It’s draining… exhausting… and outright debilitating.
And as bad as that is, anemia isn’t even done with you yet.
Turns out this condition is only just getting started. And if you have it… or if you recognize the alarming warning signs but DON’T get tested and treated… you can face something a whole lot worse.
New research finds that over the long haul, anemia can lead to damage deep inside your brain.
More specifically, it can increase your risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease!
Connecting the dots between anemia & dementia
Anemia means you have low levels of hemoglobin in the blood. Those are the iron-rich particles that haul oxygen around your body.
It’s incredibly common, striking more than 1 in 10 seniors (especially women).
And the new study finds this condition can increase the risk of any type of dementia by a third and Alzheimer’s disease specifically by 41 percent.
It also leads to higher levels of the kind of visible damage in the brain that’s linked to dementia, including lesions and bleeds.
Now, it’s not clear yet WHY anemia would lead to dementia.
Anemia is often a sign of low iron, and low iron could be a cause. Plus, anemia can also be triggered by low vitamin B12, which is absolutely essential to your brain, especially your memory.
But the truth is, the real reason could be EVEN simpler.
Hemoglobin carries oxygen. And oxygen is essential to every part of your body, of course. But healthy oxygen levels are beyond critical to good brain function.
Chronic low oxygen to the brain could slowly suffocate it, leading to lasting and even permanent damage, followed by dementia.
The evidence is right there in another common condition: Sleep apnea.
That’s when you stop breathing for brief periods in the night, causing oxygen levels in the blood to plunge. Studies have found that this condition can ALSO lead to dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Slash your risk for dementia in 3 steps
It’s downright terrifying. But don’t worry, you know me. I have a solution.
In fact, I have three…
- Consider a B complex: Many older folks, in particular, are low in B vitamins. And studies have found these common supplements can help stop some of the damage caused by cognitive decline. Plus, sufficient B12 levels can help keep anemia at bay.
- Get tested for anemia: Ask your doc about a test for anemia, especially if you’re suffering from any warning signs such as fatigue, shortness of breath, or dizziness. It can often be treated with ordinary supplements… usually iron. Just don’t take it without getting tested first as too much can be as bad as too little.
- Try Ginkgo biloba: This natural herbal remedy has been used for centuries in traditional medicine for brain and memory support. And modern studies show why. Ginkgo may help pump oxygen!
And finally, don’t forget to get tested for the apnea I mentioned a little earlier. That’s ESPECIALLY true if you’re not feeling quite as rested as you used to, even after a full night of sleep.
If you have it, losing weight – even just a few pounds – can ease the apnea. And that means you not only can breathe easier at night. You’ll also be giving your body… and brain… the oxygen they need to thrive.