pregnancy
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Cancer

Anemia can also stem from a lack of folate or vitamin B12—these help your body produce enough healthy red blood cells. A diet lacking in these vitamins can lead to anemia. Vitamin B12 deficiency is more common in older adults, vegetarians, and people with celiac or Crohn’s disease.

The Long-Term Effects of Anemia

When people do not treat their condition, anemia can cause serious health problems. These include:

  • Heart problems – Anemia makes your heart work harder to pump blood through your body. This difficulty can lead to an enlarged heart or heart failure.
  • Brain damage – Anemia can cause confusion, dementia, and even seizures.
  • Pregnancy complications – During pregnancy, anemia can lead to premature birth and low birth weight.

Doctors often treat anemia with iron supplements, vitamins, or a blood transfusion. If you think you may have anemia, talk to your doctor. They can order a blood test to confirm the diagnosis.

Does Alcohol Cause Anemia?

There is no definitive answer as to whether or not alcohol causes anemia. However, some studies suggest a correlation between chronic alcohol abuse and the development of anemia.

One study found that heavy drinkers were more likely to develop anemia than non-drinkers. The study also found that anemia was more common in heavy drinkers with liver disease. Another study looked at the connection between iron deficiency anemia and alcohol abuse. The study found that people who abused alcohol were more likely to develop iron deficiency anemia.

The exact cause of this connection is unknown. Alcohol may prevent the body from absorbing enough iron. Alcohol may also damage the liver, which can lead to anemia.

Alcohol Addiction Treatment at The Arbor

If you or a loved one is struggling with alcoholism, our expert addiction treatment team can help. We offer inpatient and outpatient treatment programs we tailor to meet your unique needs. Our compassionate staff will work with you to develop a treatment plan for individual therapy, group therapy, and more.

We also offer dual diagnosis treatment for those struggling with addiction and mental illness. Our goal is to help you recover from addiction and live a happy, healthy life. Call us today at 844.413.2690 to learn more about our alcohol addiction treatment programs.