Being anemic – defined as having lower than 13.5 grams of hemoglobin per deciliter for men, or lower than 12 grams per deciliter for women – happens to most people at least once during their lifetime (women more often than men), and most don't really notice it. However, anemia can become chronic and worsen, which can cause you major health problems such as lethargy, headaches, and fainting if left untreated for too long – but without going and getting your blood checked, how do you know if you may be anemic? If you think you may be anemic and want to know how your body can signal to you that you are, then here are a couple signs you may be anemic.
You Nails Are Pale and Spooned
The appearance and health of your nails are really great signifiers of your overall health, so when they don't look quite right, you should probably start wondering. In the case of anemia, your nails will often develop little spoon-shaped divots, which look like they could hold liquid inside of them. Along with these divots, your nails (especially the half moons at the base of your nails) might also be much paler than usual, or might stay pale for a minute or two after pressing on them (as opposed to going back to their normal color after a few seconds).
Your Hair Is Falling Out
Anemia puts a lot of stress on your body and encourages it to go into survival mode, which means it's going to put all of its energy into keeping you alive and functioning, and very little energy towards relatively unimportant functions – such as keeping your hair on your head. Iron deficiencies are known to cause hair loss, and run-of-the-mill anemia is caused by a severe iron deficiency. Losing a bit of hair every day (especially in the shower) is completely normal, but if you're losing handful over handful, it's a good sign you may be anemic.
You Can't Sleep
A bad night here and there generally isn't anything to worry about, but when the bad nights start stacking on top of each other without an end in sight, it's a pretty good sign that something is rotten in the state of Denmark. Even though anemia causes your body be massively fatigued, the anxiety and heart palpitations that also accompany the anemia can make it impossible to have a night of restful sleep.
You don't have to have all these symptoms in order to have anemia, and only a blood test can tell you for certain – but if you're having these symptoms, it's a good idea to talk to your doctor about testing your blood.