"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

The link between anemia and Alzheimer's: what it’s best to know

July 11, 2023 – Around 10% of people over 65 in the United States have anemiaor a scarcity of iron within the blood. This is a very important statistic as researchers now consider that anemia could have a major link with Alzheimer's disease or AD.

A new Chinese study of over 300,000 people found that anemia is related to a 56% higher risk of dementia. In addition, new study from the University of Kansas found that iron might be “deposited” within the brains of Alzheimer’s patients, making a deficiency that may speed up the progression of the disease.

According to the Cleveland ClinicIron deficiency anemia means your body doesn't have enough iron to make hemoglobin, a substance in your red blood cells that carries oxygen around your body. It occurs when your body uses iron faster than it could possibly make it, or when the flow of iron slows down. Blood loss from internal bleeding, heavy menstruation, or frequent blood tests may cause iron deficiency anemia. Pregnancy, breastfeeding, bone marrow disease, autoimmune disease, and inadequate nutrition may also contribute. In fact, it's common for older people to not eat enough.

There are plenty of the explanation why anemia can damage the brain and speed up cognitive dysfunction.

“Alzheimer’s disease causes nerve cells to die, resulting in a deterioration in memory, thinking ability, and behavioral and personality changes,” said Allison B. Reiss, MDassociate professor of drugs at NYU Long Island School of Medicine in Mineola, NY, and a member of the Medical, Scientific and Memory Screening Advisory Board of the Alzheimer's Foundation of America. “Iron deficiency can impair processes in the brain that affect neurotransmitters and the formation of myelin, a protein that forms a protective insulating layer around nerves.”

The Alzheimer’s Association The list cites being 65 years old or older, having a family history of Alzheimer's, a head injury or poor heart health because the principal risk aspects for the disease. However, anyone can get anemia and everybody should take into consideration stopping Alzheimer's. Here's every part it is advisable find out about anemia and Alzheimer's and the connection between the 2.

What are the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease?

According to the National Institute on AgingThe symptoms of the disease can appear in three clearly distinguishable stages.

Mild Alzheimer's symptoms may include:

  • Memory loss
  • Poor decision making
  • Loss of motivation
  • Not knowing where you might be
  • It takes an extended time to finish familiar tasks
  • Keep asking questions
  • Forget recent information
  • Problems in coping with funds
  • It is difficult to unravel problems
  • Get lost
  • Hike
  • Mood or personality changes
  • Becoming anxious or behaving aggressively

Moderate Alzheimer's symptoms may include:

  • Increasing confusion and memory problems
  • Withdrawal from family and friends
  • Problems with learning, speaking, reading, writing and arithmetic
  • Problems with logic and concentration
  • Changes in sleep
  • Difficulty coping with recent situations
  • Not recognizing familiar people
  • Delusions, hallucinations, paranoia, or inappropriate behavior
  • Restlessness, anger or crying suits
  • Saying the identical thing over and once again or moving repeatedly
  • Muscle twitches

Severe symptoms of Alzheimer's disease may include:

  • Not with the ability to communicate
  • They don't know where you might be or what you've been doing recently.
  • Loss of appetite or weight reduction
  • Problems with feet, skin or teeth
  • difficulties swallowing
  • Make noises like moaning, grunting or groaning
  • Sleep more
  • Have seizures
  • Loss of bowel and bladder control

What are the symptoms of anemia?

According to the Mayo ClinicSymptoms of iron deficiency anemia include:

  • Great fatigue and weakness
  • Pale skin
  • Dizziness or weakness or headache
  • Chest pain, shortness of breath, or feeling like your heart is thrashing fast
  • Cold extremities or brittle nails
  • A swollen, painful tongue
  • Cravings for unusual foods, akin to ice cream
  • Loss of appetite

What is the connection between anemia and Alzheimer's?

One established theory The reason for that is that iron plays a significant role in supplying the brain with oxygen. An iron deficiency can result in a lack of brain function.

“The brain relies on good blood flow to receive nutrients and oxygen. Nerve cells have a high oxygen demand. If a person has severe anemia, their red blood cells may not carry enough oxygen to the brain, leading to Hypoxia (not enough oxygen to the tissues) and damage the brain, especially if the hypoxia continues for a long period of time,” Reiss said. “If a person already has any type of dementia, AD, or early stages like mild cognitive impairment, anemia can worsen symptoms and speed up the process of destruction. Anemia can cause changes to small blood vessels in the brain that affect the ability of oxygen to reach all structures.” And other aspects may play a job, too.

“Anemia also reduces cerebral glucose metabolism, the mechanism of energy production in the brain, and poor brain metabolism is a known feature of AD,” Reiss said.

Inflammatory molecules in some forms of anemia may additionally result in faster worsening of Alzheimer's disease.

“The link between anemia and Alzheimer’s is not necessarily the anemia itself, but rather the inflammation it can cause,” said Kyle Womack, MDProfessor of neurology within the division of aging and dementia at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. “Anemia may not trigger the cascade that causes Alzheimer's, but it could be involved in the impairment.”

Certain types of iron deficiency, akin to Anemia of inflammationcan prevent your body from using stored iron to make healthy red blood cells.

Should you get tested for Alzheimer's if you might have anemia?

Israeli researchers reported that the more severe the anemia within the elderly, the upper the chance of dementia and cognitive decline. Nevertheless, this study suggests that mild cases of anemia must be detected in order that treatment can reverse the chance of dementia.

“If a patient is suffering from anemia and that person – or more often a family member of that person – notices that their behavior seems a little strange, it is important to tell the person [doctor]said Womack. “Very often, a person with Alzheimer's doesn't notice that their behavior is changing. In such a case, the anemia could be acute, so it's very important not to ignore this completely – you have to act immediately.”

A complete physical exam is essential, and cardiac testing should be an integral part of an exam. “Heart health and brain health are closely linked, and anemia can cause a lot of damage to the heart and cardiovascular system, which in turn can be unhealthy for the brain and lead to worsening dementia,” Reiss said.

A patient should also be examined to find out if and/or how he or she is losing blood.

The good news: Treatment Treating anemia can be simple. Your doctor can change your diet so that you eat iron-rich foods such as more meat, fish, poultry, leafy greens, beans, yeast bread products, and iron-fortified cereals, pasta, and bread. Iron supplements can also make a big difference in correcting anemia and possibly preventing cognitive damage.

Reiss sums it up like this: “Although there is no cure for AD, treating anemia and implementing lifestyle changes to optimize brain health may be helpful.”